How to Recover Your iPhone Restrictions Passcode

By , Mar 16, 2011

Passwords come by the hundreds these days. People are juggling multiple email accounts, online accounts, and computer logins. If one of those passwords should escape you for any reason, there’s generally a way to get it back. I’m sure we’ve all clicked the famous ‘Forgot Password’ link at some point in our lives.

But what about your iPhone? What if you set a ‘Restrictions Passcode’ a long time ago and now you can’t remember the digits? You’ve got a couple of options. For starters, you could restore your iPhone as a new device through iTunes. You can’t restore from a previous backup, because your passcode is saved in that file…..

Your other option isn’t quite so painful. All you need is about 5 minutes and iPhone Backup Extractor for Mac OS X, which you can get here. This guide is specifically for Mac OS X users. But if you meet the criteria and could really use some help recovering your iPhone passcode, dig in!

Step 1: Once you’ve download the free app, iPhone Backup Extractor, open it up and let it extract itself. You will then want to click ‘Read Backups’. A list of your previous backups should now populate.  Just select the backup that you want to extract the passcode from.

Step 2: You should now be looking at a list of apps that have been backed up. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click ‘iOS Files’, and then ‘Extract’. I recommend extracting it to your desktop so you can find it easily.

Step 3: Extraction will take a minute. Once completed, open the folder it created called ‘iOS Files’. Look for the file named ‘com.apple.springboard.plist’, and open it up.

Step 4: As you scroll down this list of properties, you should see a key titled ‘SBParentalControlsPin’ and to the right of it a value. This is what your Passcode is, enter it in your iDevice, and thank Simon Blog for sharing this little tidbit with us.

It is important to note that jailbroken users, can also locate their passcode via SSH. All you have to do is navigate to ‘var/mobile/Library/Preferences’.

Has anyone ever forgotten their passcode? Has anyone used this or a better method to recover it? Tell us below!

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  • Jason Masters

    There’s no windows option? That’s pretty neat though!

  • http://iphonedownloadblog.com will zacarias

    wat theres no windows version???

  • anhakeem
  • AppleBits

    Haven’t had this problem …yet… But the info is definitely GOOD to know! Thanks!!

    • AppleBits

      Gave it a try, and it recommends another app to get ($20~) to read the text properly. But I didn’t do that. I can still find the info…it’s just all jammed together. But it’s there. :) Neat!

  • Buraq

    I didn’t work fro me,,,, and specifically there were 2 problems:
    1- text edit didn’t show me the .plist file as it is shown above.
    2- i used a plist editor on windows and it didn’t show the values shown in the photo above.
    YES i double checked it and it’s the same file name com.apple.springboard.plist. and my iPhone is jailbroken. Any ideas!!

  • tets

    test

  • Prps

    I tried too but all data in folders were written in monaco font (encrypted i guess) any help or suggestions?

  • AppleBits

    I’m not at my Mac right now, but I know I had to look for the right file to find this com.apple.springboard.plist. I will see if I can find it and repost where it was.

  • Prps

    Still need help i found all the folders but the contents are encrypted it think (all written in monaco font … mumbo jumbo lol) help please

  • Fido dido

    do i have to
    1. sync my iphone with itunes
    2. or i have to install iphone backup extractor on mac and then connect my phone

  • mHardy

    When I open the com.apple.springboard.plist it doesn’t display in the format above; I assume you are opening the file in something other than Text Edit and didn’t mention it? Opening it in text edit is not yielding any useful four number combinations. What program do I open that file in? Thanks

  • Drew

    If you need a Windows version (it can also be used on Mac & Linux too) try:

    http://www.iphonebackupextractor.com/blog/2011/apr/7/how-to-recover-iphone-restrictions-passcode/

    There is a bit of extra info on there and it tells you more about how to read the files in general. You can do all you need with the free app.

    Hope it helps

    • http://www.facebook.com/HSKYFAN Brian Emanuels

      Thank you for the pointer to the Windows version – it worked great for me!

  • dfa

    You’re a life saver

    Thank you soooooooo much

  • macuser

    I’m having the same problem. I found all the folders but the ‘springbaord’ file contents are encrypted. I cannot view the contents with TextEdit or PList Editor Pro 1.5. PLEASE HELP!!!!

