How to Restore Disabled or Unavailable iPhone without Losing Data – A Proven Guide!

Richard, my colleague, forgot his iPhone’s security passcode and entered it incorrectly several times. He found his iPhone disabled with a permanently locked screen. And he was so worried about his emergency contacts, photos, and data. Finally, he called me and asked for the best possible solution.

Forgetting the passcode and getting the device disabled has been a common issue among the users. Being a technician, I even personally solved thousands of such issues.

Here in this guide I’ve shared how I solved Rechard’s issue. I hope it will be a didactic guide for you to restore your disabled or unavailable iPhone without losing any essential data.

So, no more words. Let’s have a few minutes and learn the step-by-step guide thoroughly.

Factors behind Disabled or Unavailable iPhones!

Factors behind Disabled or Unavailable iPhones

Factors for iPhone’s Disabled or Unavailable Screen:

  • Entering the wrong security passcode repeatedly (maximum 10 attempts)
  • No update of Apple ID for a long time
  • Device Hacking

However, using a wrong passcode after several attempts is the most common reason for a disabled or unavailable iPhone screen. You get a few tries to recover your screen with the correct passcode.

Number of AttemptsTime to Reattempt Disability/Unavailability StatusAction 
1-5 attemptsTry again in 1 minute Disabled but not lockedPut right passcode
6-7 attemptsTry again in 5 minutesDisabled but not lockedPut right passcode
8 attemptsTry again in 15 minutesDisabled but not lockedPut right passcode
9 attemptsTry again in 60 minutesDisabled but not lockedPut right passcode
10 attempts (maximum)After 60 minutes of 9 attemptsDisabled and lockedRestore Required 

So, you must restore your iPhone or iPad when you enter an incorrect passcode for ten tries repeatedly. And it requires erasing the existing settings and contents, including the passcode.  Now, let’s look at the guide to restoring disabled or unavailable iPhones without losing data.

Method One: Restore Disabled or Unavailable iPhones or iPads on iTunes/Finder

I recommend Richard iTunes or Finder to restore his disabled or unavailable iPhones without data damage. The self-driven method requires no iCloud account except a Mac or PC and a USB cable. It is a proven method and recommended by the Apple Support Center.Opens in a new tab. Let’s move on step-by-step.

Step-1: Prepare Your devices

The first step is to manage a Mac or PC with the latest iTunes application. If it is a PC, the operating system must be Windows 10 or later. Manage a USB cable to connect your computer. 

Step-2: Turn Off the iPhone

You need to turn off your iPhone. Don’t forget to unplug your device from a charger or computer before turning it off. However, the switching-off process differs from one model to another. Check the process by model here.

Model: iPhone 8, iPhone 8-Plus, iPhone X or later, iPhone SE (2nd & 3rd generation.IHXW8QwG3kTEkczDfI5nr8LM ehcXODwVN36LrmYIwykSsxKlaYgMUCjVNyVtJBp9cGEC0aHL MDDV7a0qQGLQEsJZq6ItmHb1olgZDzhl tCQat1B KiIjYT148VRNm9ndjgxjuxMmInzhJdDLBbex59m1 xE8Qc eIlMpuewvJWS0RV1iLYHLVNH Lq9nvzy 9Press and hold the ride-sided power button and left-sided volume down button together until the power-off slider comes.
Model: iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6SaE nSiTWttBRrG6RMPLSP8Uify6BiB5 IU4cJGPJ6bck8kKeUwmfZKjZPF41m2vqMbS5qlg5JCBrLNYYhxZHPh4HGtrCeS3r2B5eN ZiN2gDCdMB6wp8umdR78ar3oWBE2MkFacYKuPress and hold the right-sided button until you see the power-off slider on the screen.
Model: iPhone 5S or earlier, iPhone SE (1st generation)oLO5HvxzPJwq4GJ iVhOah6aQAvg0vIMrwctcqxbhfvvcCl0jpko ocTBfrNuKyrTRp2C R2P9jm7AktZ5f 6 HzyuReGOIYugFRwe1X 0N9dTtMpCQhvmIGhAZoSUDFtl9 BlXML2VOxtgLT2i6eiq37aLiX3HJVvW0qN 8jcckGpb4bilrEVAR8L3Ajl42 YViKeep pressing the upper button until the power-off slider appears on the screen. 

 Finally, drag the slider from left to right and wait for a while to ensure your device’s turning off mode.

Step-3: Initiate Recovery Mode

In this step, you have to initiate the recovery mode of your iPhone and connect to a Mac or PC with a USB cable. Finding recovery mode differs based on the device’s models. Let’s see!

