How to Factory Reset an iPad Without Knowing the Passcode: 2 Ways To Do It

Jonathan Kao

black tablet computer on black table

If you have an iPad but do not remember the passcode, performing a factory reset is one viable solution to regain access. Unfortunately, forgetting a passcode can happen easily, but Apple provides a few secure methods to solve this issue without compromising the security and privacy of your device. Resetting your iPad to factory settings essentially erases all of the content and settings, returning it to the condition it was when first unboxed, which is especially useful if you plan to sell or give away the device.

However, before initiating the factory reset process, it is important to understand that all data on the iPad will be completely removed. This underscores the importance of backing up your data regularly. For those who have synced their iPad with iTunes or iCloud, retrieving personal data after the reset is simpler. In case you have not backed up your data, you should be prepared to lose all content and settings on the iPad, as the reset process is irreversible. It is also helpful to have the latest version of iTunes if you’re using a computer during the reset process, and ensure that you have access to the Internet if you decide to use Apple’s iCloud services.

NOTE: This is not a method to get around iCloud locking. If the iPad is iCloud Locked you’ll still need to enter your credentials to make the device usable.

Restoring a Locked iPad: Factory Reset Without a Passcode

If you’ve forgotten your iPad passcode, regaining control of your device requires a factory reset. Here’s how to perform this, even if you can’t access your iPad:

Method 1: Using Your Computer (iTunes or Finder)

  1. Connect to Computer: Plug your iPad into a Mac or PC that it has been previously synced with. Open Finder (on newer Macs) or iTunes (on older Macs or Windows computers).
  2. Recovery Mode: Place your iPad into recovery mode. Instructions vary slightly depending on your iPad model. Find your model below for specific steps.
  3. Restore: In Finder or iTunes, locate your iPad and select the “Restore” option. This process will erase all data and settings.

Instructions for Entering Recovery Mode

  • iPad with Home button: Press and hold Top button + Home button. Keep holding until the recovery screen appears.
  • iPad without Home button: Press and hold Top button and either Volume button until the recovery screen appears.

Method 2: Using iCloud Find My

  1. Prerequisites
  • Find My must be enabled on the iPad.
  • The iPad must be connected to the internet (WiFi or cellular).
  • Know the Apple ID and password associated with the iPad.
  1. Access Find My: Go to or use the Find My app on another Apple device.
  2. Erase iPad: Select your iPad in Find My and choose the “Erase” option.

Table: Factory Reset Methods

iTunes/FinderPrior sync with computer, device-specific steps for recovery mode
iCloud Find MyFind My enabled, internet connection, Apple ID credentials

Important Notes:

  • Data Loss: A factory reset completely wipes your iPad, restoring it to like-new condition. Back up important data beforehand if possible.
  • Activation Lock: After the reset, you’ll need the original Apple ID and password to re-activate your iPad.

Key Takeaways

  • Forgetting an iPad’s passcode requires a factory reset to regain access.
  • The factory reset will erase all content and settings on the iPad.
  • Back up data regularly to avoid data loss during a factory reset.

Preparing for Factory Reset

Before resetting your iPad, it’s crucial to prepare it properly. This process ensures the safety of your data and the smooth reset of your device.

Determining iPad Model and Software Version

Identifying your iPad model is essential to follow specific instructions for entering recovery mode. You can find the model number on the back of your iPad. Knowing your software version helps foresee potential issues. To check, navigate to Settings > General > About and look for the version number.

Backing Up Important Data

It’s important to back up your data to avoid loss. Connect your iPad to a Wi-Fi network and go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > iCloud Backup and select Back Up Now. For a PC or a Mac with macOS Mojave or older, use iTunes. For macOS Catalina or newer, use Finder.

Signing Out of iCloud and iTunes & App Store

Sign out to prevent issues with activation locks. In Settings, tap Your Name > Sign Out at the bottom. You’ll need your Apple ID password to turn off Find My iPad and sign out of iCloud.

Turning Off Find My iPad

Deactivate Find My iPad to reset the iPad. In Settings, tap Your Name > Find My > Find My iPad. Switch it off and enter your Apple ID password. This step is critical for a locked or disabled iPad.

Remember to use an original USB cable and have your computer ready, whether it’s a Mac or PC, as you’ll need it for the reset process.