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iPad Troubleshooting & Repair Q&A - Revised December 7, 2011

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How can I unlock my iPad if I forgot the passcode?

Apple explains how to unlock the iPad if you no longer remember the passcode or password in the manual for each device (on pages 44 and 146 of the original iPad manual to be precise) as well as on the company support site. However, as this is a very frequently asked question, the answer also is provided below for your convenience.

About iPad Passcodes

The exact function of the iPad depends on how it is configured when the passcode is forgotten. By default, there is not a passcode at all. Presumably, though, you wouldn't be reading this question if you hadn't set a passcode!

Regarding forgotten passcodes, Apple notes:

If you repeatedly enter the wrong passcode, your iPad will be disabled for longer intervals before you can try again. After too many unsuccessful attempts, you won't be able to try again until you connect it to the computer with which you last synced it.
Note: You can configure your device to erase itself after ten consecutive incorrect password attempts. This setting is off by default. It can be turned on by tapping Settings > General > Passcode Lock.
If you cannot remember the passcode, you will need to restore your device using the computer with which you last synced it. This allows you to reset your passcode and resync the data from the device (or restore from a backup). If you restore on a different computer that was never synced with the device, you will be able to unlock the device for use and remove the passcode, but your data will not be present.

How to Unlock an iPad with a Passcode

The only way to unlock an iPad with a passcode, other than entering the passcode, is to "restore" it to its original factory settings.

To restore your iPad -- which deletes all of your data (songs, photos, videos, apps, and so on) on the iPad use the following directions. Be absolutely sure that you have backed up the content on your iPad before restoring it.

Apple's official instructions to restore an iPad are:

1. Connect iPad to your computer.
2. Select iPad in the iTunes sidebar, then click the Summary tab.
3. Click “Check for Update.” iTunes tells you if there’s a newer version of the iPad software available.
4. Click Restore. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the restore process. When restoring, it is recommended that you back up iPad when prompted. When the iPad software has been restored, you can choose to set up iPad as a new iPad, or restore your music, videos, app data, and other content from a backup.

Please additionally note that Apple staff also cannot unlock an iPad for you without restoring the iPad, which will erase everything on it.


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