How to recover passcode-disabled ipod without restore?
January 5, 2015 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Child Bac appears to have mis-entered her passcode on her 5th-generation iPod touch enough times to cause it to disable itself. It does not appear that the iPod has ever been synced with iTunes or backed up to iCloud. Is there no way to regain access to the device without a full system restore and loss of data? Really? Anybody who can touch a locked iPod for ten seconds can carry out a denial of service attack against it? Surely I'm missing something.
posted by bac to Technology (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry, I know this isn't the most helpful answer but I had the same problem a couple of years ago and maybe someone more tech savvy will recognise what I am talking about and name names. I googled and found some thing I could download. It was free. It made everything in my phone appear on my laptop. Everything. Then I went through a few folders and there was some bit I had to find and in a particular line of code, I could change the passcode. I did that then deleted the app because it freaked me out. Everything was accessible; deleted text messages, all my journal entries from my locked journal app, all there...
posted by Hillsbillie at 9:53 PM on January 5, 2015

Here's the app Hillsbillie is probably talking about; it's called iOS Data Recovery for iPod. There's a tutorial that will walk you through the steps. This is not an endorsement, I've no experience with it, but the comments below the tutorial are all positive. Good luck!
posted by LuckySeven~ at 10:44 PM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

bac: “Really? Anybody who can touch a locked iPod for ten seconds can carry out a denial of service attack against it? Surely I'm missing something.”

If it helps – no, what you're describing isn't standard behavior. If you enter the wrong passcode six times, you should get this message (or a similar one) informing you that your device is disabled and advising you to try again in 1 minute. An iPod Touch should not go into forever lockout mode just because you enter the wrong passcode a few times.

What makes you think the iPod Touch disabled itself? Did Child Bac describe the screen I mentioned above? If she saw this screen, it ought to have disappeared after a minute, and she ought to have been given a chance to enter her passcode then.

The general question here is: what is the iPod Touch doing?

Is it giving you an "iPod Touch Disabled" message? If the message is anything like the one above, it should have gone away by now; if not, tell us what it is.

If you're getting no message – it's just dead, silent – then my first assumption would be that the battery is probably dead. Maybe she saw the lockout shortly before the battery died, and assumed that that meant it was locked forever. That's one thing to hope for – plug it in and charge it up, and you might be able to unlock it.

There are very rare situations where an iPod Touch will actually break in a way that locks it in "Recovery Mode" or something like that. I feel like you have to do some weird stuff to get it there, but it might be something that just ended up happening. If this is the case, I would go with the solution described above by Hillsbillie and LuckySeven.

But that is a last resort. What you're describing is not normal behavior for an iPod Touch – particularly the latest model – so you should try all other options first. You might consider bringing it to an Apple store, too.
posted by koeselitz at 11:25 PM on January 5, 2015

There is this old glitch that would cause an ipod to be disabled for 21 million+ minutes.

are you getting a ridiculous message like that?
posted by emptythought at 12:57 AM on January 6, 2015

Is there a message saying that it's permanently disabled, or is it just not responding at all? If the latter, are you sure the battery didn't die?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:34 AM on January 6, 2015

Response by poster: The device is powered and continues to display "iPod is disabled/connect to iTunes". Googling that phrase suggested that it's a common result of too many passcode attempts, but maybe there's another reason it happens. I'll try the app; thanks!
posted by bac at 7:06 AM on January 6, 2015

Wait, have you connected to iTunes yet? What does it say?
(It will ask for confirmation before erasing data, I think.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:52 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Okay. But before you try a recovery app – which is both a lot of work and sort of a drastic step – there are two other steps you probably ought to try:

(1) Try a hard reset. You can hard-reset the device by holding down the home button and the sleep button at the same time. After about ten or twenty seconds, the Apple logo should appear, and you can release the buttons. When it restarts, you might be able to get in.

(2) Connect it to iTunes by plugging it into a computer, as RedOrGreen suggests. I think maybe you've tried this, since you say it's never been synced with iTunes. You should be able to force the iPod to connect to iTunes by doing a hard reset as described above but not letting go of the Home button until the computer recognizes the iPod.
posted by koeselitz at 9:07 AM on January 6, 2015

Response by poster: When I connect to iTunes in the normal way, iTunes says it can't connect to the device until I enter a passcode, which I can't do because the device is in recovery mode. When I do a hard reset and then connect as koselitz suggests, iTunes says it needs to do a restore.
posted by bac at 9:13 AM on January 6, 2015

Yeah, sounds like the recovery program suggested by LuckySeven~ is your best option, then. Sorry.
posted by koeselitz at 11:34 AM on January 6, 2015

If it's in recovery mode, it's not that the passcode was entered wrong too many times. It's very likely that something has gone wrong with the OS. You can try to extract data using the apps mentioned above, but you're probably looking at a corrupted OS and what could be corrupted files even if you can recover them.

Chances are, your kid didn't do that to it (unless they were trying to jailbreak it or something).
posted by sleeping bear at 9:41 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Actually, based on my recent experience with an over-zealous kid entering the wrong password too many times, it does eventually go into full lock-out mode as the OP describes. The couple of times it has happened, I’ve done the full hard reset.
posted by SomePerlGeek at 10:42 AM on January 7, 2015

Response by poster: Just to wind this up -- the data recovery app wasn't successful. I wound up doing a full restore.
posted by bac at 1:40 PM on February 5, 2015

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