Restrictions on iPhone or iPad prevent a user from making many changes to the devices settings and allow the disabling of various iOS features, including some apps, functionalities, to disallow certain content types, and the ability to prevent making in-app purchases or buying from the App Store. Restrictions are very commonly used by parents to make a kid friendly iPhone or iPad, and iOS restrictions are also frequently used in academic and public environments to limit a device in various ways.
Restrictions are an excellent feature of iOS, but what happens if you forget the Restrictions password in iOS? Can you reset a forgotten Restrictions passcode on iPhone or iPad? How do you remove a Restrictions passcode if you don’t know the password? These are all valid questions, be sure to read thoroughly below to learn how to work with the scenario of a lost restrictions password.
First, remember that the iOS Restrictions passcode is separate and different from the general iOS device passcode that locks down the screen. Sometimes users may set the Restrictions passcode to be the same as the lock screen passcode, and if you have forgotten a restrictions passcode it’s a good place to start.
It is highly recommended to attempt to recall or obtain the set Restrictions passcode. Ask family member(s), systems administrators, or anyone else who may know. If you can’t come up with the password, the device must be erased.
How to Reset Restrictions Passcode on iPhone and iPad
In order to reset a restrictions passcode on iPhone or iPad you must reset the entire iPhone or iPad to factory settings and set it up as new, meaning it will wipe and erase everything on the device. All content, pictures, movies, notes, contacts, everything will be removed with the restrictions passcode.
Back up the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch before beginning. It is highly recommended to backup the device to both iTunes and iCloud.
Keep in mind this will format and erase the device in order to remove the Restrictions passcode, meaning all data on the device will be lost.
- Back up the iPhone or iPad first, do not skip backing up or you will lose all data, pictures, contacts, everything
- Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone or iPad, then go to “General”
- Scroll down to choose “Reset”
- Choose “Reset All Content and Settings” – this will erase everything on the iPhone or iPad completely, all pictures, movies, contacts, notes, apps, everything will be lost in order to remove the restrictions passcode
- Confirm that you wish to erase everything on the device
The iPhone or iPad will reset and erase everything, including the Restrictions passcode.
When the device starts up again, you must set it up as new.
This is obviously rather dramatic, which is perhaps why it’s not recommended for all but the most dire of situations where removing a Restrictions passcode is necessary and critical, and after the user has adequately backed up all data, pictures, notes, and other important information from a device.
Keep in mind if you restore a backup made with the prior Restrictions passcode, you will be restoring the same Restrictions password back to the device. This is why you must set the device up as new, and you should have manually backed up data from the device. The iTunes and iCloud backups are made to be sure you don’t lose any data, since you can restore to them and copy data off before committing the device erasure.
How to Reset a Restrictions Passcode without iPhone / iPad Restore?
There is a sometimes referenced and fairly complicated method which attempts to reveal and crack the Restrictions passcode by using third party software on an unencrypted iTunes backup of an iOS device, you may find it elsewhere on the web but it often involves downloading dubious third party software which is not recommended for security reasons. We do not recommend using this approach for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that is limited and rarely works.
If you are a highly technical user who understands how to install software in the terminal, mitigate risk, and understands and accepts all of the risks associated with attempting to crack a passcode, and you are still committed to trying such a method, you can find fairly advanced instructions here to attempt it yourself. Another advanced approach is discussed here. These are not recommended, and may not work. Be sure to backup your device (and your computer) before doing so.
Is there any other way to reset a lost Restrictions passcode in iOS?
You can also erase and setup as new an iPhone or iPad with iTunes. That will also remove and reset the Restrictions passcode.
You could attempt to contact Apple Support, but most likely they will not be able to assist beyond erasing the device as there is no known way to bypass a restrictions passcode in iOS. This is implemented for broader security reasons. Thus, absent the ability to remember the restrictions passcode or crack it, you must erase the iOS device to get around the forgotten restrictions passcode.
While educated guesses are OK (as in, “it could be x, y, or z”), guessing wildly is not a particularly good idea. Attempting to continuously guess the Restrictions passcode will eventually lock down Restrictions passcode entry entry entirely, similar to the “iPhone is disabled” message which requires either waiting a while to resume password entry, or a connection to iTunes to remedy.
Why do Restrictions on iOS exist at all?
Restrictions are a very popular feature for parents, educators, and systems administrators. You can think of Restrictions essentially as Parental Controls for iOS and they allow for a myriad of abilities to lock down a device or make it more friendly to certain user groups, with abilities to stop app access, blocking adult content in Safari, disable the iPhone camera completely, disable in-app purchases, and much more.
Do you know of another way to reset a Restrictions passcode on iPhone or iPad? Share it with us in the comments below!