How to Fix My Disabled iPad

Getting a disabled iPad to work again

Screenshot of a disabled iPad

If your iPad is stolen and someone tries to hack the code, your iPad will disable itself to keep further attempts from happening. But what if you were the one who accidentally disabled it?  An iPad will disable itself after too many passcode attempts, a security feature on the iPad that can be both useful and frustrating. Fortunately, you can get it working again. 

How Long Will It Be Disabled?

The iPad will initially be disabled for a minute. If you again type in a wrong passcode, it will become disabled for five minutes. If you continue entering the wrong passcode, the iPad will eventually disable itself completely. But don't worry, there are a few things we can do to get the iPad working again.

My iPad Is Disabled and I Didn't Type in a Wrong Passcode

If your iPad is disabled, someone typed in the wrong passcode enough to disable it. If you have a toddler, or even an older kid, they may have typed in the wrong passcode without realizing what might happen to the iPad. Usually, this just results in one of the temporary disables, but with enough persistence, even a toddler can lock an iPad completely. You might want to childproof your iPad if you have children.  

If you have a passcode setup on your iPad and enter the wrong passcode too many times, the iPad will become disabled, locking you out of it. After a few missed attempts, the iPad will disable itself temporarily, asking you to try again after a minute. But if you continue to type in the wrong passcode, the iPad can disable itself permanently.

How to Get a Disabled iPad Working Again

If your iPad has become permanently disabled, your only choice will be to reset it back to its factory default state. This is the state it was in when you first got it. This may seem like punishment, but it is actually for your own protection. If someone stole your iPad and tried to unlock it, the iPad would become permanently disabled, thus keeping the person from getting access to your iPad's data.

If you set up Find My iPad, the easiest way to reset the iPad is through iCloud. The Find My iPad feature contains a way to reset the iPad from remote, and while the iPad isn't actually lost or stolen, this method can be used to reset it without resorting to iTunes. Here's how:

Screenshots showing how to fix a disabled iPad
  1. Log in to your iCloud account at
  2. Click Find My iPhone.
  3. Choose your iPad.
  4. Click the Erase iPad link.

If you haven't set up Find My iPad, the next best option is to restore it from the same computer you used to set it up or you use to sync the iPad to iTunes.

You do this by connecting your iPad to the PC using the cable that came with the iPad and launching iTunes. This should start the sync process.

Let this finish so that you have a backup of all of the stuff on your iPad; then choose to restore the iPad 

What If I Didn't Sync My iPad With My PC?

The Find My iPad feature is very important. Not only will it be an iPad-saver if you ever lose your device or if the tablet is ever stolen, it can also provide an easy way to reset the iPad.

If you haven't set it up and have never set your iPad up with your PC, you can still unlock it by going through the iPad's Recovery Mode. This is a bit more involved process than a normal restore.  

Remember: After you restore your iPad, make sure Find My iPad is turned on in case you have any problems in the future.