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Monday, October 29, 2012
Forgot your iPhone’s passcode? Not so obvious to solve
Forgot your iPhone’s passcode? Not so obvious to solve

Last week I was added to the list of proud new iPhone 5 owners. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, so I fired up the phone, connected it to iTunes to restore from a previous backup. Once restored, I typed in my old passcode and TADA!; The “Wrong Passcode - try again” error was flashing in red on the new beautiful 4 inch retina display. Even errors look good on this screen. It turned out to be a backup from my daughter’s iPhone which I restored erroneously, one of which I don’t have the passcode. No-brainer I thought, just reinstall iOS 6 and boom. Well, there was no boom but again an iTunes error.

I hooked up the iPhone to iTunes so I could select “Restore”. But because of the unknown passcode, iTunes first asks to unlock the phone before showing the Restore feature.

I recalled that you can force a restore via the Recovery Mode, by connecting the iPhone with a cable to iTunes. You can put the iPhone in Restore mode like this; shutdown the iPhone and disconnect it at the phone’s side, leaving the cable plugged into the computer. Then press and hold the home button and connect the cable again. Wait until you see this screen.

recovery mode iOS6 iPhone 5

iTunes now throws you this message in your face; “iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode, You must restore this iPhone before it can be used with iTunes”.

Let’s continue the story…Clicking OK guided me to the iPhone summary pane where now I could select Restore.

How beautiful life can be when you know all these little tricks. I clicked Restore of course, iTunes went on the internet and started downloading iOS 6. It showed a nice progress bar, it deflated the download and began to reinstall iOS 6. All was nicely advancing until I got this error; “iTunes cannot connect to the iPhone because it is locked with a passcode, you must enter your passcode on the iPhone before it can be used with iTunes”.

Hey, that was the main reason I started this restore process from the beginning. After looking for solutions of this error it seemed that you can get rid of it by doing the following illogically steps.

1. Click the error away
2. Disconnect the cable from the iPhone
3. Power it off
4. While holding the home button connect the cable again

iTunes now resumes with the progress bar and might throw the passkey error several times more. Keep repeating the 4 steps until it continues all the way and finally restores the iPhone 5.

Almost half a day later I could finally enjoy and discover the new iPhone 5.

I guess this extra shielding of asking the passcode during the restore process has been added by Apple somewhere in time, so you cannot easily overwrite someone’s iPhone or a stolen iPhone. But what surprised me most was that this hack sounds like a workaround of a method that should officially recover an iPhone without having the passcode. Maybe one that only Apple knows, or you? Let us know when you have other methods and or grounding on this matter.

Note: If you don’t have a valid backup with a passcode that you know, you loose all your data and there is no way to get it back.

TIP: When you give your old iPhone to family members, rename the iPhone and make a new backup with that new name, so when you restore it you can distinct better your last good backup.

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