How to Fix: I Forgot My iPad's Password

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How to Recover or Reset Your iPad's Password

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Getty Images / Mauro Grigollo

We live in a password world. Whats worse, we live in a world where we are supposed to keep a lot of different passwords for different devices and websites. That makes it pretty easy to forget one. But if you've forgotten your iPad's password, don't panic. We'll go through a few steps on how to recover a forgotten password.

Step One: Let's find out which password you forgot.

There are two passwords associated with an iPad. The first is the password to your Apple ID. This is the account you use when you are purchasing apps, music, movies, etc. on your iPad. The second password is the one your iPad may ask for when you "wake" it up. This password is commonly referred to as a "passcode" and usually contains four numbers.

If your iPad is asking for your passcode, click here to skip to those instructions. The passcode is different than the password for an Apple ID, and as such, there are different directions for recovering a forgotten passcode.

Step Two: Did you recently reset your iPad?

If you recently reset your iPad to factory default, which puts it in a 'like new' state, the process for setting up the iPad can sometimes be confusing. One step in this process is to input the email address and password for the Apple ID associated with the iPad.

This is the same email address and password used for downloading apps and buying music on the iPad. So if you can remember the password you put in when downloading an app, you can try that same password to see if it works.

Step Three: Recovering a Forgotten Password

If you haven't downloaded an app in a while, it can be easy to forget your Apple ID's password. Especially considering how many passwords we must remember these days. Apple has a website set up for managing the Apple ID account, and this website can help with forgotten passwords.

  • First, go to appleid.apple.com.
  • Next, click on "Reset Your Password" on the right side of the screen just under the "Manage Your Apple ID" button.
  • Enter the email address associated with your Apple ID
  • This will take you to a web page that will allow you to recover your password by answering one of your security questions or reset your passwords via an email sent to the email address provided.

And that's it! You should be able to use the recovered or reset password to sign into your iPad.

How to Become the Boss of Your iPad

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Forgot Your iPad Passcode? Here's What to Do...

If you have been wracking your brain for days trying to remember the passcode to your iPad, don't fret. There are several ways to deal with a forgotten passcode, but be aware, they all involve resetting the iPad to factory default settings. This means you will need to restore your iPad from a backup, so you'll want to make sure you really and truly have forgotten the passcode before proceeding.

The Easy Option

The easiest way to deal with a passcode that escapes your memory is to use iCloud to reset your iPad. The Find My iPad feature has the ability to reset your iPad remotely. This would normally be used if you want to make sure anyone who finds (or who stole) your iPad won't be able to get at any personal information, but a side benefit is that you can easily wipe your iPad without using your iPad. Of course, you'll need to have Find My iPad turned on for this to work. (Don't know if you turned it on? Follow the instructions to see if your device shows up on the list.)

  1. Go to www.icloud.com in a web browser.
  2. Sign into iCloud when prompted.
  3. Click on "Find My iPhone".
  4. When the map comes up, click "All Devices" at the top and choose your iPad from the list.
  5. When the iPad is selected, a window appears in the top-left corner of the map. This window has three buttons: Play Sound, Lost Mode (which locks the iPad down) and Erase iPad.
  6. Verify that the device name just above these buttons is in fact your iPad. You don't want to erase your iPhone by mistake!
  7. Tap the Erase iPad button and follow the directions. It'll as you to re-verify your choice. Once done, your iPad will begin resetting.

Note: Your iPad will need to be charged and connected to the Internet for this to work, so it is a good idea to simply plug it in while it is resetting.

The Almost-As-Easy Option

If you have ever synced your iPad to iTunes on your PC, whether to transfer music and movies to it or simply back the device up on your computer, you can restore it using the PC. However, you must have "trusted" that computer sometime in the past, so if you've never hooked up your iPad to your PC, this option won't work.

To restore via the PC, hook your iPad into the PC you normally use to sync and boot up iTunes. The first thing that will happen is iTunes will sync with the iPad. Wait until this process finishes, tap your device from the "Devices" section of the left-side menu and click the Restore button.

You can get detailed instructions on restoring using a PC here.

The Not-So-Easy Option

Even if you haven't turned on Find My iPad and you've never plugged your iPad into your PC, you can reset the iPad by going into recovery mode. However, you will need to plug it into a PC with iTunes. If you don't have a PC with iTunes, you can download it from Apple, and if you don't have a PC at all, you can always use a friend's computer.

Here's the trick:

  1. Connect the Lightning-to-USB cable to your PC. This is the same cable you use to charge your iPad. (If you have an older iPad, it will be a 30-pin-to-USB cable.) Only plug it into your PC. Leave your iPad unplugged for now.
  2. Turn of your iPad. You can do this by holding down the Sleep/Wake button at the top of the iPad until a red slider appears and then move the slider to power down the iPad.
  3. Hold down the Home button. This is the button at the bottom of the iPad, just below the display.
  4. While holding down the home button, connect the cable to your iPad.

This will put the iPad into recovery mode and you can restore it to factory default by following the same instructions as above.

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