Andrew Coles
Published by Andrew Coles,

Forgotten your iPhone "Restrictions Passcode"?

Many people set-up a "Restrictions Passcode" to regulate usage of their or someone else’s iPhone. It’s not hard to forget a passcode, especially if these setting aren’t changed regularly.

So what can be done if the worst scenario arises and you find yourself locked out of the "Restrictions" settings?

Passcode screen Restrictions on iPhone      Restrictions settings screen

Well fortunately there are a couple of ways to remedy this, and we are going to keep the process simple and do it without the need for jail-breaking. Anyone that has been told this is difficult or that "you need to restore your iPhone as a new device through iTunes" should read on!

You will need an iTunes or an iCloud backup to retrieve your iPhone’s "Restrictions Passcode". Make sure your backup contains the restriction PIN prior to proceeding by simply syncing your iPhone with iTunes. If you have already synced your iDevice since the "Restrictions Passcode" was set, you will not need to sync again.

Download the iPhone Backup Extractor

First you need to download the latest version of our application for Windows or for Mac. It’s free to use and perfect for small file extractions like this. The iPhone Backup Extractor runs on any Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8 or Windows 10 operating system, in both 32 or 64-bit modes. It will also work on Linux and OS X machines with Mono or Wine installed (both free).

For more information on installing and running the iPhone Backup Extractor check out our help page.

Extracting the "" file

Once the iPhone Backup Extractor is open, click on the "Expert mode" tab . This will open an explorer window where you can see all the files in your iTunes or iCloud backup. To find the file navigate to the following folder:

Home Domain > Library > Preferences

Springboard PList location

The list of files in this folder is alphabetical so it should be easy to find; once you found it, tick the box next to the mentioned file and click the "Extract" button.

You will then be asked to save the file, extract it somewhere easy to find like your Desktop.

Opening the "" file

Once you have saved the files to the Desktop, go back to the iPhone Backup Extractor and click "File". A drop-down menu will appear and the first option is "View Plist", click this option. It will open a read-only xml file containing various configurations.

At this point you maybe asking why do I need to do this step, can't I just open the file in a text editor? The answer is yes, but because the file will be in binary rather than raw XML you will not be able to read the contents. The "View Plist" option will automatically convert the binary to a readable XML format for you.

iPhone Backup Extractor PList viewer

Some users with jail-broken iDevices may have retrieved the file directly from their iDevice and will find it unreadable too. As it's the same file you can simple view it straight away with the PList viewer in the iPBE application.

Our latest version of the iPhone Backup Extractor software also includes a built-in .plist editor, so you can both view and edit .plist files. Select the mentioned file then use "Right click" on it and chose "View as PList".

Viewing the "SBParentalControlsPin" aka the "Restrictions Passcode"

Scan down the read-only file until you get to a line that says SBParentalControlsPin. Below this key is the "Restrictions Passcode", it will be in the following format 1234.

Parental Controls PIN

Make a note of this number and enter it back into your iPhone when the "Restrictions Passcode" is requested. Voilà, you should now have full access to your lost "Restrictions" settings, enjoy!

This process can be used for all iDevices that have the "Restrictions" option activated. This includes the following devices:

  • all iPad and iPad Mini models
  • all iPhone models
  • all iPod Touch models

For a faster alternative, see our restrictions passcode recovery guide here.

If you have any other helpful iPhone hints you would like to share, please let us know here or leave a comment on this blog and tell us story.

How to view the restriction PIN in iOS 5 or iOS 6

Previously, we found that once removed/re-added iOS 5 or iOS 6 no longer stored the Restrictions Passcode in the file. Until we found a workaround!:) So, iOS 5 and iOS 6 users that forgot Restrictions Passcode should follow our guide on how to recover Restrictions PIN without factory reset your iPhone or iPad on iOS 5 and iOS 6 iTunes backups.

How to reset the restrictions Passcode with 2 clicks using iPhone Backup Extractor

If you find it hard, don’t have enough time, need your parental controls PIN urgently or you are simply not that technical to follow our manual Restrictions PIN reset guide, then our latest automatic Restrictions PIN reset feature of the iPhone Backup Extractor software should do the job for you!

Note that for this feature you need a subscription plan. The iPhone Backup Extractor works on all iOS encrypted and unencrypted iTunes or iCloud backups.

The latest version of the iPhone Backup Extractor offers along with the extraction of your most used data (such as: contacts, SMS,call history, photos, calendar entries, videos and many more):

  • extraction of new backup data such as WhatsApp messages
  • new built in PList Editor that helps you view and edit .plist files
  • full support for the latest iOS 11 (including betas) backups
  • improved support for encrypted backups
  • full support for two-factors (2FA) authentication devices

Happy resetting of your Restrictions Passcode!

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