  • macuser

    For those who were also unsuccessful with these instructions for recovering your restrictions passcode on an iPhone 3GS (firmware version 4.3.2) try these steps:

    1. Jailbreak your iPhone using RedSn0w. Instructions available at: http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com/jailbreak/. BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS EXACTLY paying extra special attention to YOUR iOS firmware version!

    2. Then (on your Mac) use the Cyberduck program to SSH into your iPhone to view the necessary file. Cyberduck is available at: http://download.cnet.com/Cyberduck/3000-2160_4-10246246.html

    Good luck!

    • macuser

      be forewarned: I jailbroke my iPhone 3GS firmware version 4.3.2 to recover my restrictions passcode which worked beautifully! :)

      I then upgraded to firmware version 4.3.3 (becz I only needed to jailbreak for the above reason). Now my push notifications for ALL apps that use them EXCEPT the original ‘Messages” text messaging app won’t work :( Any suggestions? Thanks!

  • edna turnblad

    This is brilliant, however these instructions have omitted key steps. The springboard file you want (there’s more than one) is located in iOS Files>Library>Preferences. In order to read this file you have to open it in a free Apple program called Property List Editor. Then the file will look like the example above and you can access your lock code.

    I would suggest clicking the simonblog link, searching for “restrictions passcode” and following his instructions which include all this missing stuff plus a link to the apple page for the plist editor program.

    • macuser

      the plist editor file DID NOT allow me to view the file, it remained encrypted :(

  • Mazen

    Thanks you save my life

  • jay

    will this work to retrieve a hidden email password stored on my iPhone?

  • John Ol

    It works! It really works!!
    Oh maaaaan!!!! I’m sooooo grateful!!! I’ve been trawling through the net trying to figure out how to get back my safari and all internet functions on my iphone 4, I set a restriction for my pictures [or tried to] and forgot the code and for about a month plus I’ve had safari, youtube, appstore and itunes missing. It got so bad that all my apps went off, except the default ones.

    But this Extractor does work, the code is in there if you follow the instructions, it was at the bottom not at the right but you just have to go through the short list. Thanks man, really greatful! Wohooo! Got my phone back.

  • Karam

    I don’t have mac I have microsoft PC

  • RH Conway-hyde

    You ought to tell Applecare about this fix. They tried today but couldn’t help yet you fixed it for me. many thanks

  • PDP

    Is there any way to extract a VPN Shared Secret password this way?

  • Danny

    I extracted and viewed the springboard.plist but I can’t find the SBParentalControlsPIN row.

    I have restrictions enables for sure and I failed attempt 32 times…

  • Guido

    What about IOS 3.x ? I can not find the label “SBParentalControlsPin” in the “com.apple.springboard.plist” file. Who can help me?

  • princess

    if i do this, does it mean that my iphone will get jailbroken? i dont like to jailbreak my iphone :(

    • macuser

      Yes your iPhone will be jailbroken but you can then restore it to the default settings which will reverse the jailbreaking.

  • Patrick Vahabzadegan

    i am getting it all the way until 4, when I open it up it is in code and I cant figure out what Im doing wrong. HELP

  • http://twitter.com/aamir__mir Aamir Mir

    any way to use this on ios5

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cole-Nielsen/100000977610384 Cole Nielsen

    i couldnt find the file springboard thing where is it

  • Carrie Mace

    I did this with the windows link and everything came through as you said *except* there is no “‘SBParentalControlsPin’ ” line. I have other “SBParentalControl…” but none that say ‘pin’ after it. It does have a “SBParentalControlsFailedAttempts” line with the next line stating how many I’ve had. When I go to ‘reset settings’ it needs, you guessed it, a passcode that I do not know. Weird, because I only have four that I use and I’ve tried about 10, just making them up. Is this a bug with the 3gs? PLEASE help me do something besides erase my entire phone!

  • Emily Isom

    I cant find the file name com.apple.springboard.plist. HELP!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Caitlin.Waddick Caitlin Waddick

    “The springboard file you want (there’s more than one) is located in iOS Files>Library>Preferences.” You will be able to open it as a multi-line string of characters, not easy on the eyes, using a basic text editor (or MS Word or Apple Pages), especially if you rename the ending from .plist to .txt. Your passcode will be the only group of 4 numbers, probably near the end of the long character string of mumbo jumbo. … If you can open .plist using a developer’s application, such as Property List Editor (available for free; runs Mac OS 10.6), then your password may display as per the instructions above following they key, ‘SBParentalControlsPin’.

