Connect the iPad to your computer.
Press and hold Home and Power on the iPad for around 10 seconds.
This should unlock the iPad and connect to iTunes.
-> iPhone, iPad, iPod touch: Wrong passcode results in red disabled screen
-> iPhone, iPad, iPod touch: Understanding passcodes
In other words I can us it to mail/read/play but Safari and AppStore icons are gone.
Turn off the Restrictions.
If you do not know the passcode, you will need to Sync then Restore to reset the passcode.
From the Users Guide:
Turn on restrictions:
1 Choose General > Restrictions, then tap Enable Restrictions.
2 Enter a four-digit passcode.
3 Reenter the passcode.
Turn off restrictions: Choose General > Restrictions, then enter the passcode. Tap
Disable Restrictions, then reenter the passcode.
If you forget your passcode, you must restore the iPad software using iTunes. See
“Removing a Backup” on page 164.
As stated you need to "delete" the backup in order to restore a locked iPad, Since you know the passcode I would make a copy of the backup file before you delete it via the Devices tab in Itunes' preferences. After you restore it to factory defaults you can put your copy back to it proper place and then restore from backup. You can find the location of the backup file here.
Thanks to all who responded, problem solved as follows :
0 backup ( did not need it since I had a backup ready)
1 restore factory settings (page 160 or so in the manual)
2 in iTunes, click restore and point to the most recent backup
3 ... took 3 hours and failed in the restore apps part.
3bis re-do 3 (restore), this time all is OK, takes 4 hours though
As a reminder the problem was :
with the restrictions on my daughter played daily with the restrictions code panel... and in the long run maybe she entered 30 or 50 or 100 or whatever large number of wrong codes... which resulted in blocking the panel altogether, preventing ANYONE even with the RIGHT code to unlock the thing.
Thanks again for your advice.
oh and BTW there was one small side-effect : app folders are gone in the process. So I had to reorganize all manually. Not a big deal and it revealed that when no folder is used my apps use up more than the max 11 screens (I have 300 apps) available on the iPad. You can see the 15 panels (300 apps divided by 20 apps per panel) in iTunes but the 4 that outnumber 11 are greyed out. Still they are present on the iPad and you can access them through the search box, they are simply not displayed.
There is an easier answer.
My kid's phone had the same problem. I thought he was trying to hack the application restriction passcode but it turns out that he was rolling the system date forward to cheat in zombieville which apparently screwed up the lockout time restriction.
And this uncovered a loophole for bypassing the application restriction lockout. If you can, just roll the system date forward past the lockout expiration and enter your passcode again.
It worked for me.
This 'could' be used by a determined user to bypass the lockout feature and brute-force passcode-guess the phone (good luck with that!) but at least it allowed me to unlock the phone immediately instead of waiting the 19,200 minutes (aprox 2 week) lockout or having to factory-reset the phone like some folks apparently resorted to.
Apple - don't fix this, it's not a bug, it's a feature. Right?