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How to Reset an Unavailable iPad you've forgotten passcode to

Learn the four approaches to reset the iPad when you forgot the passcode. After the reset, iPad Unavailable screen gets unlocked, giving you access to the tablet.

Elena Spencer Updated on Aug 12, 2023 2:21 PM
  • An unavailable iPad is caused by too many attempts to log in with the wrong passcode. Apple offers no option to bypass the passcode but to erase and reset the iPad.
  • Using Erase iPad option beneath the iPad Unavailable message, you can reset your locked iPad to factory settings, and then restore apps and data from a previous backup.
  • You can try restoring the iPad to factory defaults with iTunes or Finder by entering recovery mode, or erasing all data via Find My using your Apple ID and password.
  • iPad Unlocker - a useful third-party passcode unlocking program, is able to factory reset unavailable iPad to erase the lock screen so you can open it again.

It's possible to reset iPad when locked out, even you don't have access to a computer. Everything will be erased.

Erasing all data on an iPad and restoring it to its factory settings is supposed to easy to do with Erase All Content and Settings within Settings app - provided you remember or exactly know what your passcode is.

The iPad Unavailable alert hits many of users eventually. If you forgot the passcode, or you put incorrect passcodes in multiple times to get locked out, you should find yourself running into problem with factory resetting because you've been losing access to iPad.

But don't worry — you're not alone! With some right tools, you're able to reset the unavailable iPad without passcode and erasing all data and settings, all of which require little to no skill. You can use Erase iPad on the unavailable lock screen, iTunes, iPad Unlocker, or Find My to return iPad to factory settings. Just like the standard reset route, all data will be deleted from iPad including the passcode that prevents you from getting into the tablet.

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My iPad says iPad Unavailable. What can I do? - Reset it!

When the usual background of login turns dark and reads "iPad Unavailable" or "Security Lockout" with no amount of time, you have no alternative other than to factory reset it.

Tapping on Erase iPad (if you see it at the corner) requires a data wipe with the alert meaning that iPad is locked out permanently and stops accepting any passcode guess to try at unlocking it. The screenshot of this extreme case:

Erasing the unavailable iPad and restoring it to factory settings can recover the tablet.

Continue to tap the Erase iPad should you wipe it totally clean - you'll lose what's on it.

Instead, if you got the massage iPad Unavailable/ Security Lockout try again in X minutes, you just can't log in the tablet for some period of time. After the time limit is gone, you could try to use your passcode again if you remember it. The time delay varies from 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes or 1 hour.

However, the chances are that you can't remember your passcode. Therefore, the sequence necessary for the "iPad Unavailable" message is the same as the forgotten passcode: Reset the device and erase both the unavailable screen and the lock code.

4 best ways to reset an iPad that delivers iPad Unavailable message

Related to the incorrect passcode attempts, charging, iOS update through iTunes, a recovery, or a restore, you should be felt a wave of frustration of your iPad becoming unavailable. Whatever the reason, follow these passcode-reset techniques to unlock iPad with or without computer, set it up from the scratch or optionally restore from a recent backup (if you have one, of course.)

How to reset iPad with Erase iPad option in iPadOS 15.2 or later

Either "iPad Unavailable" or "Security Lockout" is the updated word for iPadOS 15.2, which is used to say "iPad is disabled connect to iTunes." Accordingly, Apple added a way to erase the device without iTunes in 15.2 as well, identify as an option of "Erase iPad" on the unavailable screen.

To make the Erase iPad available for a factory reset, you'll need to be connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network and as a security measure, you'll need your Apple ID password. Here's how:

1. Be sure that your iPad screen shows Erase iPad option at the bottom when it's unavailable for 15 minutes or longer. If not, enter the wrong passcode continuously until you see it.

2. Tapping on Erase iPad option takes you to the Erase All Content & Settings screen. It informs you that it's going to be a reset on the device. Tap Erase iPad again.

3. Input your password of the associated Apple ID to clear an Activation Lock.

4. iPad is resetting itself. The whole process will take a few minutes and it ends once you see the welcome screen.

At this point, all the information has been wiped away. iPad is not saying iPad Unavailable any more after the reset process. You're good to restore from a backup, or set up iPad as new.

iPad runs a reset instantly when there's Wi-Fi on the iPad Unavailable screen. You no longer need a computer.

Read Also: How to get photos and other data from a locked iPhone (or iPad)

Reset iPad to factory setting using iTunes or Finder

If the described iPad unavailable fix does not work for you - maybe it shouldn't be the case of running iPadOS 15.25 or higher, or there's no Erase iPad option to rese it, or this device won't connect online, you need a computer with iTunes installed (or if You have a Mac that doesn't use iTunes, use finder instead.)

This can be fixed if you hard reset iPad and remove the lock screen in a Recovery Mode:

Step 1: Connect iPad to iTunes or Finder

Open iTunes or Finder. Then plug iPad into your computer via the original USB cable.

