What to Do When iPhone Is Disabled and Won’t Connect to iTunes

Last Updated: October 20th, 2023By Categories: Unlock Apple Device

A disabled iPhone is the worse nightmare for all iPhone users. The phone is just there but we can’t use it. It’s totally locked out and refuses all access. Unfortunately, this will happen on your iPhone after consecutive wrong passcode entries.

That “iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes” sign will pop out and become a pain in the neck. After seeing this sign, to get this iPhone enabled, a lot of iPhone owners will simply follow the suggestion and connect the iPhone to iTunes. However, things don’t go well most of the time because iTunes fails to detect the disabled iPhone.

To get this disabled iPhone fixed, we have to know why iTunes fails to connect to the disabled iPhone and also, how to enable the connection. In this post, we will discuss the reason why a disabled iPhone won’t connect to iTunes and how to get the disabled iPhone back to normal. Stay tuned.

When iPhone Is Disabled and Won’t Connect to iTunes

Reason: Why A Disabled Won’t Connect to iTunes

We can blame this connection failure on the security feature of iOS.

To allow an iPhone that has a screen lock to connect to a computer via a USB cable, you will have to unlock the iPhone first. This is inevitable.

At the very beginning when a screen lock is first created on this iPhone, this restriction is activated by default. Unless you’ve changed it deliberately, otherwise, you can’t connect your disabled iPhone to a computer when it’s locked for more than 1 hour.

Unlock iPhone to Use USB Accessories

Solution: How to Connect A Disabled iPhone to iTunes

Of course, Apple Inc has foreseen this disabled issue and provided a solution to all desperate owners of disabled iPhones. That is to boot the disabled iPhone into Recovery mode.

Recovery mode is a system utility released by Apple to help users to fix some common issues on iPhones and iPads. Owners can activate this Recovery mode on their disabled iPhone and iTunes will detect and sync to this disabled iPhone after that.

Before we proceed to trigger this Recovery mode on your iPhone, there’re a few things that you need to prepare.

iTunes:

If the iTunes on your computer is out of data, there’s a chance that the connection will fail again. So, update your iTunes. Follow this path: iTunesHelpCheck for updates.

iTunes Check Update

You can ignore this if you’re using Finder on an iMac or Macbook.

USB Lightning:

Make sure the USB lightning used to connect your iPhone and iTunes is 100% working. Try to connect to another iOS device

Apple USB Lightning

The iPhone:

Don’t forget to charge your iPhone. Before connection, a 20% battery life will be the minimum if you don’t want your iPhone to shut down in the middle of the fixing.

Steps to Connect A Disabled iPhone to iTunes

Step 1

Power off your iPhone first. Let’s start to boot it into Recovery mode. If you’re using the latest iPhone 14 or 13 (Pro/Max), you need to

  • Press and release the Volume Up key;
  • Press and release the Volume Down key;
  • Long press the Wake/Sleep key.

This key combination works for iPhone 8 and later models including iPhone X, 11, 12, and more.

For older iPhones:

If the disabled iPhone is an iPhone 7 (Plus), you need to press and hold the Volume Down and Wake/Sleep buttons at the same time.

For any earlier iPhone like iPhone 6, 5, 4, and SE (1st), you need to long-press the Home and Wake/Sleep buttons.

iPhone Recovery Buttons

Release the key when you see the Recovery mode screen on your iPhone. Then, connect it to your computer via s USB cable.

Step 2

Normally, iTunes will detect your iPhone and launch automatically.

At the same time, a window pops out, saying that iTunes detects the unusual status on your iPhone, you can try to Restore or Update the iPhone to fix the issue.

Update Restroe iPhone Under Recovery Mode via iTunes

To fix your disabled iPhone, you need to hit Restore to reset your iPhone to factory settings. Note that this will erase all data on your iPhone. At the same time, it will wipe out the disabled restriction.

Remember to back up your iPhone and restore data from the backup to your iPhone after this disabled screen is gone.

Step 3

Next, iTunes will proceed to download the up-to-date firmware that will be later used to restore your iPhone. After around 10 minutes, the download will be complete. You can hit Restore again to initiate a factory reset on your iPhone.

In just a few minutes, the process will be done and you can unplug your iPhone. Power it up and set it up like a new one. There’s no more disabled screen stopping you.

Tip:

During setup, you may encounter a screen of Activation lock, another security setup of iOS. This will be triggered every time when an iPhone registered with an Apple ID is reset. You just need to enter your Apple account and password to verify.

Bonus: Other Methods to Fix A Disabled iPhone

iTunes is surely a big help for disabled iPhones. However, it’s still a challenge to boot an iPhone to Recovery mode either because you’re not familiar with the operation or because there’re bugs stopping you from booting the mode.

In this case, we can put iTunes and Recovery to the back of our heads. Let’s try other methods to fix your disabled iPhone.

Alternative 1: Fix A Disabled iPhone via Find My iPhone

When Find My iPhone is enabled on this iPhone, we can reset this iPhone via Find My iPhone. There’re two ways to conduct it either through another Apple device or a browser. Read on:

When You Have Another iPhone/iPad

When two Apple devices share the same Apple account, you can erase the disabled iPhone with the normal one. Simply launch the Find My app from a good iPhone.

Tap on Devices and select your disabled iPhone from the list. Scroll down and strike Erase This Device.

Erase This iPad or iPhone Via Find My

Find My will start to erase your disabled iPhone remotely. You will see this White Apple screen on the device. When the White Apple disappears, your disabled iPhone is fixed! Launch it and set it up again!

When You Don’t Have Another iPhone/iPad

Apple’s Find My iPhone has web access. We can fix your disabled iPhone through this web version.

