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> 'iPad is disabled' fix without resetting using iTunes - Instructional Tech Talk

How To iPad

Published on December 17th, 2012 | by Jeff Herb


'iPad is disabled' fix without resetting using iTunes


Today I met my match with an iPad that had a passcode entered too many times, resulting in it displaying the message ‘iPad is disabled – Connect to iTunes’. This was a student iPad and since they use Notability for most of their work there was a chance that her files were not all backed up to the cloud. I really wanted to just re-activate the iPad instead of totally resetting it back to our default image.

I reached out to my PLN on Twitter and had some help from a few people through retweets and a couple of clarification tweets. I love that so many are willing to help out so quickly. Through this I also learned that I look like Lt. Riker from Star Trek (thanks @FillineMachine).

Through some trial and error (and a little sheer luck), I was able to reactivate the iPad without loosing any data. Note, this will only work on the computer it last synced with. Here’s how:

1. Configurator is useless in reactivating a locked iPad. You will only be able to completely reformat the iPad using Configurator. If that’s ok with you, go for it – otherwise don’t waste your time trying to figure it out.

2. Open iTunes with the iPad disconnected.

3. Connect the iPad to the computer and wait for it to show up in the devices section in iTunes.

4. Click on the iPad name when it appears and you will be given the option to restore a backup or setup as a new iPad (since it is locked).

5. Click ‘Setup as new iPad’ and then click restore.

6. The iPad will start backing up before it does the full restore and sync. CANCEL THE BACKUP IMMEDIATELY. You do this by clicking the small x in the status window in iTunes.

7. When the backup cancels, it immediately starts syncing – cancel this as well using the same small x in the iTunes status window.

8. The first stage in the restore process unlocks the iPad, you are basically just cancelling out the restore process as soon as it reactivates the iPad.


If done correctly, you will experience no data loss and the result will be a reactivated iPad. I have now tried this with about 5 iPads that were locked identically by students and each time it worked like a charm.


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About the Author


Jeff Herb is an Educator, Blogger, and Podcaster focusing on Instructional Technology and finding ways to innovate the classroom using technology. Follow Jeff on Twitter to keep up with the latest in Educational Technology.

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  • Techfixers Kenny

    why does this only works with computer that it last synced to ? is there any other way around it ? if this procedure fails, would it wipe all the data ?

    • Jeff Herb

      This only works with the last computer it syncs with because iTunes does not perform a backup on an iPad it doesn’t recognize, it just formats it immediately. The trick to this one is that you cancel out the backup before it starts reformatting.

      And yes, if you don’t cancel the backup before it completes, you do run the risk of losing data – but that would have been inevitable without this work around anyway.

      Thanks for your questions!

      • Manja Syed

        Sir .can I update ios 7 without computer n laptop? When I update my ipad.. can it be used normal? Ty

        • Itu Babi


        • Itu Babi


  • elvis

    i suppose my question is essentially the same as kenny’s, and i think i already know the final answer; regardless, i shall ask anyway.

    the ipad in question belongs to a friend of mine, and may never have been synced. ever. not with any laptop, pc, macbook … nothing. no icloud account/relationship either. it’s well over a year old, and has hundreds of megs of pix. she claims that she was using it one day with no problems, and the next day it “just started asking for a passcode.” you guessed it – there have been enough incorrect attempts at guessing the passcode that the ipad is now locked up tight, and seems to be completely disabled.

    i can even hook it to a linux box, and see the device as if it were a camera, but it shows the device as having no pictures. my research over the past several days has consistently led me to “sorry, dude. factory restore. wipe it clean.”

    do you have ANY other suggestions, regardless of complexity or risk? i’m willing to try terminal cpmmands, password cracking, whatever.

    • Jeff Herb


      To my knowledge, a syncing relationship must exist between the device and the computer in order for this method to work. Without this relationship, the device will start by wiping itself instead of starting with a backup. For this to work, you need to cancel out the backup before it finishes – data will be lost without this step.

      I will try and see what I can track down for you, but I was thrilled to find this work-around in the first place…not sure if anything more intensive exists.

      Let me know if you come up with a solution!

      • desperate!

        help!! i kind of accidentally did this to my brother’s ipad and his minecraft game which he’s dedicated YEARS to and all his pictures and music are on it. never been connected to a computer through itunes, what do i do?!?!

        • cdenesha

          If it has been connected to iCloud then it may have been backing up to iCloud, you’ll be able to recover it with a restore. You can find out on another device if there is a backup. Follow the methods at this Apple article (just don’t do the Deleting part!!):

          I wonder if anyone has brought an iPad like this to an Apple store to see what they would say/do?

          • Aramis

            I brought my iPad and there response: ..”we can unlock but you will loose all your data. We can not retrieve nor unlock your data for PRIVACY ISSUES. Its better to have an iPad than not to have one at all.” –
            I guess they keep forgetting what’s important to iPad owners is not the device but the content (the DATA DATA DATA: text messages, family and friends’ pictures, music, movies, etc).

  • sachin

    i have followed the instructions to fix disabled ipad without resetting but the in device section it does not read ipad. The pop up shows itunes cannot connect ipad as it is passcode protected. please suggest

    • Jeff Herb


      This is generally the case if the device you’re connecting to your computer hasn’t been synced with that computer. Is this the case?

      • joy

        my ipad has been synched w m computer several times but i also get this message. if i reboot in safe mode only option is to restore ipad and delete all data. thoughts arnd this?

      • Jo

        yeah my device has been synced to the computer before but it doesn’t show up. help!

      • Abuchi Collins Sagman

        Yes! Dear. So can we use Reiboot or the configuration you mentioned earlier to format and get this out?

      • McKenna

        My iPad is disabled and i dont remember the password. I dont have a computer either. I dont know what to do and I need to use it.