Step 2: Boot into recovery mode

Recovery mode will wake up the locked iPad and allow iTunes or Finder access it, making the factory reset possible. Depending on which iPad model you have, you need to use specific gestures to get into recovery mode.

  • iPad with Face ID: Press and release volume up button, press and release volume down button, then press and hold the top button until the screen shows recovery mode symbol.
  • iPad with Touch ID in the top button (volume buttons at the top): quickly press and release the volume button closest to the top button, quickly press and release the farthest volume button, and then press and hold the top button.
  • iPad with Home button: Press and hold both home and top button for around 20 seconds. When a lightning cable and a laptop appears, release the buttons.

Step 3: Wipe locked iPad to factory settings without passcode

With iPad getting into recovery mode, iTunes or Finder should see your tablet. A dialog box pops up, giving you ability to Update or Restore iPad. Click Restore to erasing all of data on iPad and restore it to factory settings, with the unavailable mode removed.

You can't get into an iPad that is stuck on unavailable screen before doing a reset by connecting to computer.

Now you can access iPad without passcode. Set it up and restore data from a backup through iTunes or Finder, or download data from iCloud.

Erase unavailable problem by resetting via iPad Unlocker

What if your device won't connect to cellular or Wi-Fi network, or you don't have iTunes or computer?

iPad Unlocker might be a life saver. It's exactly what it sounds like: unlocking iPad passcode you've forgotten and clear the lock screen stating it's Unavailable, Security Lockout or Disabled. It's going to get the iPad unlocked by completely restoring iPad and erase it without passcode and your Apple ID credentials.

You have to put up with the fact that your data and settings as well as any password, iCloud will be GONE after resetting. You can restore your content from backup. If you didn't back up your iPad, all of your data is irretrievable.

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for Windows | for MacOS

Follow these steps to wipe iPad unavailable message and get it working again:

  • Open iPad Unlocker on your PC or Mac. Click 'Wipe Passcode' panel followed by Start button.
  • Connect your iPad to computer. If it's not recognized, follow the on-screen instructions to place it into recovery mode. Then check your device details and hit Start button.
  • The software is downloading the firmware mostly matched your iPad. This is one of the necessary parts of the resetting process so as to unlock the iPad.
  • Once downloaded, enter "0000" as prompted to remove the unavailable screen from iPad's Lock Screen and give the tablet a fresh start.
  • When you've performed all the steps, wait for a few minutes and your iPad will boot up completely to the iPadOS Hello screen. Follow the hints to set up iPad like when you first purchase it and if necessary, restore it from a backup. You'll need your Apple ID and password when doing the setup process after restore.

Video Guide:

Factory reset iPad without passcode via Find My

A remote wipe of data using iCloud is available to the user with the Apple ID and password, if they're inclined to unlock iPad that is locked with iPad Unavailable alert or Security Lockout message.

Begin by going to iCloud Find My website, and signing into your iCloud account with Apple ID and password. Once logged in, locate your iPad that is locked and requires an erasure from the All Devices menu at the top, and then click on it.

When prompted, press Erase iPad, followed by Erase to confirm. Immediately, that unavailable screen disappears; the screen shows the Apple logo and progress bar telling you the completion progress of the reset on iPad.

Here're something you need to know about resetting through iCloud:

  • You will lose all the data on your iPad. You will get an empty device unless you have a backup available.
  • Find My won't erase your iPad if the tablet is offline or has no internet connection.
  • iCloud doesn't recognize your disabled iPad if Find My iPad feature hasn't been turned on in Settings before it becomes unavailable due to the passcode lock.
  • You will need your Apple ID details before the reset.

How to wipe iPad clean from Settings

If you are able to open your iPad, you can erase all content and settings and return it to its factory conditions:

  • Open Settings app.
  • Tap General > Transfer or Reset iPad.
  • To erase all your data, tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
  • In the "Erase This iPad" screen, tap Continue.
  • Enter your lock screen passcode to restore iPad to factory settings.

iPad will take several minutes to erase everything including Apps and data on it. App Store, Apple ID and Activation Lock would be signed out automatically as part of the reset process with iPadOS 15.

Keep it plugged into a power source. When that's done, the iPad reboots, giving you the Hello screen as when you took it out of the box.

FAQ: Is there a way on resetting without losing any data? Apparently the iPad hasn't done any backup before it appears to be unavailable.

Once iPad gets unavailable, there's no content to recover. It makes no sense without doing a factory restore.

Unfortunately, if there hasn't been backup made for the iPad, you can only start over and use the device as a new iPad - This is one reason you should always keep a backup and save your important information somewhere.

At least, your unavailable iPad is unlocked now, getting you log on it without entering passcode on the login screen. To be secured, you'd better create a new password and set up an additional appearance for Face ID or Touch ID.

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