Recover screen time restrictions passcode

Recover screen time restrictions passcode
Recover screen time restrictions passcode

What is the Screen Time Passcode?

With the release of iOS 12, Apple enhanced its long-standing Restrictions passcode for iOS device users, renaming it the Screen Time passcode, and allowing for an even greater ability to manage device activities. This helpful feature can be used for a number of functions, ranging from setting up parental content and privacy restrictions to preventing in-app purchases. With iOS 12, it can now also be used to limit app time, making it a highly useful feature for parents, looking to restrict the amount of time their children spend using their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch..

What Happens When You Forget your Screen Time or Restrictions Passcode?

Whilst this is a handy feature, the downsides of the Screen Time passcode are that you’ll need to remember another passcode. This can be tricky at the best of times but can be especially problematic for a setting that you don’t change often. We’ve even heard of users who swear they have never set up a Restrictions passcode but upgraded to iOS 12 and found that their device was requesting a Screen Time passcode.

So, what happens when you need to remove or reset your Screen Time or Restrictions passcode but you can’t remember it?

The official advice from Apple is that if you forget your passcode, you will need to erase your iPhone or iPad and set it up as a new device in order to remove the passcode. This means that you run the risk of losing all of your data since your last backup if you have one available.

For those amongst you who are regularly backing up your device, some or all of your data may be recoverable, however, it can take a lot of work and time to fully erase your device and set it up again, especially if you have a lot of data stored on your device. For those of you who need to access your Screen Time passcode quickly, or who don’t want to do a full restore then third-party software, like Enigma Recovery, is a good alternative to recover your passcode.

Recover Screen Time or Restrictions Passcode Without a Device Restore

This method is best for users who do not have an iTunes or iCloud backup, or who have not backed up their device recently, meaning some or all device data would be lost by restoring your iPhone or iPad. With this method, you can recover your Screen Time or Restrictions passcode without the need to carry out a device restore and without suffering any data loss. The process to recover your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch passcode without a restore is quick and simple, using Enigma Recovery software.

To complete the passcode recovery process, you will need an iTunes backup of your device, created after the Screen Time or Restrictions passcode was enabled on your device. As part of the additions to Screen Time in iOS 12, the passcode is stored in a different location to previous iOS versions, meaning that iOS 12 users will need to ensure that their iTunes backup file is encrypted. Keep reading to find out how you can check if you have an (encrypted) iTunes backup and how to recover your passcode. This tutorial is compatible with all iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch and iOS 6-12.

Step 1: Connect your iOS Device

Connect your iPhone device to your computer, via a USB cable. Open iTunes, if it does not open automatically.

iTunes startup screen

Step 2: 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 will symbolise that the backup file is encrypted. If you can see backup files available, then you can skip ahead to Step 5. If you do not have an iTunes backup file available, keep reading to find out how you can create a backup.

Check devices in iTunes for existing backups

Step 3: Find your device in iTunes

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

Find your device in iTunes and trust

Step 4: Backup your iPhone using iTunes

In the Backups section, under the heading ‘Automatically Back Up’, click ‘This Computer’. If you are using iOS 12, ensure that you click the option ‘Encrypt iPhone 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

Step 5: 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

Step 6: Select iTunes Recovery

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

Select iTunes recovery from software

Step 7: Choose ‘Passcode’ for recovery

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

Select passcode for recovery

Step 8: 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 earlier in this process, not the passcode you use to unlock your device!

Scan backup and recover your passcode

Step 9: View your Passcode

Success! The software will now display your Screen Time or Restrictions passcode. You can now use this to either turn-off or reset the passcode directly on your device.

View your passcode

Enigma Recovery™

Recover deleted messages, contacts, calls and more from iPhone or iPad.

Download Now

Learn about the free trial here


I am a Parent using iCloud Family Sharing and set a Restrictions passcode on my child’s phone. Can I recover the Passcode from my device?

We have found that if a Screen Time or Restrictions has been set up using iCloud Family Sharing on a single device, then the Enigma Recovery software will need to scan a backup file created from the device where the passcode was set up to recover it.

I don’t remember setting up a Screen Time or Restrictions passcode!

We’ve seen a few different scenarios where users do not remember setting up a passcode but are requested to provide one, especially when upgrading to iOS 12. With the free trial of Enigma Recovery, the software will scan your backup file so you can find out if a passcode has been recovered before upgrading to the full version.

Can Enigma Recovery find any other deleted data from my device?

Yes, Enigma is capable of recovering a range of deleted types of data from iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices, as well as iTunes and iCloud backups. Visit our in-depth iOS Recovery page to find out more.


Victor, our Social Media and Support Manager helps customers to get the most out of our products. He was formerly a professional dancer who came to Enigma Digital due to his interest in emerging tech trends

Macbook Pro and iPhone with Enigma Recovery software

Try our free version 

To preview recoverable lost iOS data