On any browser, visit Apple Find My iPhone and complete the login.

Two Factory Authentification iCloud Login

When it asks you to verify by entering a 6-digit, you may not get it if the disabled iPhone is the only Apple device you own. On the login page, hit Didn’t get a code option and choose to send via a phone number or email.

If you choose a phone number, you can plug out the Sim card from your disabled iPhone and insert it into any phone.

Next, on the Find My iPhone web, navigate to the disabled iPhone from the digital map. Hit the Erase iPhone to complete the reset then.

Erase This iPad via Find My on iCloud

Alternative 2: Fix A Disabled iPhone via Third-party Unlocker App

The Apple Find My iPhone is indeed a handy and quick solution to fix a disabled iPhone. However, it’s pretty demanding:

  • You must have logged in to your Apple account and turned on the Find My iPhone on the disabled mobile;
  • Either you have another Apple device that’s registered to the same Apple ID;
  • Or you have the password and a trusted Email or phone number to pass the verification.

To skip the complex preparation and verification, you may apply to a third-party app for disabled iPhones: 4uKey.

As an efficient iPhone unlocker, 4uKey won’t ask you for any passcode or password. With just a handful of clicks, this program will get your disabled iPhone back to normal in just a few minutes.

4uKey iOS Unlocker Remove Successfully

Besides the disabled screen, it will also erase the lock screen on your iPhone. Pin code, pattern lock, Face ID, or Touch ID will be gone for good. You can enter your iPhone with a simple swipe.

Download 4uKey on your computer and let’s start the unlock!

4uKey iPhone Unlocker

1-Click iPhone Unlocker

Remove Lock screen, Apple ID, and MDM restrictions in one tool

  • Fix locked, disabled, unavailable iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch
  • Remove Apple ID/iCloud account without password
  • Bypass Mobile Device Management (MDM) with clicks

*Compatible with iOS 16 & iPadOS 16

Step 1:

On your computer, download and install 4uKey. Complete the setup and launch the program. On the initiate interface of 4uKey, hit the Start button to begin the unlock.

4uKey iOS Unlocker Interface

Step 2:

Next, 4ukey will ask you to connect your iPhone to the program. Follow this and make sure the connection is stable.

Note:

If your iPhone is not recognized by the program, you can boot your disabled iPhone to Recovery mode or DFU mode to force 4uKey to detect the mobile.

Below, 4uKey has listed some warnings for its unlocking. Read them and click Next if you’re okay with them.

4uKey iOS Unlocker Connect Device

Step 3:

On the next page, the program will prompt you to download the unlocking firmware for your disabled iPhone. Simply click Download to start loading it on your PC.

You may hit Browse and select another destination to save the firmware and you can delete it after the unlock is complete.

4uKey iOS Unlocker start to Download

Step 4:

As the firmware is saved on your PC, 4uKey will shift to the next screen. There, you can start to fix your disabled iPhone by clicking the Start Remove button.

4uKey iOS Unlocker download Firmware

That’s it. 4uKey will start doing its work. And in just a few minutes, the disabled iPhone will be normal and you can use it like before.

4uKey iPhone Unlocker

1-Click iPhone Unlocker

Remove Lock screen, Apple ID, and MDM restrictions in one tool

  • Fix locked, disabled, unavailable iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch
  • Remove Apple ID/iCloud account without password
  • Bypass Mobile Device Management (MDM) with clicks

*Compatible with iOS 16 & iPadOS 16

FAQs

Sure, when iTunes is not helpful, we can apply to the Find My iPhone feature of Apple to fix a disabled iPhone.

We can either unlock a disabled iPhone on the Find My app of another iPhone or iPad. Or sign into Find My Web to erase the disabled iPhone.

Yes, if you’ve entered the wrong passcodes on an iPhone 10 times, it will activate this “ iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes” sign. This means no matter how long you wait, this iPhone will still be disabled. You have to connect it to iTunes and fix it. Otherwise, the disabled status will exist forever.

  • Normally, when the failed to unlock attempts on an iPhone surpass 5 times, this iPhone gets disabled for 1 minute.
  • The 6th failed attempt will disable your iPhone for 5 minutes.
  • 15 minutes and 30 minutes are the disabled time for the No.7 and 8 unsuccessful unlock.
  • And 1 hour is for the 9th failed attempt.
  • And then it reaches to 10 times, your iPhone will be completely disabled. No matter how long you wait, it won’t get back to normal. You have to reset it via iTunes or iCloud.

When your iPhone is only disabled for 1, 5, 15, 30, or 60 minutes, you can wait till the disabled time passes. And try again.

If you see “iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes”, this iPhone is completely locked out and won’t return to normal unless you put it back to factory settings. Yes, it needs a factory reset to function again.

For you, you need to boot your disabled iPhone to Recovery mode and connect it to iTunes. Then, hit the Restore button to get your iPhone out of disabled mode.

iTunes will not recognize any iPhone that’s locked or disabled for more than one hour. If you still want to use iTunes to fix your iPhone, you need to activate the Recovery Mode on your iPhone.

First of all, power off your iPhone. Next, depending on your iPhone model, we have different steps.

When you’re using iPhone 8, X, 11, 12, 13, 14 (Pro/Max/Plus), or anything newer:

  • Press the Volume Up key and release,
  • Press the Volume Down key and release,
  • Press and hold the Side button.

When you’re using iPhone 7 (Plus):

  • Long press both the Volume Down and Side buttons.

If you’re using iPhone 6, 5, SE (1st Gen), or anything earlier:

  • Long press both the Home and Side buttons.

Release the button(s) when you see the Recovery Mode screen. Take out a USB cable and connect your iPhone to iTunes now. iTunes will detect your iPhone this time.

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