Alexandra Malureanu
Published by Alexandra Malureanu,

This post was updated in May 2017

3 options to get back your restrictions PIN code (parental control)

Restrictions settings are regularly used if you want to restrict children's access to specific apps or content from Music, Podcasts and iBooks. It sets up a 4 digit code that you need to input each time you want to access or use the restricted apps or features.

You can also enforce Restrictions using a profile (most often when using the iPhone for business or education programs) or prevent in-app purchases (read Apple's guide on how to work restricting unauthorised purchases.)

Forgot your restrictions passcode on iPhone 6 or 6S?

Forgetting a passcode happens to everyone. Especially if these are settings that you don't change regularly. So what to do if you find yourself locked out of the 'Restrictions' settings?

Enable and Disable Restrictions for iPhone 6 or 6S

Fortunately there are ways to retrieve your Restrictions settings without the need to restore your iPhone as a new device.

What happens if you keep failing adding the wrong Parental Restrictions code?

If under Settings you had 'Restriction ON' and when you try to unlock the code it says '1 failed attempt', we can help you retrieve that code. Show me!

You can of course think that you might have miss-entered it so you perhaps want to retry but then you might end up with '2 failed attempts'. Don't worry if you continue and try a third time, Apple won't lock you out but simply slow it down for you.

Note: The parental restrictions code is not related to your device PIN passcode. We cannot retrieve your phone unlock code.

Option 1: Manually getting the apps if you don't have a very recent backup of your data

Take a screenshot of all your home screens and save them somewhere safe on your PC > ensure you have all your contacts and keychain data are synced with iCloud > erase your iPhone > set it up as a new device. Then you'd just log in with your iCloud ID and bring over your contacts and plug it into iTunes and sync all your apps. You'd use the screenshots you took initially in order to manually re-arrange to the same layout and folder names. *A clean install might fix any other issues you knew or not about but leaves you back with one hour of manual work.

Option 2: Find the restrictions code from your backup using iPhone Backup Extractor

Pre iOS 5: It is manually available and stored in the file from your backup. To get to that file just load your backup with iPhone Backup Extractor Lite Edition, go to Expert Mode > Library > Preferences. Then the list of files is alphabetically ordered so it should be easy to find. Tick the file and > Extract. You can open it using the Plist Editor from the iPhone Backup Extractor's navigation menu > File > View/Edit PList. And scan down until you get to the line saying < key>SBParentalControlsPin< /key>> below see the 'Restrictions Passcode', it will be in the following format < string>1234< /string>.

iOS 5 and iOS 6: Using iPhone Backup Extractor Basic Edition you may reset the Restrictions PIN to '1234' and also reset the failed attempts counter. To do that, load your backup with iPhone Backup Extractor > on the navigation menu click Utilities > Reset Restrictions PIN. Note - you will need to restore the backup of your iDevice to complete the process and you may lose any data added or changed on your device since the backup was last taken.If you are a more tech-savvy user and think you could well manage to manually hack your way to modifying the restrictions plist file yourself, here's our guide on how to reset the Restrictions Code without the need of purchasing the Basic Edition and by using only the iPhone Backup Extractor Lite Edition. Good luck and only try if you think you can complete it successfully.

iOS 7, iOS 8, iOS 9, iOS 10 and iOS 11: Using iPhone Backup Extractor Basic Edition you may retrieve the Restriction PIN without the need or resetting and restoring the backup. You just get your Restrictions PIN number by loading your backup with iPhone Backup Extractor > navigation menu click Utilities > Recover or Reset Restrictions PIN.

For more details, see our restrictions passcode recovery guide using the software here.

For Windows

Utilities retrieve Restrictions PIN iPBE

For Mac OS X

Restrictions PIN Recovery on Mac OS X

Option 3: Restore from a backup that was made before you added Restrictions passcode

The backup needs to be from before you had Restrictions settings on because otherwise the passcode will also be restored and you won't be anywhere closer. However, taking this path is not the best option and we recommend against it, especially if you have newer data that is not present in your old backup.

Help other users that might have troubles remembering their restrictions passcode by sharing this guide with them. And we're looking forward to hearing your own restrictions passcode story and see if we can help you.

We've helped over 3,000,000
people recover their lost iPhone data.
Let us help you too.
 Works with Windows and Mac