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How to reset forgotten Restrictions password with iPhone restore?

1028210 Views 374 Replies Latest reply: Apr 5, 2014 5:00 AM by Lawrence Finch RSS Branched to a new discussion.
  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 Level 7 (24,510 points)
    There's an app for that. Actually, quite a few of them: 1password, splashid, ewallet, etc. Weel worth having; with any of these you only have to remember one password.
    Lenovo T-60, Intel iMac , Dell/Ubuntu 8, iPhone 3GS iOS 4.2.1, Windows XP Pro, Leopard 10.5.4
  • Andrea Rimicci Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
    jjkboswell wrote:
    ... I need an in-app purchase for CoPilot navigation app.

    ... clear the restrictions password? ...

    Large apps, as navigation ones, can only be downloaded by local network or by iTunes sync.

    If you lost the password and don't want lose everything on phone, I will suggest you to purchase the app by the store in iTunes, then sync it back to the iPhone.
    iMac 27" i7 2.8GHz 8GB, Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPhone 3GS (4.2.1) iPod touch (4.2.1)
  • Andrea Rimicci Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
    jjkboswell wrote:
    ..I wanted an "in-app" purchase...

    My bad!
    Try to guess your pass, hope you hadn't used real random numbers, but some pattern that has meaning to you and no one else.
    iMac 27" i7 2.8GHz 8GB, Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPhone 3GS (4.2.1) iPod touch (4.2.1)
  • Marcin2011 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    jjkboswell, unfortunately I saw this topic a couple months after you had the question but this might help other people in the future. Also since you ended up restoring from the original backup I'm guessing you still don't have the Parental Controls pin code after all. Here is how you can get it back:

    1. Download iPhone Backup Extractor (This is for OSX, if you are using Windows there are other Backup Extractor programs although my iPhone syncs with a Mac so you will have to tweak these directions to work with the Windows program, here is one of the Windows programs I found:
    2. Extract the Zip file you downloaded, move the App to your Applications folder, then run the App
    3. Click on Read Backups, in the window that pops up click on the backup file of the device you need the lost pin for, then click Choose
    4. You will have a list of all the Apps on the phone. Scroll to the bottom of the list and click on iOS Files, then click on Extract. Choose a folder where you want the files to be extracted to.
    5. After it finishes extracting go to the folder where you extracted the files and follow this directory path: iOS Files --> Library --> Preferences
    6. In that folder find the file "" and open it. (Read note below if on Windows)
    7. In Property List Editor look for the key titled "SBParentalControlsPin"
    8. Look to the right of that entry and you will see the 4 digit PIN. You can now remove/modify parental controls

    (NOTE: If you are on Windows and do not have a program that will read PLIST files then open the file with Notepad instead. It will mostly look like garbled junk and words running together but towards the end of the file look for 4 successive digits, if there is more than one place with 4 successive digits then try them all, one of them will be your pin).
    iPhone 4, iOS 4, Macbook Air
  • sulli75 Calculating status...
    Thank you! My 15 year old was (understandably) upset when I "forgot" the password and we thought we'd have to restore and lose everything just to change/turn off the parental controls. Your post saved me from his wrath.

    First, I'm usually pretty leery of downloading programs in posts on message boards, but I went with it, and used the (free) one at So, for anyone else reading this, it's a safe program as far as I can tell. I saved it, extracted the zip file and ran the one that said App (I didn't have to move anything to an app folder or anything). I had to click on "expert" and then scrolled to "Library" and "Preferences". I located the "" file. It took a minute or two to realize I had to put a checkmark just before the file name in order to get the "extract" button (down at the bottom) to become available. I exctracted that file, opened it with notepad and then scrolled around until I found the four digits.

    Now, the real kicker is .... the four digits that were shown were the four digits I'd originally tried on my first attempt. When that didn't work the first time around I tried other codes until I gave up. Anyway, I went back and tried that code again and it worked, so crisis averted.

    Thank you so much for your post!

    And I agree with the other poster... it seems silly to me that the parent who sets up the code can't reset it if it's forgotten without losing EVERYTHING. Seems like there could be a secure way of easily resetting it... perhaps having it sent to the email address of the person who put the code on in the first place... after answering security questions? There's gotta be a better way!
  • iamsmurph Calculating status...
    Thank you Thank you Thank YOU

    This method worked flawlessly. Running iPhone 3GS with 4.3 and Toshiba Laptop. The 4 digits were located in the last bit of information and worked great. I struggled for 3 hours looking for a solution.

    Thank you again
    Apple, iOS 4
  • spiffothemouse Calculating status...
    I tried this on iOS4.3 (iP4) and that line doesn't appear in the PList editor. Is this a new change in iOS 4.3? Any suggestions appreciated.
    iPhone 4, iOS 4
  • Holldoll78 Calculating status...

    Thank you so much!!  This worked on my iPod touch that my 3 year old had gotten a hold of and set up a restrictions passcode.


    I too think it is pretty silly to be able to do a restore and lose the actual device passcode but not the restrictions passcode.

  • icefall5 Calculating status...

    "Now, the real kicker is .... the four digits that were shown were the four digits I'd originally tried on my first attempt. When that didn't work the first time around I tried other codes until I gave up. Anyway, I went back and tried that code again and it worked, so crisis averted."


    That's my problem. I know exactly what my code is, but it's apparently incorrect and won't unlock my restrictions after I restored to factory settings and then restored from a backup.

  • danielefromquarrata Calculating status...

    Thank you!!! Finally!!

    Same situation of icefall5.. the code I tried the first time was the right one!

    And the phone gave it as wrong passcode.

    I'm sure of it becouse I start writing the passcode I was trying (to not repeat the same code several times) and I went crazy... :-(

    Anyway now everything is ok! Good!!

  • brucefrommckinney Calculating status...

    Yay!!  After several "sexting" issues with our teenage son, I needed to remove Safari from his phone.  Resetting it didn't reset the parental permission password, and my husband and I didn't have a clue, since the phone has been passed around between us.  This worked like a charm, except I had to download "Text Wrangler" to read the .plist files.  Thanks so much!!

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