Forgot your iPad passcode? Here’s what to do!

By Moses Johnson - Editor
2 Min Read

Forgot your iPad passcode? Learn how to put your iPhone into recovery mode so you can erase it and set it up again.

Forgetting your iPad’s passcode (or alphanumeric password) is a serious situation, and certainly an inconvenience. But it isn’t necessarily a disaster. In this tutorial we explain what to do if you forgot your iPad passcode. You’ll have to restore your device, wiping the contents, but at least you’ll be able to use it again.

Restore your iPad using Recovery Mode

If you can’t remember your passcode, you can use a computer to access recovery mode and reset your iPad to get in without the password. If you’re using a Mac running macOS Catalina or later, you’ll be using Finder for this process. If you’re using a PC, or a Mac running macOS Mojave or earlier, you’ll be using iTunes — which you need to download first.

Once you’ve reset your iPad, you can use an iCloud backup to restore its data. If you don’t regularly back up your data, something we recommend to all iPhone and iPad owners, the future is less bright. But it’s still better to have access to a wiped-clean device than no access to one that’s full of data.

The key to this method is that we will restore the device from Recovery Mode, which is possible without the passcode. This wipes the device completely and installs the latest version of iPadOS from scratch. Note that you will need the Apple ID and password that were used to originally set up the device. That’s the password for the Apple ID, of course, rather than the passcode for the device; they’re two separate things.

Turn off your iPad

  1. If you are using a PC, make sure that iTunes is installed on the computer.
  2. With your iPad not yet connected to the computer, turn off your iPad:
    • iPad without home button: Press and hold both the Top and volume down buttons. When you see the power off slider, slide it to the right to power off.
    • iPad with a home button: Press and hold the Top button until the power off slider appears. Slide the power off slider to turn off.

Connect your iPad to the computer

  1. After your iPad has powered off, you are going to press and hold one of the buttons while you connect your iPad to the computer. So have the cable already connected to the computer, ready to connect to your iPad.
  2. The button you will use depends on your iPad model:
    • iPad without Home button: You will use the Top button.
    • iPad with a Home button: You will use the Home button.
  3. Now, press and hold the appropriate button while quickly connecting your iPad to the computer. Don’t let go of the button until the recovery mode screen appears on your device.

Restore your iPad in Finder or iTunes

  1. On the computer, open iTunes (PC or Mac running Mohave or earlier) or Finder. Click on your iPad:
    • In Finder: Your iPad should be listed in the left sidebar.
    • In iTunes: Your iPad should appear as a button near the top.
  2. You should see a popup with the options Update, Restore, or Cancel. Choose Restore.
  3. The process should take a few minutes to complete. If it fails — it takes too long, and your iPad exits the recovery screen — start over from the beginning.
  4. Once the process finishes, you can disconnect your iPad and set it up as new.
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By Moses Johnson Editor
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Moses Johnson is the Editorial Director of GeeksChalk.com, who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. Moses is commonly referred to online as The Professor, with decades of experience in tech under his belt.
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