How To Fix iPhone Unavailable With No Timer error: 4 Methods

Does your iPhone say “iPhone Unavailable” and there’s no timer? Here are a few ways you can fix it!

By Dave Johnson - Senior Staff Writer
7 Min Read

Your iPhone is a pocket computer that you rely on, and this means that you always need access to it. However, you may get locked out of your iPhone and encounter the “iPhone Unavailable” notification with no timer on the screen.

I encountered this problem a while ago. Someone in our house tried to open my iPhone while I was sleeping. When i woke up in the morning, it only said "iphone Unavailable" on the screen, and it didn’t have a timer. So, if you pick up your iPhone and find it in this state, there’s a good chance somebody else was trying to get into it.

Getting locked out of your iPhone and facing the iPhone Unavailable with no timer on the screen doesn’t mean that you have to throw away your phone. You just need to find the right method to get your iPhone out of unavailable mode.

Below, we’ll show you all the official methods on how to fix iPhone Unavailable with no timer issue, according to Apple.

Why Does Your iPhone Say iPhone Unavailable with no time limit?

The iPhone Unavailable with no time limit appears when the iPhone passcode has been entered incorrectly ten times in a row. This is a great safety tool to keep your device away from prying eyes and to ensure someone doesn’t randomly guess your password through multiple sign in attempts.

There might be other reasons the message pops up, but there’s almost always an easy way to fix your iPhone and get back to scrolling through Twitter or Reddit without much downtime.

How long does iPhone Unavailable last without time?

The amount of time your iPhone will remain unavailable depends on how many passcode attempts have been made. It locks you out for one minute after five attempts. A sixth attempt increases that to 5 minutes, followed by 15 minutes after a seventh, and finally one hour for each subsequent attempt.

After entering ten wrong passcodes, your iPhone will display iPhone Unavailable message with no timer on the screen.

The iPhone Unavailable screen in iOS 17.  

If you’re not seeing a timer and your iPhone shows the “iPhone Unavailable” message, it means you don’t have any chance to enter the correct passcode as you see "iPhone Unavailable try again in 1 minute" or "iPhone Unavailable try again in 15 minutes. In this case, you’ll need to erase and restore it from scratch.

How to Fix iPhone Unavailable with no timer

Learning how to bypass the iPhone Unavailable screen is easier than you might expect. You can do this with or without a computer, and you can even get through the process without additional software. Here’s how:

Method 1: Fix iPhone Unavailable With the Erase Option (iOS 15.2 or Later)

Any time you encounter this problem, you can use your Apple ID and password to erase and reset your phone. This is the best method to fix iPhone Unavailable without computer.

Before you begin, you’ll need to ensure your iPhone is running iOS 15.2 or later and is connected to a cellular or Wi-Fi network. You’ll also need the Apple ID and password you used to set up your iPhone.

Step 1: From the "iPhone Unavailable" screen, select Erase iPhone (iOS 15/16) or Forgot Passcode? (iOS 17 or newer).

Step 2: On the Security Lockout screen, select Erase iPhone or Forgot Passcode? again to confirm.

Step 3: Enter your Apple ID password to sign out of your Apple ID on your device.

Step 4: Tap Erase iPhone to confirm.

When your iPhone restart, follow the onscreen instructions to set up your device again, restore your data and setting from a backup, and set a new passcode.

If you can’t follow these steps, or if you can’t see the Erase iPhone option, use a computer to get rid of iPhone Unavailable message.

Method 2: Fix iPhone Unavailable With iTunes or Finder

iPhone Unavailable no Erase option? Use a computer to put your iPhone in recovery mode. Recovery mode allows you to erase the iPhone, giving you access to set it up again.

After you erase your iPhone, you can restore your data and settings from a backup. If you didn’t back up your iPhone, you can set it up as a new device and then download any data that you have in iCloud.

On PC and Mac that runs macOS Mojave and earlier, use iTunes to fix the iPhone Unavailable screen. While on Mac running macOS Catalina and later, use Finder instead.

Step 1: Launch iTunes (Mac/PC) or open the Finder (Mac), but don’t connect your device just yet.

Step 2: Turn off your iPhone

Depending on your iPhone model, follow the steps below:

  • iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and later, including iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation): Press and hold both the side button and the Volume down button until you see the power off slider. Drag the slider from left to right to turn off your iPhone.

  • iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6: Press and hold the side button until you see the power off slider. Drag the slider from left to right to turn off your iPhone.

  • iPhone SE (1st generation), iPhone 5s, and earlier: Press and hold the top button until you see the power off slider. Drag the slider from left to right to turn off your iPhone.

Step 3: Put your iPhone in recovery mode

  • For the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and later, including iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation,) press the side button while immediately connecting your iPhone to a computer.

  • For the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, press the Volume down button while immediately connecting your iPhone to a computer.

