iPhone is Disabled? Fix With or Without Connecting to iTunes

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Have you ever picked up your iPhone to discover the message “iPhone is turned off” and “try again in 1 minute” or to try again 5, 15, 60 minutes? In the worst scenarios, the message says “iPhone is turned off. Connect to iTunes”, and the device is unusable until then. So what’s going on here, why is the iPhone turned off? And how do you fix it so that you don’t The answers to these questions are usually straightforward, so let’s look at the causes of this message, and more importantly, the solutions to them so that you can unlock iPhone and turn it back on for full use.

Why is my iPhone turned off?

A locked iPhone requires a passcode or Touch ID to access and access the device as a security measure. After the iPhone passcode is entered incorrectly five times in a row, the iPhone will turn itself off automatically for 1 minute, causing the error message “iPhone is disabled” on the screen. The obvious solution in this case is to wait for the minute (or several) to pass and then enter the correct passcode to unlock the iPhone and bypass the disabled message. Just enter the correct passcode in the future and you will avoid this message and the lockout period.

You may find it interesting to know how many incorrect passcodes are required to turn off iPhone for a certain amount of time and receive the corresponding message, that information is as follows:

  • 5 incorrect passcodes in a row – iPhone is turned off, please try again in 1 minute
  • 7 incorrect entries in a row – iPhone turned off, please try again in 5 minutes
  • 8 incorrect entries in a row – iPhone is turned off, please try again in 15 minutes
  • 9 incorrect entries in a row – iPhone turned off, please try again in 60 minutes
  • 10 incorrect passcode entry – iPhone is turned off, connect to iTunes (or iPhone wipes itself of all data if self-destruct mode is on)

Waiting a minute is not so bad, but waiting many minutes to an hour is inconvenient, as is connecting to iTunes to turn the iPhone back on. Let’s understand this problem further to prevent it from happening in the future, and further we will show you how to bypass the disabled message.

But I haven’t tried to unlock my iPhone so why does it say it’s disabled?

In some situations, you haven’t actually tried to unlock an iPhone and (intentionally) not entered a wrong passcode, but the iPhone says it’s disabled anyway. How did this happen? The two most common reasons for an iPhone to seemingly lock itself out are pockets and people. Let’s discuss the two.

To turn off the pocket: Accidentally turning off an iPhone in a pocket is surprisingly common! This usually happens with iPhone users who keep their iPhones in a pocket that they also use for their hands, often hip jacket pockets, the pouch pocket with hood or, for example, trouser pockets on the front. Because the iPhone screens slide to unlock feature can be swiped anywhere on the screen, it’s quite common to accidentally activate that screen and then enter the passcode entry screen while iPhone is a pocket with a hand or two, and maybe unbeknownst to you, enter enter a password several times to accidentally activate the lock. This happened to myself when I turned an iPhone in a pocket out of boredom, and recently saw a friend accidentally turn off his iPhone while looking in the same iPhone holder for money to pay for a food cart. This happens surprisingly often if you keep an iPhone in a busy pocket or put your hands in your pockets a lot.

The person switches: There are two types of interactions between people that can turn off the iPhone, deliberately entering a passcode from someone trying to guess your passcode and then turning it off if they fail – usually a fairly obvious scenario. And the other type, the accidental entry of a passcode, usually triggered by a young child. The latter scenario is extremely common among parents and caregivers with young children, who can play, tap and swipe around on an iPhone screen that is otherwise locked. The parent or caregiver often doesn’t think about it because the iPhone is locked with a passcode or Touch ID, yet the child often finds their way to the passcode entry screen (after all, it’s just a swipe), repeatedly enters the wrong password if they tap the screen and the device will be locked with the message “iPhone is turned off”.

How to unlock the iPhone stuck on ‘iPhone is turned off, please try again in X minutes’

Do you want to unlock an iPhone stuck on the disabled screen? You have to wait for the time to pass and then enter the correct passcode.

If you can’t wait or you don’t know the passcode, then you need to put iPhone into recovery mode and restore it.

Those are the only two options.

Fixing “iPhone is disabled. Connecting to iTunes”

This is the worst scenario for an iPhone that shuts down as you have to connect the iPhone to a computer to access it again. Hopefully you recently back-up created on that computer and hopefully you will remember the actual iPhone passcode otherwise you will have to erase the device and lose all data on it. Yes really. Yet another reason why regular device backups are important.

iPhone is turned off error message and how to fix it

If you know the iPhone passcode and have supported it up recently, you can easily unlock the device with iTunes, although it needs to be restored:

  1. Connect the iPhone to a computer with which it was previously synced with a USB cable and launch iTunes
  2. Choose “Sync” in iTunes and enter the correct passcode when prompted to unlock the device up the iPhone to the computer
  3. Choose “Restore” to restore iPhone from the most recent backupup

If you don’t know iPhone passcode, then you need to wipe iPhone clean and all data will be erased in recovery mode. The instructions on how to reset a forgotten iPhone passcode are here. If you back-up to iTunes or iCloud, you can restore it to that backup afterwardsup.

iPhone recovery mode

If you don’t know the iPhone passcode and you don’t have a backupup data on iPhone will be erased and lost forever. That is impossible, even Apple cannot unlock iPhone and access the data in such situation. So the lesson is not forgetting the device passcode and always make regular backups!

How do I prevent iPhone from being turned off by an incorrect passcode in the future?

To avoid this in the future, you have a number of options. The easiest thing is to simply not enter the wrong passcode repeatedly, which will prevent the iPhone from being locked up and turn itself off. Duh, right? Since that’s not always an option, another choice is to enable complex passcodes, as it requires a longer string to be entered before the password is rejected. It’s also a good idea to keep the iPhone in another pocket, or out of reach of anyone who intentionally or accidentally enters passcodes. And finally, as we’ve mentioned several times, always make regular backups of the device just in case you need to restore it to regain access.

Be aware of other useful information about a disabled iPhone, or how to bypass the disabled warning dialogs? Let us know in the comments.

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iPhone is Disabled? How to Fix With or Without Connecting to iTunes: FAQ

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