Model: iPhone 8, iPhone 8-Plus, iPhone X or later, iPhone SE (2nd & 3rd generation).A3ZDmaxTCbFGmKFQ QA0dO tL5qeYttPEdt 6uZt0aIB2kUZvdVa1NbqpnARwnda1mToxhWq4pKY7daGQXiMFbpSyAtCnQwdMuOSJ uFU3Rd8V5mddrQ1pYT4nM7aHiM 1HvxbkoTjhfaBnWU y55EYJ2i cggCyyacZRBq5s4gRDyWeY5 7kcNPOC5nDISDrnW9Tap the right-sided button until the recovery mode appears.
Model: iPhone 7 or iPhone 7-PlusAhIhE7ekVsfB17apRZO75szkQoGcN9CqmHXLKVaJAIEudFqwdbMvZarBBLIQBuBkrMbi6Q400a02xqZqWNcXE50cHygBtRPjo2BpMcrsyptR0 hjoLPcuQttQE O36kPM55Kg EEkFG5qI3 yhlMPYFBU8zBHe0ew9My3SaZh9EHsqyTXYQ1Y8VRw5DKKtSz7MvbTap the volume down button until the recovery mode comes on the screen.
Model: iPhone 6S, iPhone 5S or earlier, iPhone SE (1st generation)qww9ziHFv2 06sJ3TgDvHk7gOYs1r7jJo TH7BsDfPGty Vt8gsGzj4maHlMUoTbSo9WZ41NY7tZtJC4LuGv4yw5xKMJf1uqKNtPIjOuueeDABy8Press and hold the ‘Home’ until the recovery mode appears.

N.B. Press and hold the proper button and connect your device to a computer immediately using a USB cable. Don’t relax the button until you see recovery mode on your iPhone’s screen. It takes a while.

Step 4: Locate and Restore

It is time to locate your iPhone in iTunes or Finder to start restoring your device. You will find your iPhone icon on the upper left corner of the iTunes or Finder interface.

Locate and Restore

A popup interface appears with ‘update’ and ‘restore’ icons. Click on the ‘restore’ option to erase existing settings, contents, and passcodes. Be patient and wait for a while to end the entire process.

Important: You must make a backup of your files, photos, contacts, and applications in iTunes or computer memory before clicking on the ‘restore’ icon. It will protect your essential data from loss.

Method Two: Restore Disabled or Unavailable iPhones or iPads on iCloud!

An Apple iCloud ID can be a reliable way to restore disabled or unavailable iPhones and iPad with no risk of data loss. However, it requires a ‘Find My iPhone’ enabled device to apply the method. Follow the steps.

Step 5: Sign in to iCloud

Open your browser and go to the iCloud login pageOpens in a new tab.. Log in to the iCloud account with your Apple ID and password. If you forget your Apple ID and password, you can retrieve them.

Sign in to iCloud

Step 6: Open Find iPhone

You will find the iCloud dashboard after successfully logging in with your Apple ID and password. Then, click on the green-colored ‘Find iPhone’ icon to proceed. It may ask for Apple ID & password again.

Open Find iPhone

Step 7: Find and Select Device

Finding a device from the ‘All Device’ dropdown menu is the next job. Select your iPhone from the listed device shown on the dropdown menu. Here, your device must be ‘Find my iPhone’ enabled to locate and select.

Find and Select Device

Step 8: Erase iPhone

A popup page with the ‘Erase iPhone’ icon will appear at the right-bottom corner. Click on the erase option to start erasing all existing contents and settings. It requires reentering Apple ID and Password. 

Step 9: Reset & Restore a Backup

Wait for a while to end the erasing process and say ‘Hello’ on the screen. Now, you can transfer photos, files, apps, and essential data to your iPhone from iCloud or iTunes backup.

Reset & Restore a Backup

Important: Don’t forget to ensure a backup of your existing files, folders, photos, apps, and data to proceed with erasing your iPhone. It prevents critical data loss during restoring disabled iPhones.

Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs

FAQ. What should I do after restoring my iPhone?

You should launch a new setup to use your iPhone if you have restored it once. Set the following functions to make your device ready to use.

  • Select your language to operate.
  • Select your country of origin.
  • Choose how to transfer your data via iCloud, Mac, and PC backup.
  • Set a face ID and passcode to ensure more data security.

Moreover, you can turn on automatic updates and other user-friendly features to make your device handy to use. Set up screen time with a passcode to set your time limits on your device and your child’s device.

FAQ. What to do if you cannot recognize your iPhone on a computer? 

Sometimes, you may face device-recognizing issues on your computer connected with a USB cable. Your computer cannot recognize your connected device due to unknown errors. Let’s learn how to fix it.

  • The device must be turned on and unlocked on the screen.
  • Install the latest iTunes version on your computer.
  • Tap the trust icon if you find the trust in this computer alert.
  • Unplug all USB connections from your computer except your iPhone.
  • Restart your Mac or PC.
  • Restart your iPhone.
  • Try again to recognize your device.

If you still find the issue, you can change your Mac or PC with the latest operating systems and iTunes.

Concluding Comment

Hope you are now confident in restoring your disabled or unavailable iPhone or iPad without data loss. Both methods are proven by Apple Support and trusted by thousands of iOS device users. 

Fortunately, you can apply these simple methods by yourself. It is as simple as operating an iPhone or a computer. My guide will be a bonus book to make the job easier than ever with step-by-step explanations.

However, don’t make the mistake of ensuring a backup of your existing files and data on iTunes, iCloud, and the computer before erasing. It prevents unavoidable data loss while restoring a disabled or unavailable iPhone.

Suhel Rana

Hi! This is Shuhel and I've been working as an iPhone technician for over 10 years. At Techiaid, I write content on a vast range of topics on iPhone software and hardware issues. iPhone issues are nothing to be trifled with. So, you'll definitely need to consult someone who knows the ins and outs of different iPhone models.

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