  • For the iPhone SE (1st generation), and iPhone 6s and earlier, press the Home button while immediately connecting your iPhone to a computer.

Continue to hold the appropriate button while the Apple logo appears, and don’t release the button until the image of a computer and cable appears.

If you see the passcode screen, you need to turn off your iPhone and start again.

Step 4: Restore your iPhone with your Mac or PC

Locate your iPhone in the Finder, or in iTunes or the Apple Devices app if you connect to a PC.

When the option to Restore or Update appears, choose Restore. Your computer will download software for your iPhone and begin the restore process. If the download takes more than 15 minutes and your device exits the recovery mode screen, let the download finish, then turn off your iPhone and start again.

To restore and update your iPhone with your computer, you must tap Restore and Update to confirm.

Wait for the process to finish. When the process finishes, your device will restart and show a setup screen.
At this point, the iPhone Unavailable message is gone. Simply disconnect your iPhone from the computer, then set up and use your iPhone.

Method 3: Fix iPhone Unavailable With iCloud web page

As long as you’ve enabled Find My iPhone, which should be on by default, you can get rid of iPhone Unavailable message by erasing your device from the iCloud web page. Here’s how:

Step 1: Using any web browser, visit icloud.com/find and sign in with your Apple ID and password. A map of your device locations will appear.

Step 2: Select All Devices from the top of the screen.

Step 3: From the list that appears, select your iPhone. The map will zoom in on your chosen device.

Step 4: Select Erase iPhone from the device window that appears.

Once your iPhone has been fully erased, it will restart in an out-of-the-box configuration and you’ll have to go through the setup process again. Once you’ve done that, you can complete the setup process and choose to restore a backup from iCloud or your computer or set your iPhone up as brand new if you prefer to do that instead.

Method 4: Fix iPhone Unavailable With Find My app

Whether your iPhone shows "iPhone Unavailable, try again in 15 minutes" or "iPhone Unavailable" with no timer, you can bypass the iPhone unavailable screen with the Find My app. Much like the other methods on this list, this will erase your iPhone’s data.

Step 1: Open the Find My app on another iPhone or iPad.

Step 2: Tap Devices at the bottom of the screen, then select your iPhone.

Step 3: Tap Erase This Device, then tap Continue.

Step 4: Tap Erase.

Step 5: Enter your Apple ID password, then tap Erase again.

After your iPhone is erased, the iPhone Unavailable error will be removed, and you can follow the directions to restore the iPhone with a recent backup.

How to Fix iPhone Unavailable Without Losing Data

If your iphone says iPhone Unavailable and there’s no timer, the only way to fix the problem is to erase everything on your iPhone and return it to factory settings. The good news is that if you have a recent backup — either in iCloud or on your Mac or PC — you can be up and running again in a couple of hours. While your device backup contains all of your important data, it doesn’t include your device passcode, so you can set a new one after restoring it.

Avoiding a iPhone Unavailable message

The best way to get rid of iPhone Unavailable error message is to avoid getting one in the first place. There are a number of strategies you can use to prevent accidental lockouts.

Tip #1: Set a numeric passcode that is easy to remember and that no one else knows or is likely to guess. No mistakes mean no error messages.

Tip #2: Use Touch ID (for iPhones with home buttons, from 5S through iPhone SE 2022) or Face ID (for iPhone X and later and iPad Pro models).

Even with these unlock options, your device still has a passcode — you just don’t need to worry about entering it as often. Instead, just look at your phone screen or tap and hold your finger and your device unlocks.

Keep in mind that biometric security options are about convenience, not security. Anybody can still unlock your iPhone with a standard passcode, and your iPhone will prompt you to enter your passcode once in a while for extra security and to ensure that you don’t forget it. However, since you won’t need to enter it nearly as often, you can choose a more complex passcode or even an alphanumeric password — just be sure it’s something you remember, as you’ll still need to enter it sometimes, and your Face ID and Touch ID won’t help if you’ve forgotten it.

Tip #3: While it’s pretty uncommon for other things touching your screen to result in lockouts, you can avoid this entirely by disabling the "Tap to Wake" and "Raise to Wake" settings that automatically turn on your screen. Here’s how to find these settings:

  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch and switch off Tap or Swipe to wake.
  • Go to Settings > Display & brightness and switch off Raise to wake.

Easily get rid of iPhone unavailable message

Figuring out how to get rid of iPhone unavailable message can be a challenge. Thankfully, Apple enables you to achieve this goal, making it incredibly easy to get your iPhone out of unavailable mode and regain access to your device.

If you can’t complete any of these steps or if you need any other assistance, contact Apple Support.

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By Dave Johnson Senior Staff Writer
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Dave Johnson is a staff writer for GeeksChalk based in New Jersey. He covers news, how-tos, and user guides for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
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