  • Nuha

    my ipad is disabled and it can’t connect to itunes ? i really need an answer
    thank u.

    • Jeff Herb

      Hi @46dd1ec1e9fc3754296e830366a91d9c:disqus – need a little more info than that. What do you mean by “it can’t connect to iTunes?”

      • Clarence A. Farley

        What really happens is that when ever you try connecting the device to iTunes, it ask you to enter the pass-code for the device in other for it to connect.

  • Kat

    I also have a student iPad which I have forgotten the password to. I have backed up with iCloud but I haven’t synced to a computer. Will this work?

  • Neats

    What if the last computer you synced to does not recognize the iPad?

    • Jeff Herb

      That’s a great question. Can’t say I’ve run across that problem. Perhaps putting the iPad into recovery mode? No guarantees here, as I’m not sure if recovery mode will still attempt a backup first. Either way, here are the steps:

      1. Disconnect the USB cable from the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, but leave the other end of the cable connected to your computer’s USB port.

      2. Turn off the device: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds until the red slider appears, then slide the slider. Wait for the device to turn off.

      Note: If you cannot turn off the device using the slider, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons at the same time. When the device turns off, release the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons.

      3. While pressing and holding the Home button, reconnect the USB cable to the device. The device should turn on.
      Note: If you see the screen pictured below, let the device charge for at least ten minutes to ensure that the battery has some charge, and then start with step 2 again.

      4. Continue holding the Home button until you see the “Connect to iTunes” screen. When this screen appears you can release the Home button.

      5. If necessary, open iTunes. You should see the following “recovery mode” alert. Restore using iTunes.

      • Indu

        Hey I have followed all the above steps but still Itunes say “t says it needs the password entered on the ipad – which can’t be done because ipad is disabled. “. This IPAD was never synched to PC. I need to enable this, please suggest.

        • Jennifer

          my mom’s does the same thing as Indu. It starts to do the restore but then stops & the message about the needing to entering the password. Plus my Itunes doesn’t have a menu on the left side anymore since it was updated. I’m kinda confused on why it looks different. Any help would be awsome! Thanks!

      • Jessie

        I already follow the step but it no effect

  • Susan Broadstreet Albert

    My daughter’s ipad can’t even be accessed through itunes – it says it needs the password entered on the ipad – which can’t be done because ipad is disabled. What can we do???

    • Jeff Herb

      If it won’t allow you to interact with the computer while the lock is in place, my guess is that the iPad had never been synced with the computer. Is that the case? If so, you will need to reformat the iPad as this solution really only works if you can initiate a sync and then cancel it before there is data loss.

  • lolVa

    im connecting it to itunes and i try to restor it but it updates this software and it takes hoooours !!!! pleaseee help

  • Dinny

    the above method worked like a charm and restored my ipad, which was disabled due to the “wrong passcode” attempts

    • Jeff Herb

      Great to hear, Dinny – thanks for sharing your success!

  • Trooper

    Like Elvis, I am in the same situation. The pictures on my ipad are dearly important as they contain my 4th childs birth in photos and video. My wife cried for over an hour when we realized that our 7 and 9 year old exhausted the attempts to guess the passcode on the ipad. (ipad3). Apple Care was no help. My PC crashed in December(2012) and was restored shortly before my sons birth in January. The Ipad was never synced to the new Itunes account nor did it have an ICloud account. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I can also be reached by email –

    • Natalia

      Hi there. I had the same situation. I nearly lost all my very important photos of my baby!! I couldn’t manage by connecting ipad to the PC. But I’ve managed to send from disabled ipad to iPhone via STREAM PHOTOS. Hope that helps.

      • MAK

        Hi Natalia. How you did that can you please give some instructions. I got couple gig photos and that one time occassion photos. I can’t afford to lose. Please advise

    • Patrick Petruccello


      Did you ever get this resolved without losing the data?

  • Peter Shea

    My daughter cracked the glass on her iPad. We sent it to a company that fixes them. when we got it back it said iPad disabled for 22,667,476 minutes. Does this fix work under these conditions or only when permanently disabled?

  • banana

    i forgot my ipod touch at my friends house on friday and just got it back today (on sunday), and they must of tried to get on it, but they couldn’t because it has a password on it. so, when i turned it on now it keeps saying Ipod is disabled connect to iTunes and there is no arrow slide thingy

    i have already tried turning it all the way off and that didn’t help

    can u help me please???????

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  • kacie oboyle

    it doesnt come up ( kacies ipad ) what will i do or what can i do ?

  • My I Pad is disabled.

    Do i need to log in with my apple id and password first. and then go to file and click on devices.
    But when I click on it, there are Sync, Transfer Purchases, Backup, Restore from Backup. But I tried to click on it but it doesn’t let me.

  • My I Pad is disabled.

    Jeff Herb, When I went into iTunes, it didn’t say recovery mode alert but it said software update. Do I need to update the software first then the recovery mode alert will come out…

    • Jeff Herb

      If you update the software it should re-enable the software much like the backup does. Good luck!

  • Rsix Xanthus Mark

    sir my ipad is also disabled but den i also cant connect it to itunes..den if i connect the itunes said that i need 1st ti enter my password to my ipad..but i cant because my ipad is disabled..please help me..thanks

    • Sally Huntington

      my ipad is disabled, and I cannot connect to iTunes…problem is I can’t connect to anything..the ipad is frozen and the screen color is red..please help..

      • mary

        my ipad is locked and cannot to itunes or anything the screen is black it says connect to itunes

      • cierrah

        hold your home button, and lock button for ten seconds, it will reset, not deleting anything, and be just fine.

    • yarjang

      hold home button and lock button until apple logo apears when apple logo appears leave the lock buton then your ipad will says connect to itunes then restore ipad from itunes

      • Maisie

        Does this really work as i have disabled my phone as well?