  • tarek y

    com.apple.springboard.plist isnt there

  • Ego

    What if I’ve never done any previous backups. I’ve tried all these and I am unable to see that SBParentalControlsPin,n

  • http://www.facebook.com/will.hadley.94 Will Hadley

    for everyoone that said the file was encrypted even when you used the plist editor, go to itunes, go to your phone and scroll down, make sure that the box that says encrypt local backup is not checked, it will ask you for a password, if the password is not already set then use your apple id password. repeat the steps in the blog but make sure you open it with plist editor and not textedit. it will then show up just like it is in the image in the blog. this worked for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/batjin.l Танхай Этгээд

    bplist00fl&

    how about this? i opened but it appeared

     !”#$%&'()*+,-./0123.58.:.?@A_%com.apple.weathernotifications.bundle_com.apple.SocialWeeApp_com.apple.stocksweeapp.bundle_com.apple.Shoebox_com.glu.gunbros ¨EFGHIJKLMNOP]DOMAIN_PERSON_DOMAIN_APPLICATIONDOMAIN_MUSIC^DOMAIN_PODCASTDOMAIN_VIDEO_DOMAIN_AUDIOBOOK[DOMAIN_NOTEDOMAIN_EVENT^DOMAIN_MESSAGE_DOMAIN_VOICEMEMO_DOMAIN_REMINDER_com.apple.MobileSMS SMSSearchUAlert_texttone:Tri-toneØVWXYZ[]^_`abcdefghijk_Barbayar.Free.Mazaalai_com.capcommobile.ghostbusters_com.hg.gng3free_com.apple.AppStore_com.apple.MobileSMS_com.apple.videos_com.NickAndRyan.eyeDrive_cc.knittel.GeoCapitals_com.apple.mobilesafari_com.facebook.Facebook_com.imediapp.appgratuites_com.apple.mobilephone_com.apple.newsstand_com.apple.MobileAddressBook_com.imangi.templerun2_com.apple.Preferences_com.supercell.magic_com.apple.mobileslideshow_com.apple.camera_com.apple.mobiletimer_com.apple.mobilemail_Gemini.AnyShape _texttone:Sent TweetZ6.1:10B144″?Ä��V10B144_texttone:Tri-toneYComposite��W�l�y�Ç�£�¿�Õ�‘�(Ilxî¢ÃÁ˝4VrÅöπ»Ë2L`}ô≠√⁄� 

    .BKOPYmopÖÜâïò¨≠Æص›ˆ*KYn{äó™∂√“˜3LeÖ󨬒 ”:VnÑ¢∫“Ë/FXYZ[q|Åàú�������������u��������������¶

  • mayra

    I find everything but it won’t show the “SBParentalControlsPin” what do I do?!

    • David Kunkleman

      I had the same thing. All sound files, no SBPParentalControlsPin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/faced.booked.355 John T Green

    I have nine listings, none are SBParentalControlsPin. They are all to do with sound. Oh well, time to redo the phone. BLah.

  • Leo

    Ok so I see alot of unanswered questions for those of us running IOS 6.1.2. I can’t do this because I don’t see the pin in my settings. Do you or don’t you know how to resolve this issue for users like me? I’d appreciate it.

  • disqus_VUPsOmIyJY

    don’t work for me

  • Cat

    Went through the whole procedure and installed the Property List Editor but couldn’t open the “com.apple.springboard.plist” with the app. Simply refuses to work. Can some one please send me an email where I can send him the file so he can read it for me?

    • Leonel Posada

      There is an app for that in cydia! It turns it off, spread the word. You can even reset the password ! Find it in the search option … Just type restrictions password . I forgot the name. It worked for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/iamthealex19 Alexander Clifford

    I opened the “com.apple.springboard.plist” file and the TextEdit file shows up instead.

  • Shashwat Tripathi

    File wont open it opens in text edit what should I do about this?

  • Leonel Posada

    Thanks for your help. But I jailbroke my phone and I found an app in cydia that actually allowed me to turn of the restriction on my phone . So I turned it off and created a new password. Thank God!

  • NandKishor Chaudhary Yatri

    Didnt work with my phone pls help…..

  • eholder

    This no longer works on 7.0.4. There is now a restrictionspassword.plist and it contains a 40 character sha-1 code containing a separate salt key making it impossible to decipher. If there is a way to get around this, someone please post. Don’t want to restore.