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iPhone Unavailable Message on Lock Screen? Everything You Need to Know

If your iPhone gets an unavailable error, use this guide to fix this problem and unlock your phone. It applies to iPhone Security Lockout, iPad Unavailable issue, as well.

Katrin Gray
Updated on Nov 15, 2022

You might want to fix the iPhone unavailable problem on the phone screen if it locks you out.

A black screen with Unavailable message on iPhone is never a welcome sight. If you've just found yourself with an iPhone Unavailable lock screen, there's no reason to panic. There're several approaches of fixing the problem and getting into your phone again.

You will typically experience the problem of your phone being locked out to an iPhone unavailable screen after entering the passcode incorrectly too many times, during the update process of iOS, when you restart the phone after it gets "Security Lockout" error, or randomly when it's charging or in pocket.

The most annoying part is that you'll only see it says "iPhone unavailable try again in X minutes" on the screen. Before the timer goes to zero, there is no entrance to enter your code to unlock the iPhone.

How to unlock an unavailable iPhone

No matter what reason causes your iPhone to say iPhone Unavailable on the screen, there're a few ways you can take to unlock the iPhone with or without iTunes. Listed below are the most used ways to fix an iPhone unavailable error. If you want to quickly go past the unavailable screen and regain access the device without any fuss or patronising wizards, it's hard to go wrong with iPhone Unlocker mentioned in this article.

Table of Contents

This guide applies to any version of iPhone and iPad, including the newer iPhone 14 series.

Keep in mind that if the screen reads "iPhone Unavailable" after too many wrong passcode entries and you really can't remember the code, you will have to reset your phone to remove the lock and passcode. It will erase all data on the device and set it up from scratch with a clean iOS installation if you don't have a backup, except those that you eventually synced to iCloud.

What does it mean when the screen says iPhone unavailable?

Generally, in order to unlock an iPhone with Lock Screen enabled, you need to enter the right passcode or use Face ID. You may see an error message on your iPhone stating that your device is unavailable. The problem is often caused when it detects that there have been too many entries to the iPhone with wrong passcodes. This annoying message will keep appearing until you have right code entered to unlock the device, or you have to reset the unavailable iPhone to factory settings to remove the passcode.

How long will iPhone unavailable last?

As a security measure, Apple will lock you out of iPhone for a certain amount of time if it detects too many failed attempts at unlocking the device. Each time you enter the passcode incorrectly to the phone, the wait time increases. You can see how much time is left on the timer before unlocking the iPhone with correct passcode again.

  • 6 wrong code attempts: iPhone Unavailable. try again in 1 minute
  • 7 wrong code attempts: iPhone Unavailable. try again in 5 minute
  • 8 wrong code attempts: iPhone Unavailable. try again in 15 minute
  • 9 wrong code attempts: iPhone Unavailable. try again in 15 minutes
  • 10 wrong code attempts: iPhone Unavailable. try again in 1 hour
  • 11 wrong code attempts: iPhone Unavailable

Apple removes the timer, and requires you to reset the device into default factory settings — which wipes all of data on the iPhone — after too many wrong passcode entered.

Can you back up an iPhone that says iPhone Unavailable?

No, you're unable to do a backup using iCloud wirelessly or iTunes on your computer. When it gets a screen saying iPhone unavailable, neither iTunes nor Finder can recognize the device to make the data backup. Unfortunately, you will have to erase your iPhone completely and set it up as a new device. This isn't a problem if you have backups stored on computer or have automatic backups enabled in your iCloud settings, as you can then restore it during setup process.

Follow the guide below to unlock your iPhone to get back in again after it isn't available to use.

How to fix "iPhone Unavailable try again in X minutes"

If you're experiencing "iPhone Unavailable" alert in your Lock screen, there is a good chance that a timer is involved simultaneously. Luckily for you, it allows you to simply just wait and then unlock your iPhone with correct passcode after the specified amount of time has passed. You may check the remaining minutes left on the screen.