  • Sbidani


    My I pad shows a message ” Ipad is disabled” connect to I tunes. This happened after I bought an apple iphone 5 and they synced the iphone5 to the same apple ID ( which would be a natural thing to do).

    Now, I can log into Itunes with the same apple ID, and it shows only one device which is the iphone.

    When I connect the ipad2 to itunes, it identifies it as “Kiosk’s Ipad” and gives a message “Ipad is locked with a passcode” and could not connect to iTunes.

    Please advise

    • Jeff Herb

      Had you synced the iPad with the computer in the past? I assume you have, just clarifying.

  • mitch

    my ipad is disabled abd never been snyced with computer what im going to do?

  • Richard

    no help is useful till now

    • Jeff Herb

      Great to hear, Richard! Thanks for commenting.

  • Donna Robles


  • Deb

    About how long does it take to restore disabled ipad to iTunes?

    • Deborah Jackson

      Can someone please answer this question? Is it suppose to take 7 hours? I don’t have that much data on my ipad.

  • Savannah

    It took a bit of searching in iTunes (it was actually under File – Devices – Transfer Purchases to from iPad and then I x’d things out), but it totally worked!! Thanks!!

  • sunshineannie

    My daughter had a passcode on her ipad2, she kept entering radom numbers bc she forgot it, it has now permanantly disabled the ipad says to connect to Itunes I did that I when I connect it it brings up the screen to backup in icloud or computer and to sync. the message for restore says connect a usb cable to update or restore. when I right click on the ipad name it only brings up eject,sync,backup or reset restore warnings. I also did what you suggested as far as canceling out the backup before it finishes and nothing happened. the computer does bring a pop up when I begin that it can not connect bc of password but Itunes does detect the ipad, I really hope this gives you a little more info to help us with this problem for me I dont care if I loose all my data and it restores back to factory anything to get it working again I am willing to do… Thank you.

  • Jose

    Great solution, thanks!

  • Christie

    This worked perfectly and no data loss! Thank you!!!

  • carameljean

    if the iPad is connected to a computer that it has not been synched with…. and when i click the restore button from the iTunes … it downloads a software update…. what will I do next? Can I still recover the datas? or it will completely erase all datas from the iPad?

  • jackie

    my ipad is disable and I don’t have a computer to connect to iTunes with I need help unlocking my Ipad

  • Uddhav

    Hello Jeff… I manage to connect my disabled ipad2 through itunes. But to my agony, i dont get ‘setup as new ‘ option in my itune. Is ther any other way i can get that option? Thx

  • jess

    Well,my i-pad was disabled for attempting too many passcodes and now i tryed to connect it to itunes but, it doesnt work! :(

  • Teri

    Jeff, one of my children disabled our iPad. our computer has told us several times that an iTunes update is available. If I connect the iPad to my PC & do the update will that enable the iPad to working order. I am not very tech saavy so I am trying to weed through these posts & figure this all out. Thanks for your help!

    • Teri

      Jeff, I saw a post that said updating the software should re-enable the iPad w/o data loss. If I have the software update notice does that mean that the iPad HAS been synced to the PC in question?

  • Teri

    Thank you Jeff!!!!! We just enabled our iPad thanks to you! Thank you for all the help you have given all of us! (We weren’t given the option of setting up as a new iPad or restoring. It was only ‘Set up your new iPad’. Many smiles!

    • Jeff Herb

      Glad it worked for you, Teri!

  • Qually

    What if you have never synced the iPad before?? Will it still work?? Please answer soon. Please ….

    • Adriana Pacheco

      Did this really work?? Plz I need to know my iPad mini just got disabled and I’m really scared to lose my daughter baby picture there the only ones I have plz help me my iPad has never been connected to the computer or iTunes

  • Habib Rahman

    Hello, i wanted to update the software to iOS6. after updating finish and my ipad restarted it asked for connect to itunes. now i connected the ipad to itunes and clicked on restore. but meanwhile i got the error 9006 which stoped restoring. please help to fix my ipad again.

  • lost

    Hi. My iPad is disabled and says connect to iTunes..I don’t have the computer I synced the iPad anymore, what can I do

    • Holly

      You can enter your iPad into recovery mode to bypass the password. Try ReiBoot to enter and exit recovery mode, with one click and totally for free!

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  • Cassidy Ferguson

    What happens after? Does the iPad still have the password or is it gone?

    • Jeff Herb

      The pass code will still remain active, but the iPad will no longer be disabled.

  • Brooks

    Hello All,

    I have looked online for how to restore my Ipad after receiving the disabled message on the device, as well as Itunes. I looked for almost an hour on how to fix the issue and all I got was putting it into DFU mode then restoring via Itunes. WELP that didnt work!

    So I decided to maybe restore using an IPSW found online. I have an Ipad mini so i picked the IPSW corresponding with the device. Put the device in DFU mode, then hit shift(PC) and tried to restore using that. I received another error message after that, so I decided to just simply hit the restore button on Itunes.


    hope this helps someone.

  • julia

    Just had this exact situation, and I followed the above directions, and I completed successfully in about 3 minutes. thanks whoever wrote those instructions!!!!
    saved all my photos :)
    -Julia, from Delaware

  • Bob

    Hi Jeff can you please post a video of this because I just cant afford to lose these pictures

    • Rich The Tech

      I’ve got an ipad 4 that is locked, I plugged it into a mac and was able to download all the photos. no files i’m afraid. (just noticed how long ago you commented, sorry)

      • Jsm

        Rich the Tech, how did you download all your photos from a locked ipad? Were you able to download the videos to? Thanks for any advice.

  • M.M


    • sydney

      me toooo!!!!!!!!!

      • Helpme

        ME TOO! I need help with this. My ipad is like” ipad disabled connect to iTunes ” BUT I CANT CONNECT TO ITUNES!!!! Wtf!!!

