How to Fix a Disabled iPad

Getting a disabled iPad to work again

Tablet in womans hands
Westend61 / Getty Images

If your iPad is stolen and someone tries to hack the code, your iPad will disable itself after too many incorrect passcode attempts, a security feature on the iPad that safeguards your privacy.

How Long Will It Be Disabled?

iPad is disabled message on iPad screen

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.

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

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

How to Get a Disabled iPad Working Again

If your iPad has become permanently disabled, your only choice will be to reset it to its factory default state. This procedure 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 remotely, and while the iPad isn't actually lost or stolen, this method resets it without resorting to iTunes. Here's how:

  1. Log in to your iCloud account at www.icloud.com.

    Apple ID on Sign in to iCloud page
  2. Click Find My iPhone.

    Find iPhone on iCloud.com
  3. Choose your iPad.

  4. Click the Erase iPad link.

    Erase iPad button in Find my iPhone on iCloud.com

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. Connect your iPad to the PC using the cable that came with the iPad and launch iTunes. This connection should start the sync process.

Let this process 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 important. Not only will it be an iPad-saver if you ever lose your device or if the tablet is ever stolen, but 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.

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