If you forgot your iPhone passcode you can bypass the lock screen completely and reset the passcode by using iPhone recovery mode. This will get around a locked down iOS device that is stuck on the password screen, but there are some important considerations to take before proceeding.
Warning: This will require you to restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. That means you will lose all data on the device and be back to factory settings as if the device was brand new. This should be considered a last resort.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that is stuck on the passcode screen
USB cable to connect the device to a computer
Mac or Windows PC
Those are the core requirements, if you have those you can proceed to reset the missing passcode.
Bypass & Reset the iPhone Passcode
As mentioned above, this also will work on other iOS devices.
Disconnect the USB cable from the iPhone, leave the other end connected to your Mac/PC
Press and hold the Home and Power button on the top of the iPhone to turn off the device
Press and continue to hold the Home button while you reconnect the USB cable to your iPhone, this will cause the iPhone to turn on
Continue to hold the Home button until an alert message in iTunes appears that an iPhone in recovery mode has been detected
This is the general message you will see:
iphone recover mode detected
Now that the iPhone is in recovery mode and has been detected by iTunes, you must restore the device:
From iTunes, look under the “Summary” tab
Click on the “Restore” button within iTunes
This will wipe all files, settings, and apps from the iPhone, including the passcode. When the restore is finished, the iPhone will be at the factory settings. At this point you can choose to start from scratch or to restore the iPhone from a backup that is either stored on the computer with iTunes, or by using an Apple ID and restoring from an iCloud backup. Both of those are very simple processes and you will have the option to do so once the device has been rebooted and is back at factory settings, where the initial setup screens will greet you.
This tip came from an iPhone repair shop, where it’s common for people to bring in a phone for fixing and then forget to provide the passcode.
Having Trouble? Alternate Instructions for Resetting the iOS Passcode
This is another reader provided alternate approach to initiate the recovery process, it’s similar but requires the device to be turned off first. If for some reason you are having problems with the repair shop method above you can try this instead:
Turn the iPhone OFF by pressing and holding the Power button until the device powers off
Attach the USB cable to the computer and launch iTunes – do not connect the iPhone yet
Hold down the Home button, and while continuing to hold it connect the iPhone to the computer via USB
While continuing to hold the Home button, the iPhone screen will turn on and show an iTunes logo and a USB cable
When an alert box opens in iTunes indicating that a device has been detected in Restore mode, now let go of the Home button
Click the “Restore” button in iTunes – if a local firmware file is found it will restore immediately, otherwise it will download the appropriate firmware from Apple’s servers
Now just wait until Restore is completed, the device will boot as if it was brand new
Once the phone has booted, you can either use it as brand new or initiate a recovery from a backup. A backup is necessary if you wish to restore personalization data like Contacts, apps, SMS, photos, and phone numbers. iCloud will do that for you so long as the device was routinely backed up to iCloud and that the same Apple ID is used during the setup, but a backup stored in iTunes will also work. If you are only looking to restore apps and not personal data, simply use the same Apple ID and then launch the App Store to download the apps again to that device.