        • Banerjee

          I managed to get ITunes Sync by holding down home button and plugged in the power cable but even after several attempts no results.Help !

  • Dee

    Thanks for this! I found with my ipad, I didn’t have to go as far as restore, all I had to do was sync and immediately cancel, and it was no longer disabled. Thanks again!

  • Alyssa

    Sir, my iPad mini is experiencing a slightly different issue. My friend updated it to the new iOS 7 when I was away and now it won’t even start. Everytime I try to switch it on, it shows a black screen with a USB and an arrow pointing to iTunes logo. I assume it was because she forgot to backup my iPad? What should I do now, because the laptop that I used to sync the iPad with is no longer working?

    • Alyssa

      what I meant was, the iPad has never been synced with any laptop.

      • Jeff Herb


        The iPad is simply wanting to be activated again. This sometimes happens during upgrades and requires you to plug it in to any computer running iTunes. It does not matter if you haven’t synced with that computer before. Hope that helps!

  • dtv

    Your method works great. I was able to get the “disabled” message cleared on an iOS 7 iPad. Thanks so much. You’re my newest hero now.

  • Sarah

    my ipad is not disabled yet bu if i type the password one more time it will be!
    I forgot the password so how can i open it without losing anything on my ipad.
    without losing any pictures, videos, or games! Please answer back AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!
    thank you

  • Sarah

    Hi,my ipad is not disabled yet but if I write the password one more time, it will be! How can i open it without deleting anything! I really need your help! THANK YOU!

  • Rich The Tech

    Hi Jeff,
    I have a students iPad that has never been connected to iTunes, is there anything that I can do or am I flogging a dead horse?
    Thanks in advance

  • Nashasnazi

    Hi, my ipad 3 screen went off…. Siri is working and also the can take screen shots… But can’t see anything on the screen and so not able to switch it off… Can any one help me…. Thank u

  • mikecampo

    same issue as RSIX Xanthus Mark. Installed ITunes on my laptop pc and connected ipad to it. message said that ipad is locked and disabled. must enter password which is stupid because if I knew the passcode, I would not be in this predicament and would long on to the ipad. How do I work around this itune message without reformatting the entire ipad and loosing all of my data. HELP PLEASE!! Mike

    • The Krazy Kat

      Ooo. I know! ????. So, first, hold down on the Home button. Then, as your doing that, plug your device in to the computer. Done.

  • JP

    This worked like a charm! Thanks for sharing.

  • Aslam

    Thanks yOU So much !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its Really worked for ME ……….. YAHOOOOO !

  • Chanda

    My iPhone 5 is disabled and says Connect to iTunes. I connected my iPhone 5 to my laptop by USB cord. My iTunes program says it can’t connect to my iPhone 5 because it is locked with a passcode and I must enter the passcode on my iPhone before it can be used with iTunes. But I can’t do anything on my iPhone 5 except Connect to iTunes.
    You can show this to anyone who might help, thanks. My iPhone 5 is now an useless brick.

  • cdenesha

    AWESOME. Thank you, I am experiencing this with students now. Thank you for sharing!

  • Kelly Smith

    Yeah I figured this out and thought how easily it is for thieves to use this method, and still get our credit info, buy on our accts etc. I reported it to amazon, and though I was thankful I didn’t lose my info and was able to remove restrictions w/o the long lost password I was left unimpressed w/ the safety of losing an iPad. I had a lost scare a few months ago and was reassured that my info was locked out and safe. When I found it, all my info was there and no passwords or special work was necesarry and that was using my find my iPad app and working w/ apple.

  • KellyS91709

    Yeah I figured this out and thought how easily it is for thieves to use this method, and still get our credit info, buy on our accts etc. I reported it to amazon, and though I was thankful I didn’t lose my info and was able to remove restrictions w/o the long lost password I was left unimpressed w/ the safety of losing an iPad. I had a lost scare a few months ago and was reassured that my info was locked out and safe. When I found it, all my info was there and no passwords or special work was necesarry and that was using my find my iPad app and working w/ apple.

  • Lucie

    I tried to do this but there was no setup as new ipad option. Please help me. I have all my schoolwork on my ipad. I can’t delete anything. Thank you and pleaase respond.

  • Briana

    Ipad locked wanting passcode suddenly. Tried to restore on Itunes. I can’t remember if I ever synced my Ipad with my mac but I hold the home button on the Ipad before connecting to computer. When I connect Itunes recognizes that an Ipad is connected. It prompts for a “check for updates” or “restore ipad” I chose Restore Ipad Download starts but then fails with Itunes stating I need to enter a passcode which I don’t have otherwise I wouldn’t be trying the restore. Very frustrated! It doesn’t matter to me if I lose files on Ipad I just want it to work again. My Itunes also doesn’t give an option of “connect New Ipad” it also doesn’t show in the devices screen. Hopefully someone can help?

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  • lisalettley

    HI My iPad is diable , when i connect to iTunes it says “Tunes could not connect to the iPad “Mine Pad 2 Situation” because it is locked with a passcode. You must enter your passcode on the iPad before it can be used with iTunes.’
    my old mac has water damage so this Mac that I’m using is new and i never backed up mu iPad on it. Please help lol

  • jeff herb’s wife

    the title said that you fix without iTunes.but, you show us using iTunes. later, I will fix your asshole using iTunes!!!!!!!!

  • jeff herb’s wife

    I will plug the usb cable into the hole of your bottom!!!!!!!

  • Jake

    My old iPad is permanently disabled until I connect to iTunes. My sister tried to connect my iPad to iTunes, but it saids that I have to enter a passcode but I can’t.

  • Charles Matheo G

    what should i do? My files is very important and i don’t want to reformat :(

  • Jonathan

    Hey, are you able to unlock an icloud lock on an iPad. I restored my iPad and now it won’t let me in it because I forgot my apple ID.

