How to Recover a Forgotten iPhone Screen Time Passcode

   Rated (4.8 of 5.0) by 6 reviewers.
Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

Categories: iPhone | View Comments

My sister-in-law asks some of the best iPhone questions. Yesterday she asked me:

Do you know how to reset a restrictions passcode? I seem to have forgotten it.

We then waded through tons of webpages with totally outdated information about how to find out the restrictions passcode. They probably worked several years ago, but not in iOS 10, iOS 11, or iOS 12. Half of the descriptions were also pretty darn hard to read, even for me, and I work on iPhone data for my job!

So here is my contribution to the world of forgotten iPhone Restrictions / Screen Time passcode tutorials.

Update October 9, 2018: As of iOS 12, the Restrictions passcode setting has changed to the iOS 12 Screen Time passcode and the storage of the passcode has changed. Decipher Backup Browser has been updated to also show the Screen Time passcode from an encrypted iPhone/iPad backup.

Update October 24, 2019: As of iOS 13, the Screen Time passcode appears to no longer be stored in the backup. Since there is no Screen Time passcode data to read in the backup, Decipher Backup Browser cannot recover the Screen Time passcode from a backup made with iOS 13. Decipher Backup Browser can read the passcode from a backup made from iOS 12 or earlier, which could still help you if you have a backup made before updating the iPhone/iPad or if you have a backup of the previous iPhone/iPad that was used to set up the new device.

How to recover your iPhone or iPad Screen Time passcode (iOS 12)

In iOS 12, the Restrictions passcode was used to set up the new iOS 12 Screen Time passcode. Download Decipher Backup Browser and make a backup of the iPhone/iPad if you don't have a backup already. The passcode is only stored in if your backup is made with encryption turned on, so as part of recovering your Screen Time passcode, you'll need to make sure your backup is encrypted.

How to recover a forgotten iPhone or iPad Screen Time passcode:

  1. Click on the backup of your iPhone/iPad in the left column of Decipher Backup Browser.

  2. Select "Screen Time Passcode" from the center column.

  3. Your iPhone Screen Time passcode will show in the right column.

Decipher Backup Browser showing iPhone Screen Time passcode after the passcode was forgotten.

(I've got the same combination on my luggage!)

If you do not see Screen Time passcode as an option, please make sure your backup was made with iTunes backup encryption turned on. Here are instructions from Apple for how to turn on encrypted iTunes backups.

How to recover your iPhone Restrictions passcode (iOS 11 and lower)

Since about iOS 8, the restrictions PIN itself is no longer stored in an iPhone backup. However, the verification for the restrictions passcode is stored instead, much like how a website wouldn't store your passcode for your account, but instead stores information to verify it.

The good news if you forgot your iPhone restrictions passcode is that it's really easy to have a computer guess and check it for you. The passcode is only four digits, which is a small search space for a computer, and the steps to verify the passcode against the info stored in an iTunes backup are fast. (This is why iOS built a delay in allowing you to guess the restrictions passcode on the iPhone itself.)

We've built a little iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch restrictions passcode recovery tool, and put it into the free trial version of Decipher Backup Browser. You don't need to purchase a license code to use the restrictions passcode guesser.

Download Decipher Backup Browser and make a backup of the iPhone with the restrictions passcode if you don't have a backup already.

How to recover a forgotten iPhone restrictions passcode:

  1. Click on the backup of your iPhone in the left column of Decipher Backup Browser.

  2. Select "Restrictions Passcode Cracker" from the center column.

  3. After a few seconds, your iPhone restrictions passcode will show in the right column.

Decipher Backup Browser showing iPhone restrictions passcode after the passcode was forgotten.


50 Comments



  • Darrenr71 November 11, 2019

    Hi there, has there been an update regarding recovering/resetting a screen time passcode while on IOS 13?

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW November 11, 2019

      As of iOS 13.2.2, the Screen Time passcode is still no longer stored in the backups. I've been verifying by restoring encrypted backups to a test device and seeing that the Screen Time passcode is no longer set as part of the restored data. So, currently we have no mechanism to recovering the passcode.

      However, if the passcode hasn't been changed since the device was upgraded to iOS 13, the passcode may still be stored in the backup. That has been my experience so far.

  • Satish Goli November 11, 2019

    Hi, i have followed the steps to recover my screen time password on decipher backup browser. But it is not showing my password. Its giving me a message that no password is found with this associated device. Can you help me out??

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW November 11, 2019

      What version of iOS is the backup made with? In Decipher Backup Browser, select "Version, IMEI, and Serial Number" (towards the bottom of the center column) and make sure it is iOS 12 and not iOS 13?

  • Tara Williams September 9, 2019

    I have encrypted my back up and the Decipher browser is not showing the restriction passcode cracker. what do I do now?

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW September 9, 2019

      Hi Tara,

      Are you being prompted for your backup password in Decipher Backup Browser?

      Do you see the "Screen Time Passcode" section?

  • Haleigh Albrecht

    Haleigh Albrecht July 7, 2019

    Do I have to buy the full version to get the restrictions passwcode? Or will the free trial work?

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW July 7, 2019

      The free trial is sufficient for the Restrictions/Screen Time feature of Decipher Backup Browser :)

  • Mnm Foronemore

    Mnm Foronemore June 6, 2019

    WOW!!!!!!!! I just want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!! THREE years with this problem and BLIP! FIXED! Thanks to you. Wow.... I WILL be buying your software. :)

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW June 6, 2019

      Yay! Glad we were able to help!

  • John Striver April 4, 2019

    Thanks so much worked so well

  • avery J ward January 1, 2019

    for some reason its not showing the screen time passcode file? please help.

