Solutions to Retrieve the Forgotten iTunes Backup Password [Bug]


How often do you backup the data of your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch? The whole process is extremely easy — plug the iOS device into your computer, launch iTunes and hit the “Back Up Now” button. If you are extra careful about your data, then you may as well encrypt the backup by adding a password (don’t forget this password). There’s a problem though, not while backing up, but during the restoration process.

When you are restoring the backup, iTunes asks for a password. Sure, if you have selected “encrypt iPhone backup” check box, you will have to enter the password. But what if you haven’t selected this checkbox, yet iTunes pops up a window waiting for you to input the right password?

Apple iTunes Backup Interface

After facing this issue while trying to restore an old iPhone 4S backup via iTunes, I quietly launched a tab on my browser and dived into the official Apple forum for answers. I skimmed through a couple of threads and found the fix to this problem.

All I had to do was input the password of my Apple ID — it’s that simple! I was able to restore the backup. I figured out this solution may not work for all, which is why I have listed all the possible solutions — working solutions — below.

I had to wade through this Apple thread to obtain these fixes.

Recovering the Backup Password of iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

For those who have encrypted their backups and don’t remember the password, there’s nothing you can do now — apart from backing up your device’s data once again and making sure not to forget password the next time around. Follow the instructions given below only if iTunes pops up a window asking for a password, even though you didn’t encrypt the backup file.

Enter the Password of your current Apple account. If this doesn’t work, try entering the original password.

“I finally got through with the correct password. For some reason it was the original iTunes password I had setup when I first got the iPhone 4 and iTunes 17 months ago. I had changed that password soon after creating it and have since changed it several times.”

Try entering 1234… or 0000 as your password.

“Try 1234. Yeah… that’s what worked on mine.”

Reset password of your Apple account — while doing so, do not include special characters in your password.

“I then took the # out of my iTunes password and tried that and it worked.  The restore is currently in progress so we’ll see how it goes from here.”

Try the password of your iCloud account.

“My password was my iCloud password. With capitals, numbers, and specials.”

Disconnect and reconnect your iOS device.

  • Disconnect your iPhone
  • Sign out of your iTunes account from your computer
  • Connect your USB and iPhone again
  • Sign in again with your iTunes password

Use the passcode of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

“Tried everything until finally I figured that the screen lock password, the 4 numbers to unlock your iPhone might work. That worked for me.”

Try entering the password stored in your iOS apps. This can be a bit tricky, but give it a shot.

“In my case, the password turned out to be a numeric code I defined when I set up the Microsoft Exchange account on the phone.”

Use a different Mac or Windows computer.

“I have a friend with another mac, I copied the backup that was taken just before the iOS 5 update to their computer, and into the same iTunes folder for backups. I made sure iTunes is of the newest version [download iTunes 11.0.1]. Launched iTunes, plugged in iPhone, and hit the restore button… Done! No passwords, no questions, all my folders, accounts and settings are back as they were before the upgrade.”

Start with a new ‘dummy’ backup:

“Finally resolved it by

  • making a new backup and setting a password
  • restoring that new backup and then changing password.
  • Then restored original backup and used the new password I had created and it worked.”

Restart iTunes?

“Try quitting and re-opening iTunes. It worked for me.”

Enter your Windows or Mac login password? [Read: Reset Mac password]

“For me, on a PC, the password was my Windows user login password. I DO NOT, and HAVE NEVER used this password on anything other than my laptop’s login screen. So that was the solution for me. “

I have listed exhaustive number of solutions, hoping that at least one of them fixes the backup issue. Let me know the solution that worked for you by leaving your comment below!

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