  • Lg

    I tried it on my disabled iPhone and it worked perfectly! Thank you very much!
    I did not get the option of ‘set up as new iPhone’. Instead I had to click on ‘restore iPhone’, and then I had to wait a little while it was “extracting files” before I canceled it. Otherwise it would just take me back as if nothing had happened.
    You can look at your screen on your iPhone to make sure the disabled message disappears before cancelling the restore.
    Thanks again!

    • G

      Before it said “extracting files” did it first say “extracting software”? Don’t want to go too far and lose data.

  • Vicki Terrell

    Hi Jeff, my ipad 2 is disabled, I don’t think I have sync it with my computer. I tried going into iTunes and it did identify the ipad said that I need the pass word. Is there anyway I can still keep my data or is it lost forever?

  • xyz

    Hi Jeff, I am already on step 3 but unfortunately I cannot proceed to step 5 because there is no “Setup as New Ipad” option.

  • Hollyleaf

    what do you do if stupid itune ( apple products are soooooo messed up these days) wont let you do step number 4 ( like mine)?

    • cdenesha

      Instead of clicking on the iPad name, right click the name of your iPad. Then choose Sync.

  • Hollyleaf

    stupid person breaking in to my house and trieing to break into my ipad i have to restore it ( well there goes floppy birds, instagram, Roblox,Skype, etc……(1,000,000 more apps later).

  • Isabelle91138

    This little girl came to my house and disabled my iPad mini and I know the password and the computer it was previously connected with just broke and I have another computer with iTunes but I doesn’t have the data how do I reactivate my iPad without losing any thing on it?! Please help!

  • Kellie MichelleRandomness Lean

    Excuse me but could you please tell me what a “status window” looks like exactly. Considering timing is obviously everything with this method I would hate to be confused lol

  • Dan

    I need help. i can’t do it right…

  • Kkksmm3

    My son changed the password on his iPad mini then forgot what he changed it to. He’s now disabled the iPad mini and it’s telling us to connect to iTunes (which it has been synced to before). I tried to follow your directions, but I’m getting a window that says “To allow access, please respond on your iPad”. Obviously I can’t do that because it’s disabled. I believe he upgraded to iOS 7 so is that the difference? Is there a different workaround?

    • cdenesha

      It is possible it is due to iOS 7.1.1. I have discovered and reported to Apple a bug that may be related, in that the command to ‘RequestUnlock’ cannot be sent to the device. (For those using Configurator, you can not currently unlock passcode locked devices.) You will probably need to put the iPad in Recovery mode and Restore from backup (iTunes or iCloud).

  • Muskaan007

    My iPad is disabled. I tried to unlock it by iCloud but it says iPad is ”offline”. Plz suggest some way out of this coz it contains many important files.

  • Rickety

    I am currently permanently locked out of my 4s but I have remembered my password. Is there anyway I can unlock it without losing any data?

  • steven

    sir my I pad is on a screen and it shows a charger and an arrow pointing to the iTunes logo no matter how much I try tuning it of it still wont work please help me

  • Amy Bero

    I followed the directions up to number 3, but when I plug it in a box pops up that says do you want to allow this computer access to “Amy’s iPad” if you don’t allow, you will not be able to manage or sync your ipad with this computer.

    Then I hit continue and it says to allow access please respond on your ipad…which I cannot do because my child disabled it with too many guesses & now it says ipad disabled connect to iTunes.

    So I am stuck. When I don’t continue or stop the process the box suggests there is zero I can do.


    • Tanah

      I’m in the same boat Amy. Did you ever get a solution that worked?


    HELP!!!!!!!! my ipad is crashing like I was trrying to jailbreak my ipad than it crashed and brang me to iTunes and I don’t want iTunes I want to fix it without computer!!!!!!!!:(

  • ARCHEL86

    Another Solution:

    Requirement is you need know the locked password of you disabled device and says connect to iTunes to dibble the divide again without losing any data.

    note: you don’t need to do this with previous sync computer/laptop. tried this on my macbook pro with disabled iPad 2 with iOS 6.

    1. Open itunes application.
    2. Connect your device.
    3. When iTunes begun to recognize your device click the name of your device (located top right of the iTunes application)
    4. Then Click summary Tab and Click Back Up now.
    6. GO to your Device and enter your password/passcode.

    Voila!!!1 you’ve just unlocked/enabled you device without loosing any Data.

    Comment if this instruction solved your problem.


    • OkieTechGuy

      This doesn’t work for me after Step 2 above? Itunes tells me it can’t connect to the device because it is locked with the password.

  • charlyn

    goodmorning sir,

    my ipad is disabled,when i connect it to my frind itunes process stop.
    how can i fix it? i dont have any itunes.
    please help me.

  • Pingback: Ipad Is Disabled And Connect To Itunes | Get Your iPad Now()

  • fixwhatsbroke

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this workaround.

    My iPad had recently inadvertently become disabled while traveling (I still knew the passcode!) and had on it some very valuable media that had not yet been backed up in the cloud.

    I came across this workaround procedure as I googled what might be done and used it as a reference in an official service call to Apple. They, too were able to confirm other independently posted procedures similar to this and we went ahead and successfully “undisabled” the iPad by canceling the syncing procedure within iTunes without losing the valuable content.

    Of note,

    • We had to quickly move to cancel the syncing procedure AS SOON AS THE iPAD SHOWED UP IN ITUNES as it had previously been set to open iTunes when mounted (and thus, apparently set to immediately sync, I’d assume).

    • as your article suggests, the “undisabling” seemed to occur immediately upon mounting in iTunes (“in the first stage”), almost as if the iPad recognized it’s home library. No special dialog stating “this iPad is disabled” nor any other indication within iTunes that showed the iPad to be so came up.

