How to Recover a Forgotten iPhone Screen Time Passcode

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We then waded through tons of webpages with totally outdated information about how to find out the restrictions passcode.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.

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.


25 Comments



  • Guest September 9, 2019

    I am running iOS12 and followed the instructions to recover my screen time passcode from an encrypted back up. It says no screen time passcode found. Help!

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW September 9, 2019

      Let's start by checking a couple of things:

      * Do you see any info (or preview of info) for the Wifi password list? It uses the same file from the backup, so we can use that as test if the file that would have the screentime passcode in it.

      * Is this a backup of the phone with the screentime passcode (not the parent device, setting the passcode via icloud?)

      * Select "Version, IMEI, and Serial Number" (towards the bottom of the center column) and make sure it is iOS 12 and not iOS 13?

      • BL September 9, 2019

        Hi, yes, there IS preview of info for wifi password list; it is a backup of the phone on which i set the screen time passcode; the version listed is iOS 12.4.1.

        • Kelly HW

          Kelly HW September 9, 2019

          Can you send us an email via our support page https://deciphertools.com/s... - we will need to dig in to the specifics of your situation and figure out why the passcode isn't appearing.

  • barbaral September 9, 2019

    Hi, I followed the instructions to recover screen time passcode from ios 12 but it says no screen time passcode was found. My phone is running iOS 12.4.1, I performed an encrypted back up and was prompted for my backup password in Decipher Backup Browser. Not sure why it didn't work. Suggestions?

  • 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.

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

John Striver April 4, 2019

Thanks so much worked so well

avery J ward

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

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

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

Magda Rodriguez November 11, 2018

Worked! Thanks!

Kelly HW

Kelly HW December 12, 2018

Great news Magda! Thank you for letting us know!

Lucy

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

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???

Decipher Tools Software

Decipher Tools Software October 10, 2018

Happy to help, Kristina. Just send us an email us via our support page and then we'll get back to you when we are in the office this morning here on the west coast. https://deciphertools.com/s...

Hua

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

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

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

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

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

alison Thea September 9, 2018

Thanks so much. it worked like magic

CL

CL June 6, 2018

Can this be used for an Ipad?

Kelly HW

Kelly HW June 6, 2018

Yes!

Mike

Mike May 5, 2018

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

Decipher Tools Software

Decipher Tools Software May 5, 2018

Great news, Mike!

Dale

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!

Kelly HW

Kelly HW May 5, 2018

Great news!

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.

Decipher Tools Software

Decipher Tools Software February 2, 2018

Great news, Wayne. We are glad our post was helpful! ;-)

Zara Collins

Zara Collins January 1, 2018

That simple? Cool. Thanks for info.