The time you need to wait on the timer is associated with the number of times you have failed to enter the correct passcode to your iPhone. Typically, the more unsuccessful attempts you do in the passcode entry screen, the longer the wait time  is.

Note: If you have enabled "Erase Data" feature (Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Erase Data) on your iPhone, it will automatically erase the device itself after 10 failed passcode attempts to unlock your device. That's an excellent security measure in the event that your phone is missing or stolen, it will, however, stop you from making any future passcode attempts.

Steps to get into iPhone when it says unavailable

  • Wait for the timer goes to zero.
  • The screen of your iPhone will change back to the normal state background, and it allows trying entering the passcode again.
  • Enter your passcode correctly and carefully to unlock your iPhone.

If you forget your iPhone passcode

Waiting for it ends the timeout and then entering the correct code to get into your iPhone being locked with unavailable screen is not bad. But if you can't remember your passcode, there is no way to bypass the iPhone Unavailable screen without resetting your device.

The good news is, Apple now has made this a lot easier and more straightforward to reset an unavailable iPhone without a computer if you have iOS 15.2 or higher. Here's what you'll need to do:

1. Before you begin a reset process, make sure you know your Apple ID and passcode tie to the unavailable phone, and it has connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network.

2. On your iPhone's Lock Screen, try inputting wrong code 6 times in a row until you receive the message "iPhone Unavailable." Keep trying to enter your passcode again until it shows you the "Security Lockout" screen or "iPhone Unavailable" screen.

3. There will be an "Erase iPhone" button at the bottom right-hand corner. Tap it, and it will provide you with more information on iPhone restore.

3. Tap Erase iPhone again to confirm when "Erase All Content & Settings" screen appears. You will want to more details about erasing and resetting the unavailable iPhone by visiting support.apple.com/iphone/passcode listed.

4. In this screen, you'll be prompted to enter your Apple ID password to sign out of your Apple ID. This will restore the iPhone to factory settings and turns off Activation lock.

5. Tap Erase iPhone to confirm again. All your apps and data will be wiped clean and the forgotten passcode will be removed, as well.

6. After that, your iPhone will restart and you'll be at the setup screen. You will want to go through the wizard to set your phone up again. When you get to App & Data screen during setup process, you will be able to

  • Restore from a backup of your iPhone made in iCloud or computer. This allows you to recover your data and settings that's backed up before the time of your iPhone gets unavailable. You can option for "Restore from iCloud Backup," or "Restore from Mac or PC."
  • Fresh start. If you don't have any of backups available to use, you will start over as if it's a new device you just took out of the box. All you personal data (media, messages, notes, contacts), Apps, and settings lose forever.


My iPhone says "iPhone Unavailable try again in 1 hour." It's is a insanely long time, can I speed up the count down timer?
No, there is no way to increase the speed of countdown timer, you can do nothing but wait. So, when you next get a chance to make a new try after the timeout is end, it's very important that you enter your passcode carefully.
Why doesn't my phone screen have any options for erasing iPhone or entering passcode. Just a "Emergency" button at the bottom?
If you can't do anything else as all it says on the screen is Emergency, it may be a result of your unavailable iPhone disconnecting from Wi-Fi or cellular network, or you don't enable Find My on your phone before it gets locked.
My iPhone gives me message of "iPhone Unavailable" on the screen and I have Apple ID and password, but it doesn't have a time there, what can I do?
Do you see the "Erase iphone" option at the bottom right? If so you can try tapping on it and then follow the onscreen instructions to erase your iPhone without the use of the computer.
The "Erase iPhone" doesn't seem to respond when I tap it, how can I fix it?
If you can't get the "Erase iPhone" feature to work, you have to move on to the next part of this article and try to reset your locked iPhone through Recovery mode, iPhone Unlocker software, or iCloud Find My. Keep on reading.

Prefer video content to text? Watch the video below.

How to fix "iPhone Unavailable" error without timer or "Erase iPhone" on the screen

If there is only "Emergency" option on your phone or any other issue you can find out, you should reset your device by restoring from Recovery mode, third party utility, or using Find My function.

