The iPhone has Face ID or Touch ID, but there could be times the passcode is needed, and if it’s forgotten, Apple might lock access if there are too many failed attempts at guessing the correct code. While this might be a scary and frustrating experience, it can be resolved given some time and patience.
Apple has always taken iPhone security seriously since it’s a portable collection of all of the user’s most important contacts, logins, and payment methods. In the past, a lost passcode required a connection to a computer to clear a lockout. In the middle of what might be a terrible experience, the good news is that getting to the factory reset and restoring from a backup is faster and easier than ever.
Apple provides a way to initiate a factory reset of an iPhone if the user has been locked out. If a backup of the iPhone is available on a computer or if it backs up to iCloud, recovering most of the apps and data will be easy, although it does take time. A lockout happens after repeated attempts to unlock with an incorrect passcode. The first message from the iPhone will signal a ‘Security Lockout’ and suggest trying again in 15 minutes. The delay is meant to slow someone trying to hack into the iPhone while the user is away. Repeated attempts will eventually show the ‘Erase iPhone’ option in the lower right corner. This isn’t a way for a thief to bypass the passcode since Apple requests the user login with their Apple ID before erasing the iPhone, restoring it to factory settings and clearing data. Afterward, the iPhone can be set up as new with a new passcode, and data can be restored from a backup.
Other iPhone Unlocking Options
If the steps above don’t work, such as having no internet connection or using an older version of iOS, a factory reset is still possible but requires a computer. While all recent iPhone models come with either Touch ID or Face ID, some users might choose to skip the biometric authentication option, using the passcode instead. Or it might not be possible due to some unforeseen circumstances, such as damage to the fingerprint sensor or the TrueDepth camera system. Of course, bandages will also block biometric scans, requiring the passcode’s fallback.
Passcodes are typically 6-digit numbers, but Apple provides options for shorter 4-digit codes, as well as more extended codes that can include both letters and numbers. Even with Face ID or Touch ID working, there are times when the passcode is necessary, so it’s imperative to pick a memorable code yet not easy to guess. Ideally, passcodes shouldn’t be written down, but if forgetting is a common issue, writing it down and storing it in a safe location could help prevent the need to factory reset the iPhone after a lockout.
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