How to Fix iPhone Is Disabled With and Without Connecting to iTunes

Have you ever encountered a message on your iPhone saying that the iPhone is disabled and to try again in 2, 20, or 60 minutes? You can even encounter the phone saying that you need to connect to iTunes, and since then the phone is unusable.

The reasons for the problem are usually simple and can be fixed. Let us now see what causes it and how can it be fixed.

Why does the message appear?

For security reasons, a passcode or Touch ID is required to unlock an iPhone that is locked. When the passcode or Touch ID entered is wrong for more than four times, then the iPhone locks itself, and the message appears on the phone. The obvious way out could be for you to wait out whatever time the message indicates, and then type in the correct passcode.

The number of tries and lock minutes goes like this:

  • 5 wrong attempts in a row: Disabled for 1 minute
  • 7 wrong attempts in a row: Disabled for 5 minutes
  • 8 wrong attempts in a row: Disabled for 15 minutes
  • 9 wrong attempts in a row: Disabled for 60 minutes
  • 10 wrong attempts in a row: Disabled until connected to iTunes ( all the data can be wiped out if the self destruct mode is turned on)

Waiting out several minutes is not too bad, but waiting for an hour is not the best way out of the situation.

Why does the message appear even when you did not try to unlock the iPhone?

There are times when you did not do anything, but the phone still shows the message. So what triggered this? The most common two reasons are:

  1. Pocket Disable

Keeping an iPhone in a pocket can trigger the message surprisingly easily. It can happen in the back jeans pocket, hoodie pouch, or even the front jeans pockets. The iPhone screen swipe to unlock the phone can be touched from anywhere on the screen, so it is reasonably simple to swipe it unintentionally. You can try to keep the phone in a non-busy pocket, or even in your hands.

  • Person Disable

This could be of two types: Intentional and Unintentional. Intentional swipe could be your friend trying to guess your passcode, or a person trying to do it for the wrong reasons.

Unintentional swipe could be triggered by a pet or a child in the house. Kids usually like to play with these kinds of feature, and it can trigger the message.


You can either wait for the time to pass, or you would have to boot your device into recovery mode and reset it. These are the only two options for you.

Wait Patiently

Leave your phone untouched for the given time. After the passage of time, say an hour, enter the correct password and use it.

Connect to iTunes

In this case, you need to connect the device to a PC for gaining access. The steps are:

  1. Connect to a PC and launch iTunes
  2. Sync and enter the correct passcode when asked
  3. Choose Restore, and the phone will be restored to the most recent backup.

If you do not know the passcode, then you have to wipe your phone clean using recovery mode. If you have made a backup on iCloud or iTunes, then you can backup the data from there.

Try not to mess with the passcodes and keep the phone away from kids in the future to avoid such adversaries.

Ava Williams is a McAfee product expert and has been working in the technology industry since 2002. As a technical expert, Ava has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as

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