Recovery mode: Revert your unavailable Apple iPhone into a state where you can reinstall iOS software by connecting your device to a iTunes or Finder on the computer.

Third-party tool: There are a lot of third-party iPhone unlocking apps you can choose from to fix unavailable problem. In this article, we'll be using a popular one named iPhone Unlocker.

Find My: If you previously enabled Find My on your iPhone before it says unavailable, you're able sign into iCloud.com on web browser and wipe your device remotely.

Regardless of which way you take, you'll get all the data on your iPhone erased. Hopefully, you have made regular backup of your device that you can then restore from iCloud or computer locally using iTunes or Finder.

Way 1: How to fix iPhone unavailable using iTunes

If the "Erase iPhone" option is not available, you will need a computer to connect the iPhone and use iTunes' Recovery Mode to resolve the problem.

In case your unavailable iPhone is not recognized by iTunes, go to Help in the upper right corner of the iTunes window to double check to see if it has upgraded to the latest version. If you have a Mac — no matter it's iMac, MacBook, Mac Mini or Mac Pro — running Catalina 10.15 or newer, use Finder instead.

Recovery mode

Recovery mode is a feature built in iTunes & Finder that allows you to restore your iPhone to its original factory settings with the latest iOS software when the device goes wrong, include crashing, freezing, or malfunctioning. You can use Recovery mode to fix the unavailable error.

The only downside about this feature is that, if you restore your unavailable iPhone from iTunes Recovery mode, you will lose all of your data and information including your passcode.

Depending on the model of your iPhone, the procedure to boot from Recovery mode is a little different.

Fix iPhone Unavailable error with Recovery mode

To restore iPhone from Recovery Mode, check these steps:

Step 1: Enter Recovery mode

iPhone 8 and later:

1. Press and hold the Side button and either one of the Volume buttons. Your phone will show a "slide to power off" slider at the top. Slide it to shut off your device.

2. Plug your iPhone into a Mac or PC with a USB cable while holding the Side button. Keep pressing the button until the screen shows a cable pointing to computer, then release the button.

iPhone 7 (Plus), 6s, and 6:

1. Press and hold the Side button to make the sliders appear. Drag the slider all the way to the right and it will power off your iPhone.

2. Use a USB cable to connect your iPhone to a computer while holding the Volume Down button. Release the button only after you see the recovery mode screen.

iPhone SE (1st gen), and earlier:

1. Press and hold the Top button, wait for the power-off slider to appear on the screen. Move the slider to the off position, and your device will turn off.

2. Connect your iPhone to a Mac or PC while holding the Home button. Keep pressing the Home button until the screen shows recovery mode, then release.

Step 2: Locate your iPhone on your computer

After your unavailable gets into Recovery mode, it should now appear on your computer. Follow the instructions to start restoring your unavailable iPhone and fix the issue.

Open Finder on your Mac, click on the phone name on the left side of the Finder window under Locations to select. If your computer is running macOS Mojave or older, or has Windows installed, launch iTunes and select the iPhone icon in the upper-left corner of the window.

Step 3: Restore your unavailable iPhone

Once iTunes or Finder detects your iPhone on your Mac or PC, you will need to click the Restore button from the pop-up box. You are unable to choose Update option here — it won't handle this issue.

Wait for it to download iOS software and restore your iPhone that says unavailable.

A slight word of warning: during the restore process, your iPhone saying unavailable will be reset to factory settings, and all the data on the device will be erased completely. Meanwhile, The latest iOS version will reinstall on your iPhone. You'll be required to complete the setup process as well.

You'll be asked to complete the setup process after the restore.


Connect the unavailable phone into iTunes but doesn't work?
When your iPhone screen shows "iPhone Unavailable," it won't be detected by iTunes while attaching to PC. Instead, it requires you to put it into Recovery mode first, then choose Restore to fix the issue.
I try to connect the unavailable iPhone into PC, enter Recovery mode, and then try restoring it. But every time I do that, it failed. Anything wrong?
Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer. Also, do note that if the iOS firmware download takes more than 15 minutes, it will force you to exit the recovery mode screen. You need to repeat the steps above to start again.

