How to Reset Forgotten Restrictions Passcode on iPhone & iPad

By Lois Green, Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Restrictions, also known as parental controls, allows you to use a 4-digit passcode to block or restrict specific apps and features on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, including YouTube and contents from your Music, Podcasts, and iBooks, etc. This is a nice feature for you to restrict your children play games or open other apps on your iPhone/iPad.

By default, Restrictions is disabled. But if you want to block apps or contents on your iPhone, you can add Restrictions passcode in Settings > General > Restrictions. When you forgot Restrictions passcode on iPhone, you are unable to access certain apps. Here we show you how to reset Restrictions passcode on your iPhone X/8/8 Plus/7/7 Plus/6s/6/5s/4s and iPad with or without restore

Reset Restrictions Passcode on iPhone

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Part 1: Reset Restrictions Passcode on iPhone without Restore

Normally, when you forget Restrictions passcode, you need to restore iPhone to remove the passcode. But restoring iPhone means that you have to erase everything on the phone and if you don't have an iCloud/iTunes backup before the Restrictions passcode is set up, you could lose all your iPhone data. To reset Restrictions passcode without restore, there are two tricks that you can try.

iPhone/iPad Default Restrictions Passcode

If you don't remember that you have set up a Restriction passcode and your iPhone just ask you to enter Restriction passcode after an iOS update, you can try to enter the default Restrictions passcode: 1234.

Enter Restrictions Passcode

Recover iPhone/iPad Restriction Passcode

If you have backed up iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch to iTunes on computer, you can try to recover the passcode from iTunes backup and then unlock Restrictions.

  • On your Mac, go to Library > Application Support > App Store and find a file named "adoption.plist".

  • Select the .plist file, hold Control key, select open with "Text edit".

  • View and find  a line of code like this: <interger>XXXX</interger>. The numbers are your Restriction code.

If you have backed up iPhone to iTunes on a PC, you can local iTunes backup: \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\. Then find the "adoption.plist" file. However, you need to download a plist file opener to view the file.

Part 2: Reset/Change Restrictions Passcode on iPhone/iPad with iTunes

If you are unable to reset or remove Restrictions passcode without restore, your only option is to factory reset iPhone/iPad with iTunes and then set it up as new. Since a factory reset will delete all data on your device, you need to back up your device before restoring it with iTunes. 

However, an iCloud or iTunes backup includes Restrictions passcode so if you recover data from iCloud/iTunes backup, you'll restore the Restrictions passcode as well. Therefore, you need another way back up iPhone/iPad.

FonePaw iOS Data Backup & Restore is a program that can back up photos, contacts, messages, music, etc. on iPhone/iPad to PC. Its backup doesn't include passcodes on your device so that you can restore the backup to iPhone after the restore.

Step 1 Download and launch iOS Data Backup & Restore on PC and choose iOS Data Backup & Restore. Connect iPhone to the program via USB connection and click iOS Data Backup to create a backup of your iPhone.

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iOS Data Backup & Restore

Step 2 Then launch iTunes on your computer. 

Step 3 Click your iPhone icon when it appears in iTunes.

Step 4 In the Summary panel, click "Restore iPhone".

Restore iPhone

Step 5 After your device restores to factory settings, it restarts and the Restrictions is unlocked.  Now you can launch iOS Data Backup & Restore and choose iOS Data Restore to get back your data to iPhone. 

Step 6 Then you can reset Restriction passcode on iPhone/iPad. But make sure that you remember the passcode this time.


IMPORTANT NOTE: When you see a welcome screen on your iPhone, select "Set Up as New iPhone" when promoted. If you choose to "Restore from iTunes Backup" or "Restore from iCloud Backup", you will simply restore your restrictions password as well.

Restore iPhone as New

Part 3: Reset Restrictions Passcode on iPhone/iPad without Computer

You can also restore iPhone and remove forgotten Restriction passcode without computer.

Note: To avoid data loss, it is highly recommended that you backed up iPhone to PC with iOS Data Backup & Restore before restoring the device.

Step 1 On your iPhone/iPad, open Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. 

Erase Everything on iPhone

Step 2 This will erase everything on your device, including the Restrictions passcode. After that, the iPhone will reboot.

Step 3 If you need it, you can reset Restrictions passcode now.

You can also download Find My iPhone on your iOS devices and choose "Erase iPhone" to reset Restrictions passcode on iPhone/iPad.

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