How to recover or reset a forgotten Screen Time Passcode

If your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch is asking you to enter a Screen Time Passcode but you’ve forgotten what the four-digit code is, don’t worry — we are going to help you remember, remove or recover it. You will then have the option to reset your Screen Time Passcode.

The first thing to note is that the Screen Time Passcode used to be called the Restrictions Passcode. Simply enter this code if you can remember it.

If you have forgotten your Restrictions Passcode or Screen Time Passcode — or don’t recall setting either one up at all — you have three options:

We are also going to explain what the Screen Time Passcode is, so you can decide whether you would like to continue using it after recovery.

Option 1: Guess your Screen Time Passcode

If you can’t remember the Restrictions Passcode or Screen Time Passcode you set up, you can try to guess it. The worst that can happen if you’re wrong is that Apple will increase the time you have to wait in-between attempts.

There isn’t a default Screen Time Passcode, so try to think what four digits you would have picked — perhaps 0000, 1234, or a loved one’s birth date? If you guess correctly and want to continue using Screen Time, you can keep or reset your passcode. Alternatively, you can turn off your passcode.

If you haven’t guessed currently after a few attempts, it’s probably time to try one of the other options (factory-reset your device or recover the Passcode). After all, there are 10,000 possible four-digit combinations.

Option 2: Factory-reset your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

Apple’s official advice if you forget your Screen Time Passcode is to erase your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch then set it up as a new device . This factory reset will remove the Screen Time Passcode, as well as erasing all of your other data and settings. You can then set up a new passcode if you want to continue using Screen Time, or leave it switched off.

Unfortunately, restoring your device from an iTunes or iCloud backup will not remove the Screen Time Passcode.

Of course, no one wants to lose all of their device settings simply because they forgot a four-digit code. Luckily, you can recover your Screen Time Passcode with Enigma Recovery — without any data loss on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

Option 3: Recover your Screen Time Passcode

If you have forgotten your Screen Time Passcode and don’t want to erase everything from your Apple device, your only other option is to use iOS data recovery software like Enigma Recovery. Without remembering, this is the only way to find out what your Screen Time Passcode is.

Enigma Recovery works by retrieving your passcode from an iTunes backup. If you haven’t backed up your device since the Restrictions/Screen Time Passcode was created or changed, you can create a new iTunes backup then recover the passcode from that. Follow the step-by-step instructions below.

If one of the above describes you, follow the instructions below to recover your lost or deleted notes:

  1. Connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

Connect the iOS device to your computer with a USB cable. (If you set up the Restrictions/Screen Time Passcode on another device using iCloud Family Sharing, connect this device instead.) Open iTunes if it does not open automatically.

iTunes startup screen
  1. Check for existing iTunes backup files

Open Preferences in iTunes and click the Devices tab. A list of available backup files will be displayed. If you are using iOS 12, ensure that your backup has a padlock next to it — this symbolizes that the backup file is encrypted.

  • a. If a backup file is available, then you can skip ahead to step 5.
  • b. If you do not have a backup file available, keep reading to find out how you can create one.
Check devices in iTunes for existing backups
  1. Find your device in iTunes

Click on the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch icon in the top bar then navigate to the Summary tab. If this is the first time you are connecting your device to iTunes, you may need to ‘Trust’ your computer from your device.

Scan for notes data
  1. Back up your device using iTunes

In the Backups section, under the heading ‘Automatically Back Up’, click ‘This Computer’. If you are using iOS 12, ensure that you select the option ‘Encrypt iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch Backup’. You will be asked to set a password — make sure you keep a note of this for later. Click ‘Back Up Now’ and wait while iTunes creates a backup of your device.

Backup your iPhone using iTunes
  1. Download Enigma Recovery

Using your Mac or Windows PC, download Enigma Recovery software to your computer and complete the installation.

Download and install Enigma Recovery
  1. Select iTunes recovery

Open the software and select ‘Recover from my iTunes’ from the left-hand menu.

Select iTunes recovery from software
  1. Choose ‘Passcode’ for recovery

You will be shown a list of all of the different types of data Enigma Recovery can find in iTunes. Since we’re trying to recover your Screen Time/Restrictions Passcode, you can untick all of the other options and just leave ‘Passcode’ selected. This will allow our software to act as a Screen Time Passcode finder. Click ‘Start Scan’.

Select passcode for recovery
  1. Scan backup file

The software will now scan your backup to check if a passcode is available for recovery. If you are using iOS 12, you will be prompted to enter the password for your backup. Please note this is the password that you set in step 4 (or when you backed up to iTunes previously) — not the passcode you use to unlock your device.

Scan backup and recover your passcode
  1. View your Screen Time Passcode

The free trial will let you know if a Screen Time or Restrictions Passcode has been recovered. To find out what it is, you will need to purchase a license. You can then regain access to your device/content and update your Screen Time settings.

View your passcode
  1. Remove or reset your Screen Time Passcode

If you would like to turn off or reset the Screen Time Passcode on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you can do so under ‘Settings’ > ‘Screen Time’.

View your passcode

What is the Screen Time Passcode?

The Screen Time Passcode is used to secure settings that come under Screen Time, a set of privacy and content controls. You can find these under ‘Settings’ > ‘Screen Time’ on your Apple iOS device.

The Screen Time Passcode is different than the passcode used to unlock an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, the idea being that owners can allow others access to the device but not certain features or settings. It is mainly used by parents who want to restrict their child’s usage, and businesses that provide company devices to employees.

The Screen Time Passcode can be used to:

  • Prevent iTunes and App Store purchases
  • Disallow certain built-in apps and features
  • Restrict explicit or rated content
  • Prevent Siri from searching the web and displaying explicit language
  • Restrict certain Game Center features
  • Limit adult websites or allow access to whitelisted sites only
  • Prevent settings changes

The Screen Time Passcode used to be called the Restrictions Passcode. It changed in iOS 12, when Screen Time was introduced.

How to set a Screen Time Passcode

If you do want to use Screen Time restrictions, it’s important to use a secure and memorable four-digit code. If you are setting a passcode for the first time or your Apple device has been reset, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Screen Time’ > ‘Use Screen Time Passcode’.

How to disable Screen Time Passcode

If you don’t want to use Screen Time restrictions, you can disable the Screen Time Passcode by going to ‘Settings’ > ‘Screen Time’ > ‘Change Screen Time Passcode’ > ‘Turn Off Screen Time Passcode’.

You cannot turn off Screen Time Passcode without the current passcode — if you’ve forgotten yours, you’ll need to recover it. The only other option is to erase your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and set it up as a new device.

How to reset a Screen Time Passcode

If you would like to change your Screen Time Passcode, you can reset it by going to ‘Settings’ > ‘Screen Time’ > ‘Change Screen Time Passcode’ > ‘Change Screen Time Passcode’.

You cannot reset a Screen Time Passcode without the current passcode. So, if you’ve forgotten yours, you’ll need to recover it first. Alternatively, you can factory-reset your device then set a new passcode.

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