    • the cancellation click was not recognized on my first attempt. I had to click with a click that was held for a beat a few times to get it to be recognized. Not rapidly clicking like a double or triple click, but a “steady, half-second held” click repeated several consecutive times.

    • the Apple rep suspected that my disabling perhaps might’ve been as a result of something else besides a passcode misentry (such as a security scan), but we weren’t able to really verify that as I didn’t witness the disabling. I could only verify that it was working before packing it in the morning in the hotel with my bluetooth keyboard (which I thought contributed to the disabling) and then disabled when I opened it while waiting to board my plane. He thought that perhaps this “other form of disabling” might’ve contributed to the success we had. But only perhaps. Just mentioning.

    • this worked on an iPad 3 on a 2009 Mac Pro running iTunes 11.3.1 in September 2014.

    Thanks again.

    • Jeff Herb

      So glad this worked for you and I appreciate you sharing your notes that may have differed from the instructions in the article.

      I appreciate the comment!


      • Nick

        I see a lot of questions but not a one right answer from Jeff. I don’t understand the purpose of this website if he cannot give any help, only “….I am not sure, or I don’t know or bla bla bla …..” – nothing for sure.

        • cdenesha

          Nick, the awesome thing about the internet is that we can share our knowledge and learn from each other. Others may have different perspectives or get the error in different circumstances, which is a reason why the Comments feature is so good.

          Jeff does this as a service out of the goodness of his heart, and cannot be an expert in everything. But this website is bringing together a lot of knowledge from a lot of people.

          I hope this helps you understand the purpose of this website. I am not affiliated with Jeff, and am just another person on the web.

          Thank you,


        • Jeff Herb

          I am not in any way claiming to be a miracle worker with disabled iPads. I found *one* way that works to reactivate a disabled iPad using a very specific method that works for iPads that have been synced with a computer you still have access to.

          By design, disabled iPads were not meant to be unlocked easily – hence the trouble I may have giving support when others post questions that just will not work with the schema I posted about.

          I’d love to help everyone get their iPad enabled – and based on many of the comments here it seems that this does help many get theirs working. I’m sorry if it didn’t work for you.


  • Frank Barbagallo

    Hi Jeff :)
    I just wanted to feed back a short note of gratitude for your post that I recently came across.
    Our family iPad has been disabled for 3 months due to our children trying to challenge a code I placed on it to keep them off Minecraft! Of course, it had not been backed up for 3 years and I was agonising about losing all the family photos and videos as all tech persons I asked, including the apple genius at the local apple store in Melbourne, told me there was no way I could restore the device without losing all of our family data.
    Apart from having to upgrade our iMac OS to Snow Leopard first, then install the latest iTunes, so that the iPad would talk to iTunes (what happens when you don’t do back ups!), I then just followed your instructions and ‘vola’! … Our iPad was back, as it was before – totally intact with all our precious memories there for us! I’m now backing it up…. Thank’s again Jeff for sharing your instructions with the world!
    Best wishes and keep up the good work
    Dr Frank Barbagallo, Melbourne, Australia

    • Jeff Herb

      Hi Frank-

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am thrilled that this worked for you and ultimately saved your family memories. Always a great thing to hear success stories!

      All the best,


  • Rarawa Kohere

    Hi. My iPad is/was disabled for 23mins. I had updated iOS. I had a long down load of an app overnight. This morning everything on the screen was expanded. As a consequence I could not key in without a mistake (as the light would go out). “Siri” was confused /or rather I could not articulate the issue. The solution above seems far too complex for my simple brain. Can I get a link through my iMac as they were in sync (when connected last)

  • Jessie

    I’ll already connected my iPad to the computer,but my computer didn’t show anything.Please help me,i need my iPad immediately.

    • Jeff Herb

      Hi Jessie – Sorry I just saw your comment. Have you synced with this computer before? You had to have synced with the computer before for this to work.

  • Owen Tesua

    How can i reactivate my disable mini ipad. This happen when someone try to enter my security code but didnt manage to

    • Jeff Herb

      You will need to follow the above instructions using a computer you have synced with before. I have tested with the latest versions of iOS, Mac OS, and iTunes and this still works!

  • Selly

    there is no x for me to cancel the restoration process?

  • The Krazy Kat

    Okay. I think I need to speed this out.
    So, I have and iPad Air, updated to iOS 8.
    Anyhow, my mom put a passcode on it and didn’t tell me. So I was trying to figure it out when after 11 try’s, it said, “iPad is disabled. Connect to iTunes”. Well, I don’t have a working laptop so we have to go to the Apple Store. But the iPad never synced with any of the computers there. Will the “‘iPad is disabled’ Fix Without Resetting Using iTunes” work?
    Please just post your suggestion on here. Don’t email me.

  • Mike

    Hi Jeff
    I have tried your solution, but have unfortunately been unable to get the ipad working. The iPad is “disabled” (too many incorrect password attempts), so I have followed your instructions. When I click to restore the ipad (I understand this is the new itunes version of “set up as new ipad) and then click “x”, it cancels the restore but does not reactivate the ipad. Are you able to advise if there is something I can do to ‘save’ the ipad (the photos on there are needed quite urgently as some are required for a legal case – lessons learnt about backing up photos!)
    Thanks for any assistance you can provide

  • Kenneth

    Hi Jeff where do you find the option set up as a new iPad cause I don’t see it on mine iTunes… please help I really need the notability files !
    Or is there another way of doing this without erasing all files! I searched everywhere your way sounds so promising! but i can’t find the set up as a new iPad option

  • Fbfvf

    I don’t have an iTunes account what can I do?

  • HotdogMan

    So, basically your saying to put the ipad into DFU mode, start restoring, wait till it updates to latest software, when done and it starts restore cancel, then cancel the sync and it should unlock?

