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How to reset a locked iPhone without a computer

Image of person holding an iPhone showing the lock screen number pad
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Apple's latest iPhone operating system, iOS 15, introduced a bunch of new features when it was released, including the ability to reset a locked iPhone without a computer in its latest version, iOS 15.2.

Whether you have the high-end iPhone 13 Pro Max or the more affordable iPhone 13, it can be a real pain if you've forgotten your passcode. And if you try to guess it incorrectly too many times, you'll end up locking the handset. At this point, you'll need to wait until you can enter the passcode again — something that may be difficult if you simply can't remember it. The alternative is to erase and reset your iPhone so it can at least become usable again.

Prior to iOS 15.2, a locked iPhone could only be brought back to life using a computer. Now, however, you can reset and erase a locked iPhone from the device itself. All you need is your Apple ID and password — a handy requirement that prevents someone who finds or steals your phone from bringing it back to life. 

So, if you've forgotten your passcode, here's how to reset a locked iPhone without a computer. 

Note: Your iPhone must be running iOS 15.2 or above for this guide to work.

How to reset a locked iPhone without a computer

1. If you've forgotten your passcode, don't worry. Assuming the phone is connected to a cellular or Wi-Fi network, simply keep entering an incorrect passcode. Eventually, your iPhone will tell you it is unavailable for a set period of time, starting with a minute. 

iOS 15 home screen asking for passcode to be entered

(Image credit: Apple)

2. Wait until the time is up and enter an incorrect passcode multiple times once again. As before, the iPhone will become unavailable, this time for five minutes. 

iOS 15 lock screen with "iPhone unavailable try again in 5 minutes" on the display

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Again, wait until the time passes and keep entering incorrect passcodes until the iPhone becomes unavailable for 15 minutes. You will see a new option called “Erase iPhone” appear in the bottom-right corner. If you want to go ahead and wipe your device clean of all content and settings, then simply tap Erase iPhone”. 

iOS 15 lock screen with "iPhone unavailable try again in 15 minutes" on the display

(Image credit: Apple)

4. You will now be asked to confirm your decision (the alternative being to wait until you can try entering passcodes again) so tap “Erase iPhone” once more if you want to continue.  

iOS 15 lock screen with Erase all contents and settings on the display

(Image credit: Apple)

5. Enter your Apple ID password so that your device can be signed out of your Apple account and related services.

iOS lock screen asking for password to be entered

(Image credit: Apple)

Now you've discovered how to to reset a locked iPhone without a computer, you'd might like to see some other guides for your iPhone. Check out 15 essential Messages tips every iPhone owner should know to learn about the many features in the Messages app. If you miss full-screen caller ID, see how to get full-screen Caller ID on iOS 15. Or discover the hidden trackpad that makes editing a breeze on iPhones and iPads.

David Crookes

David Crookes is a freelance writer, reporter, editor and author. He has written for technology and gaming magazines including Retro Gamer, Web User, Micro Mart, MagPi, Android, iCreate, Total PC Gaming, T3 and Macworld. He has also covered crime, history, politics, education, health, sport, film, music and more, and been a producer for BBC Radio 5 Live.