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW January 1, 2019

      Hi Avery,

      The Screen Time passcode feature is only available if the backup of the device is made with encryption turned on. (The file in the backup required to display the screen time passcode is only backed up with encryption turned on.)

      https://support.apple.com/e...

      Can you double-check that backup encryption is turned on? You'll also know because Decipher Backup Browser will prompt you for the backup password. (Make sure it is set to something that you won't forget, since there's no password recovery mechanism in iOS for the backup password.)

  • Ducky

    Ducky January 1, 2019

    Hello... I just got an old iPod that used to belong to my nephew in his younger days... lock password no problem but they can't remember the restrictions passcode. So.. I came upon this. Unfortunately.. after I managed to back it up using encryption... I don't see any sort of restriction passcode cracker in the middle column... I'm on the free trial. I made the mistake of backing up first unencrypted, corrected that but still don't see what I need :(.
    Side note-- this iPod is at least 7-9 years old- don't know if that matters.

    Edit- I was able to restore it using this site as my iPod is iOS 4.2! Yep that old iPod Touch 2G lol. https://support.apple.com/e.... I'll be bookmarking this page though.. I am sure it will come in handy down the line :)

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW January 1, 2019

      I'm glad you got it working :) The restrictions passcode was stored differently in iOS 4, so if you end up needing to get it from the old backup, let us know.

  • Daniel December 12, 2018

    Thank you so much! I've been trying to figure out this password for weeks and had made 40+ attempts. This took 20 mins to do an encrypted back up and then a few seconds to retrieve the passcode and it worked. This is the first thing I found that didn't require me to pay anything or follow a ridiculous amount of steps.

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW December 12, 2018

      Hi Daniel,

      Glad you got the passcode, and Happy New Year!

  • RJ December 12, 2018

    Thanks so much! I finally was able to get that dang passcode recovered. I will recommend you to everyone!

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW December 12, 2018

      Great news RJ! Thank you for letting us know!

  • Magda Rodriguez November 11, 2018

    Worked! Thanks!

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW December 12, 2018

      Great news Magda! Thank you for letting us know!

  • Lucy November 11, 2018

    This hasn’t worked for me. I’m very upset, as I have wasted hours trying to recover my screentime passcode. It doesn’t come up with the screentime passcode or restrictions passcode cracker on my app. Please help!!!

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW November 11, 2018

      Hi Lucy,

      Is your iTunes backup made with encryption turned on? https://support.apple.com/e... (section: Check to see if iTunes is already set up to encrypt your backups) The Screen Time passcode section won't appear in the backup unless encryption is turned on. For iOS 11 and lower devices, you'll see the Restrictions passcode section, and for iOS 12 encrypted backups, you'll see the Screen Time passcode section. If the encrypted backup doesn't help, what version of iOS is running on the iPhone/iPad?

      • Lucy November 11, 2018

        Thanks for your help Kelly. It worked! I am relieved.

  • Kristina Halvorson

    Kristina Halvorson October 10, 2018

    Oh no. I just sang your praises on Twitter ... then went to enter my recovered Screentime passcode into my iPhone and IT'S NOT WORKING. Any ideas???

  • Hua October 10, 2018

    Thank you very much!!!! I have tried many ways to recover my restriction passcode, but only yours ran in IOS12. I really appreciate it.

  • Peter O October 10, 2018

    When I can count on the version for IOS 12

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW October 10, 2018

      The version for iOS 12 Screen Time passcode is out now! :)

      • Vy Nguyen

        Vy Nguyen October 10, 2018

        Hey Kelly,
        Does the Screen Time Passcode work with the free version?
        Thanks

        • Kelly HW

          Kelly HW October 10, 2018

          Hi Vy,

          Yes, currently the Screen Time Passcode is available in the free version :)

  • Brady October 10, 2018

    how long til its updated?

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW October 10, 2018

      Hi Brady,

      The update is nearly ready! I will post again here when it's uploaded and this blog post will be updated with new details.

      • Kelly HW

        Kelly HW October 10, 2018

        The update to Decipher Backup Browser to support the iOS 12 Screen Time passcode is out now! This post was also updated to include the new instructions.

  • Anthony Sakr October 10, 2018

    How do i add a new phone and also i cannot find this feature in the free trial?

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW October 10, 2018

      We're working to get Decipher Backup Browser updated ASAP with the iOS 12 Screen Time passcode, vs the older Restrictions passcode for iOS 11 and older. If you'd like to be notified when the update is ready, send us an email through our support/contact page and we'll send you an email when it's ready :)

  • LPG Animations September 9, 2018

    PLEASE HELP! I cannot find the feature in the free trial!

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW September 9, 2018

      We're working to get Decipher Backup Browser updated ASAP with the iOS 12 Screen Time passcode, vs the older Restrictions passcode for iOS 11 and older. We also followed up with you via email :)

  • Travis Fremming

    Travis Fremming September 9, 2018

    Just paid for the full version I do not see anywhere to use this restrictions passcode feature

  • alison Thea September 9, 2018

    Thanks so much. it worked like magic

  • CL June 6, 2018

    Can this be used for an Ipad?

  • Mike

    Mike May 5, 2018

    This worked like a charm. A much easier solution than others I had researched. THANK YOU!

  • Dale May 5, 2018

    Thank you very much! I Made a simple mistake when I entered the passcode and couldn't get past it. The code was cracked in less than a second!

  • Wayne Hom

    Wayne Hom February 2, 2018

    Thank you. This worked just fine for me. My aunt’s phone was a hand-me-down from her son. Somehow there was a Restriction code set, but he didn’t know how it got there. Following these steps allowed me to find the Restriction code and disable it. Now the phone is fully usable.

  • Zara Collins January 1, 2018

    That simple? Cool. Thanks for info.