  • i need help! :(

    ok so I was making a passcode and when I shut it off and tried putting my passcode in it said it was wrong but it wasn’t and I tried until it said I “ipad is disabled connect to iTunes and so I did but it said I need to put the password in so then I tried your steps but I have a question how can I open iTunes with my ipad 2 disabled?
    thank you so much then its really important for me

  • kayb

    My ipad was completely disabled. it was a black screen with connect to iTunes in white writing on it. I tried this method and now my ipad is just a black screen. it wont even turn on anymore to show the apple sign. what do I do?

  • Elaine Murray

    Hi my iPad is disabled connect to iTunes and i have an iPhone 5 updated to iOS 811
    Is there anyway of unlocking my iPad without a computer to connect it to any help would be appreciated thanks Elaine

  • Jen

    I am having the same problem, but I have an additional complication. Her ipad mini will not allow her to begin the restore, because it needs the iCloud find my ipad setting turned off. I went into iCloud and removed the device from my account. I read online that this would allow me to do the manual restore process you outlined. Instead, I have now lost all access on iCloud and I still can’t restore. Help please!!!!

  • adarsh

    ipad disabled
    i had an icloud account and forgot the password. i tried the password more than ten times and got my ipad disabled . now i cant use it anymore as soon as i switch it on it shows to enter icloud id and password to activate it

  • anonymous

    HElP!! my brother disabled my brand new ipad and i didnt get the chance to connect it to my computer or itunes. what can i do to enable it???? thank you.

  • Devon Rodrigues

    i got disabled and i dont remember my password.

  • Nadia

    Wow, I was excited about trying this, until I connected and attempted the steps and says “please disable find my iPhone on the iPad before continuing”. :-/ like really Apple? This stinks. And I set a passcode I can’t remember cuz some ****ing kid of a friend of mine wanted to see what was on my iPad (not even asking mind you) and I set it because I was worried she would erase an app or something. I’ll keep searching. If I find a way around this nuisance I’ll be happy to share.

  • Shamrin Tazia

    Thank you Jeff!! The method you described above worked perfectly.My ipad was disabled but I followed your instructions and did not have to restore my ipad.I just made sure that I connected the ipad to the computer it was last synced with and it worked! All of my photos,books and apps are still in my iPad..Thank you so much!!

  • Kristy Jessen

    I forgot the password to my ipad. My little girl got into some really bad stuff on it and in a panic, I put a passcode on…that i don’t remember now. I’ve messed with it so much that all it says on my screen is “ipad is disabled, connect to itunes”. When I do, my computer offers to tranfer the videos and pictures but can’t because it is locked. So I cancel that out and go to itunes. The only opeions it gives me is to restore it. When I click restore it offers to back it up, but naturally can’t because it is locked. I’m at my whits end. I have over 13000videos and pictures of my three kids and their life on this dang thing!!! Can you please help me…I can’t bare to loose these videos and pictures…

    • purple

      if you have the older versions of the ipad you might be able to hack in i think….

  • iEatPig

    Lame fuck, most people don’t have the backup and that is the article we want to see.

  • Lucy Mathews

    Infact I never get the option to set up as new ipad just to restore

  • Lucy Mathews

    Can anyone help. If i start the restore it starts downloading software for 20 mins. When can i cancel the backup and sync to try and save data?

  • Rudy Sanchez

    Idiot the title of the selection says without iTunes

  • Corwin Grimes Jr.

    My brother’s IPAD MINI is disabled for more than 2398546 minutes and we try to connect to itunes and it won’t let us but one time it did and it said it can’t be restored i tried everything but this new ipad he got he didnt use it for like 3 months and it says that it is locked and I don’t know what to do …….. also it wont let me download itunes on MY computer and we tried my cousins computer and theysaid no and we can’t download it to my computer it says it will cost 50$ and we don’t have that much money for just a single app IDK i give up i’ll just throw this ipad in the lake )”””:

  • Corwin Grimes Jr.

    They just don’t know what we are all going through >:(

  • Jane

    I’ve recently fixed this kind of issue in my iPad mini. I’ve followed every steps suggested by many websites, from iTunes to iCloud recovery but still my iPad was disabled.

    Below were the things I did that unlocked my iPad mini again.

    1.I then connected the iPad to iTunes again, I actually did it for many times.

    2. Signed-in to iTunes using your Apple ID

    3. There were options: Restore or Update

    At first i clicked RESTORE button but, iTunes says it cannot connect to the iPad because it is locked with a pass code. “You must enter your pass code on the iPad before it can be used with iTunes”.

    4. I “Updated” it first, once finished, the iPad was still disabled at this time.

    5. Connect to iTunes again, i just make sure that I was still signed-in.

    6. NOW, Choose the Restore option

    7. Follow the steps and/ or remaining instructions.

    ***When connecting to iTunes, I followed these steps***

    1. Disconnect the USB cable from the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, but leave the other end of the cable connected to your computer’s USB port.

    2. Turn off the device: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds until the red slider appears, then slide the slider. Wait for the device to turn off.

    Note: If you cannot turn off the device using the slider, press and hold the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons at the same time. When the device turns off, release the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons.

    3. While pressing and holding the Home button, reconnect the USB cable to the device. The device should turn on.

    4. Continue holding the Home button until you see the “Connect to iTunes” screen. When this screen appears you can release the Home button.

    5. If necessary, open iTunes. You should see the following “recovery mode” alert. Restore or Update using iTunes.

    Hope this helps! To GOD be the glory! :)


    I need the same issue what I did was updated my iTunes then I log into my iTunes with my apple id after this I took off the security scan and disabled it for my 20x and then started the steps
    1, turns off ipad
    2.hold home button then connected the usb while connected to the computer
    3. restores it on itunes

  • Abuchi Collins Sagman

    Please how do I use configuration to format my I pad and will it require activation?