Way 2: How to fix iPhone unavailable error using the 3rd party tool

The web also has many of third-party programs that can restore an iPhone when it locks you down. Our favorite is iPhone Unlocker. It's a specialized tool designed for both iPhone and iPad users to remove the Lock screen if you forgot the passcode or get the device locked after too many wrong attempts.

Free Download Free Download

The wonderful thing about using this unlocking software is that you can just follow the onscreen prompts, and it will automatically find the most appropriate iOS software to reset your iPhone and get it back to work.

Be caution: All your data on the device will be erased after the reset process.

Steps to unlock iPhone stuck on "iPhone Unavailable"

Here is how you can unlock an iPhone when it shows iPhone Unavailable screen using this tool.

1. Run the program on your Mac or PC's.

iPhone Unlocker groups things into 3 sets of tools that focus on different tasks. In this case, we want to select "Wipe Passcode" from the interface to remove iPhone Unavailable lock screen.

Next, plug your iPhone into the computer with a USB cable. You may need to click "Device connected but not recognized?" link on the screen to put the phone into recovery mode. Relax, it's easy to get there.

Step 2: Choose correct information for your device.

Once your iPhone is in Recovery mode and is recognized, select the necessary information depending on the model of your device. If it gets wrong, you risk failing to reset your device and repeat the steps to start again.

Step 3: Download iOS software.

Ok, now all you have to do is click "Start" button at the bottom and wait for it to download the appropriate iOS software for your phone. This may take a few minutes,

Step 4: Unlock your iPhone with unavailable screen.

When the download is finished just click the "Unlock" button on the screen. This will open a dialogue box for you to confirm if you are sure about resetting the iPhone, which deletes all your files and updates it to the latest iOS version.

Go ahead and input 0000 to confirm, followed by "Unlock" button.

Now, the reset process might take a few minutes. In the new screen that opens, there's a circular progress bar around the circle telling you the percentage of unlocking work done.

That's it. As you can see, removing an iPhone not available message with iPhone Unlocker is pretty easy and quick.

Way 3: How to unlock an iPhone saying unavailable via iCloud Find My

The Find My feature was introduced as a tool for the owner to locate and track his/ her iOS device on the map. You can also use it to erase your iPhone remotely if needed, meaning an unavailable device can itself be easily wiped as long as it displays on the map. Here's how.

1. Sign into the iCloud.com website with your Apple ID and password on computer or another available mobile phone.

2. Select the Find iPhone icon from the menu once logged in.

3. Click on All devices at the top center of the window and click on your iPhone that is saying unavailable to select it.

4. Click on Erase iPhone in the pop-up box.

5. Confirmed your selection.

What to do after you bypass the unavailable screen

After restoring the iPhone and remove the unavailable screen using one of the methods above you can now continue the wizard on the screen to finish setting up the device.

  • Swipe up to open the Hello screen.
  • Use Quick Start or set up manually
  • Connect to a Wi-Fi network or a cellular network
  • Set up Face ID or Touch ID
  • Set a new passcode
  • Restore your data and apps from backup, if you have; or just select Don't Transfer Apps & Data.
  • Sign in with your Apple ID to remove the activation lock
  • Set up Siri

Final thoughts: don't forget to back up your data

There's no way to get past an unavailable screen on iPhone after multiple wrong passcode attempts without erasing all your data and information.

Backing up your iPhone is essential because you don't want to put your device into a variety of potential accident again. You can choose to make regular backups to iCloud by enabling the iCloud Backup option in Settings or manually back up your phone to PCs and Macs using iTunes or Finder.

About Katrin Gray
Katrin Gray is the Junior Editor at HigoSpot. With a bachelor's degree in Computer Applications, he has been covering Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, iOS, Android, Social Media, Gaming, and more as a professional writer for over 5 years.
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