Does your iPhone 13 say “iPhone is disabled, connect to iTunes”? In this article, I’ll explain how to fix this error message and get your iPhone working again.
The dreaded “iPhone is disabled” message will appear if you or someone else enter the wrong passcode on your iPhone 13 more than six times. The more times you try the wrong code, the longer it will delay before you can actually enter the right passcode and once again be at one with your device. Depending on how you set up your iPhone 13, if you enter a wrong passcode 10 times, it will automatically wipe all data. Before the iPhone is completely locked, it displays a number of other error messages. For example: “iPhone is disabled, try again in 1 minute.” Or“iPhone is disabled, try again in 60 minutes”. But if you screw it up again and again, you end up with: “iPhone is disabled, connect to iTunes “.
The warnings with waiting time should not be ignored, because if the last-mentioned error message occurs, the restoration process will override the iTunes or the Finder (from macOS 10.15 Catalina) also delete all data on the mobile phone. Those who backup their iPhone regularly are on the safe side here – but it still remains annoying and time-consuming.
But what exactly do the error messages “iPhone is disabled” mean?
If your iPhone 13 says “iPhone is disabled,” it mean that you have entered the wrong password to unlock your device too many times. Or someone else (have you ever given your kids the iPhone to play with?). To protect you from a possible hacking attempt, the device locks itself for a while.
If a potential thief could just continue guessing passwords – in the worst case even with suitable software that tests far faster than a human would a hack is no longer a problem. With a 4-digit security code, there are only 10,000 possible combinations. It would take a person 4 hours and 6 minutes to try them all out – a computer only takes 6 minutes and 34 seconds.
To rule out this risk, iOS deliberately stops entering the password if it has been incorrectly entered too often beforehand. With up to 5 wrong attempts, everything is still in the green area. If you enter 6 or 7 incorrect entries, you will be penalized with a waiting period. From the tenth incorrect entry, your iPhone will be locked.
Here are the error messages in the overview:
- 5 incorrect password entries: “iPhone is disabled, try again in 1 minute.”
- 6 incorrect password entries: “iPhone is disabled, try again in 5 minutes.”
- 7 incorrect password entries: “iPhone is disabled, try again in 15 minutes.”
- 8 incorrect password entries: “iPhone is disabled, try again in 60 minutes.”
- 9 Incorrect password entries: “iPhone is disabled, connect to iTunes.”
The time delays mentioned above are activated automatically on your iPhone and cannot be switched off or shortened.
The only way to avoid these error messages is to be a little more careful when entering your password. Alternatively, you can switch your iPhone 13 security to Face-ID, or do without a password completely (although we strongly advise against the latter option for security reasons).
If, on the other hand, you need even more protection, it should be said: There is an optional, more stringent security measure that completely deletes the device if someone enters the wrong code 10 times in a row. However, this is only really useful if there is data on your iPhone that must not fall into the wrong hands under any circumstances. If you want to activate the function, go to “Settings> Touch ID & Password” and activate the button next to “Delete data” in the menu at the bottom.
The simplest solution: wait
With up to nine incorrect password attempts, all you have to do is wait. You will find that the message to try again in X minutes will count down. So you can see how long it will be before the next attempt. You can of course make emergency calls at any time during the waiting period.
As soon as the waiting time is up, your iPhone 13 screen will switch back to normal mode and you can try again. But be careful: if you get it wrong again, you will be put on the waiting list again. Once you get to the longest waiting time of 60 minutes, you have only one chance.
If you make another mistake, you can only reactivate your disabled iPhone 13 by connecting it to iTunes (or the Finder in newer macOS versions). So if you are unsure of your password beforehand, it is best to write down all the entries you have made. Unfortunately, iOS also counts identical multiple entries of an (incorrect) password as separate errors. So better not to repeat yourself. If your iPhone 13 can no longer be saved, proceed as follows:
Restore iPhone using iTunes or Finder
If you have only gotten to that point, hope that your last backup was not that long ago. Because even if you can restore your iPhone 13 using iTunes or Finder, this process will erase all data. You have a backup … right ?!
You can choose to restore from a local backup or via iCloud. We’ll look at the option via iTunes or Finder – it’s generally easier.
Connect your disabled iPhone 13 to the Mac or PC it normally syncs with and launches iTunes (or open Finder on macOS 10.15 Catalina or later). If you don’t have a computer that is synced with your iPhone 13, you can either use, maintenance mode or reactivate the device via iCloud. If iTunes asks you for your password when starting up (yes, that’s a pretty stupid situation), you can also use maintenance mode to handle the process.
Wait until your computer tries to synchronize your device. Then click Restore iPhone and follow the instructions on the screen. Once the data is cleared, you will be taken to the setup screen – just as if you were setting up a new device. At this point, you also have the option of restoring a backup.
Use recovery mode
Recovery mode is a more drastic way of reactivating your device and can be worth a try if the above strategy didn’t work. How to put your iPhone in recovery mode:
Connect the USB cable to your computer, but do not connect it to the iPhone
Open the Finder on Macs, new Macs (from MacOS Catalina), or iTunes on Windows and older Macs
Press and hold the volume up button and the power button for 10 seconds until the iPhone switches of.
Continue to hold the volume up button, but release the power button
Connect the USB Dock / Lightning connector to connect iPhone to Mac (keep holding the Volume Up button)
The Finder or iTunes should now display a message that an iPhone has been detected in recovery mode.
If iTunes doesn’t solve the problem
Repairing a disabled iPhone 13 is not always as easy as described above. Some users find that connecting the disabled iPhone 13 to iTunes or the Finder doesn’t do much. If neither restoring via iTunes nor recovery mode had any effect, you may still be able to erase your iPhone 13 with iCloud, which we will explain in the next section.
Restore a disabled iPhone 13 using iCloud
The iPhone can only be reactivated via iCloud if you have set up the “Find my iPhone” function and the deactivated device still has a data connection.
Go to icloud.com on your Mac (or another iPhone or iPad), sign in with your details, and click Find iPhone.
After a short wait, a map will appear showing the location of your devices. Click on All Devices at the top, then select the iPhone that you want to reactivate. Then click “Erase iPhone” to erase all data.