  • foreign_threat

    my ipad is also on disabled but den i cant connect to itunes cause i dont have a computer is der any other way to remove my ipad on disabled without itunes

  • NatalieHayleyMohamed

    Hi i tried this with my daughter´s ipad mini, but nothing is happening. It tells me on the ipad to connect to itunes, but when i connect it with the computer it just shows an empty folder. Please help. She forgot her pass code and entered it too many times

  • John.J.R.Scott

    hey guys really need some help if possible please- my i pad has been locked out via the pass-code being entered incorrectly six times and have followed above advice but for some reason my ipad wont appear in the devices section- im using the original computer i synced it on and have synced my ipad in the past but nothing :(
    if someone could give me a shout id be grateful cheers John

  • Bonnie Thomas

    How do I enable a disabled iPad with other person screen lock on it and I don’t have no internet connection


    my ipad is also disabled but den i also cant connect it to itunes..den if i connect the itunes said that i need 1st ti enter my password to my ipad..but i cant because my ipad is disabled..please help me..thanks

  • benjamin

    i tried calling fixing a problem like that with my itunes, but it couldnt work…. they tell me to restore and cant even find ”steup as new ipad” please help me out….

  • faisal

    The solution provided is only for those i pads which are already synchronised with i tunes .
    Suppose you never synch your i pad with your computer and now it is locked/disabled .in this condition the only solution is to get the recovery mode .
    Most of the people are confused because of the only one solution provided and ignoring the other scenerio.

  • Freedom94

    I forgot my password for my IPad and have to reset to original setting and like start from beginning. How do I get into it and will I loose all my pictures and documents?

  • Sarita

    Mr. Jeff,
    “:Click on the iPad name when it appears and you will be given the option to restore a backup or setup as a new iPad (since it is locked).”

    i dont see these options. :( plz help!!
    i have synced on the computer but its a year back since i last synced
    Cant afford to lose the data on my iPad!! kindly help!!

    • Naina Khan

      i am facing same problem i cant find setup as new ipad option…… did you find any solution for it if yes would please like to inform me

  • Sarita

    hey! even when connected to iTunes it gives me two options of update and restore as attached in image below..but when i click on restore it says update and restore..i have already updated but it again wants to update??? is there anyway i can skip this update..

    • Naina Khan

      i am facing same problem i cant find setup as new ipad option…… did you find any solution for it?

  • Naina Khan

    i cant find setup as a new iPad option how to deal with this problem?

  • Bhagyesh Shah

    I have just bought iPad day before and by mistake my son has entered n number of time wrong passcode, please advice.


    My iPad is mistaken to be lost so it was locked. But then I can’t remember the passcode and even if I already connected it to iTunes and reset it, it still the same. Asks for passcode everytime I restart it. :(

  • The Master

    Hi Im also having a challenge with my Ipad, its disabled and needs to connect to the iunes, i have never connected/synced it with a computer before. when I connect it to the computer, Itunes says ” Do you want to allow the computer to access the information in this Ipad? If you dont allow yo wont be able to manage or sync your ipod with this computer” then it gives 2 options, Continue and Cancell. I then press Continue, It non says “To allow access, please respond on your Ipod “. the most unfortunate part is tha, The Ipod doesnt says anything about granting the access, infact it doesnt react or respond in anyway. It keepssaying “the ipad is disabled connect to itunes”.

    Can any1 assist on this please, its been days now.

    • Hal

      Same problem, have you got a fix yet?

  • Cylon Hermoso Jardinico

    help me how to fix my disabled ipad

  • Cylon Hermoso Jardinico

    my ipad has connect already to the itunes,but i didnt saw anything on my computer.what should i do on the next step?

  • abdul akbar

    sir my ipad is disabled and i don’t know what to do now…please…help me

  • lea

    My ipad is disabled like REALLY DISABLED. It doesn’t let me try my password again omg what do I do?!

  • kalapata

    MY IPAD IS DISABLED its also nor connected to iTunes

  • kalapata

    Yaryang advice further. do hi old as its on or off

  • vanny

    good day… ipad mini say disabled connect to itunes please how can i go back to write the password cause i remember it now

  • vanny

    please i need a reply btw be fast

  • Sunaya

    Hi I recently tried to update y ipad 2 to ios 9 but it didn’t work instead there is a black background which has a picture of the charger to iTunes, I tried to update from my laptop but the bar doesn’t go up so I cant go on it!! PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS!!!!!!!!

  • Butt slutt 9001

    iPad is stupid

  • Mey

    Sir, last night I downloading latest version IOS 9.0.2, when downloading halfway, it seen hang almost coming 1 and half hour plus, so, I shut up, and re-open a few time, it prompt a picture to connect with Itune, please assist,

  • Mey

    is ipad

  • Ali

    Sir my iPad is also disabled I can even used ask I’d Apple and pass work and I cant remember it.what will I do. Please help me.

  • Hannah Ø?

    hi, my iPad is disabled from trying the passcode too many times, and i have a laptop, its a windows and it wont work on my ipad, when i click reset, it closes everything out and it doesnt do anything…how could i possibly reset it without itunes?

  • Evelyn Sharp

    My iPad is lock it’s not activating even after entering the iCloud password. What should I do? Please help asap…

  • mohammad

    sir my ipad is also disabled but den i also cant connect it to itunes..den if i connect the itunes said that i need 1st ti enter my password to my ipad..but i cant because my ipad is disabled..please help me..thanks

  • Zino Zion

    25dollarsupport is a global tech support one must try them

  • Jyoti Sharma

    Flat fee and simple tech support is 25dollarsupport

  • David M Giunta

    My iPad is disabled but it says to connect to iTunes…I will probably have to call the app store but if anyone has had this happen and knows something better to do please reply down low…thanks

  • David M Giunta

    how do i get an answer and where do i find an answer…thanks

  • David M Giunta

    how long does it take until i will get the answer , a week or so , maybe a year … sorry just wondering,or does it take longer

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