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Fix “iPad Disabled. Connect to iTunes” Message

Fix “iPad Disabled. Connect to iTunes” Message.

Overall, iPads are pretty solid devices. There is little that can go wrong with them, but at times you can be overwhelmed by a problem that doesn’t seem to have an easy solution.

One of the infamous iPad issues is a disabled iPad. Connect to iTunes “. There’s no obvious way to fix this problem, especially since Apple advertises the iPad as a standalone computer these days. This means that many users don’t even have another computer with iTunes.

Before we look at how to fix iPad won’t connect to iTunes, it’s worth taking a minute to discuss why this is happening at all.

What is causing this error?

The most common reason for the iPad shutdown is repeatedly entering the wrong password. This usually simply results in a temporary block, starting at 15 minutes. Wait for this time to pass and you can enter the correct password as usual. Keep making the wrong attempts, however, and pretty soon you will come across a terrible message.

In our case, this happened after you forgot to turn off the Bluetooth keyboard and then put it in your bag, where the wrong passcodes were repeated while walking. You may also find that someone (maybe a small child) tried to unlock your iPad, but just put it back where they found it when it went offline.

Bad News

Once your iPad is disabled in this way, you will have almost no way to save the information that is currently on the device. The best thing you can do is wipe data from iPad and then restore any kind of backup. Unfortunately, by the time this message appears on your iPad’s screen, it will be too late to back up if you haven’t previously synced your iPad with a copy of iTunes on a trusted computer.

The good news is that you probably have some form of automatic backups, even if you haven’t explicitly configured it. If you’ve signed in to iCloud and recently left iPad charged and connected to Wi-Fi, chances are it has backed up your iPad content.

So let’s take a look at how to restore iPad to its previous state, starting by following the instructions that accompany the error message.

Connect it to iTunes

The error may indicate that the iPad needs to be connected to iTunes to resolve the issue, but it does not indicate that there are multiple conditions for this.

First of all, you will need a computer with iTunes that you synced with earlier and on which you should have created a backup. Keep in mind that if you have iCloud backup enabled then this route doesn’t make sense. Better to just reset your iPad and restore your iCloud backup. This is because iCloud backup and local iTunes backup are mutually exclusive.

If you’ve previously synced with iTunes on the affected computer, you may still be able to back up from a locked tablet. Connect it to your computer via USB and then proceed with the backup process as usual in iTunes.

If successful, just click the “Restore iPad” button.

This should repair and unlock the tablet.

DFU Mode with iTunes

If you’ve never used iTunes with your iPad before, you can still use this software to unlock and delete data from iPad. So that you can restore your iCloud backup later.

This is called “DFU” mode or device firmware update . This is the most reliable way to get your iPad back to its original state out of the box. Getting the iPad into DFU mode is pretty tricky as it takes a good amount of time and a precise set of button presses.

There are also two sets of steps, depending on whether your iPad model has a Home button or not. The new iPad Pro models (2018 and newer) are one example of iOS devices that don’t have a Home button and use Face ID to unlock.

Let’s start with the steps to put an iPad with a Home button in DFU mode:

  1. Open iTunes if you haven’t already.
  2. Turn off iPad
  3. Use an MFi-certified cable to connect iPad to your Mac or Windows computer.
  4. With the iPad off, hold the power button for about three seconds.
  5. Without releasing the power button, press and hold the Home button for another 10 seconds.
  6. Release the power button but hold the Home button for another five seconds.

If you did everything correctly, then the iPad screen should remain blank, and iTunes will give you a message that it has detected the iPad in DFU mode, with a proposal to start recovery.

Now let’s move on to an iPad that doesn’t have a Home button, such as iPad Pro 2018:

  1. Open iTunes if it doesn’t already.
  2. Turn off iPad
  3. Use an MFi-certified cable to connect iPad to your Mac or Windows computer.
  4. With the iPad off, hold the top button for three seconds.
  5. Without releasing the top button, press and hold the volume down button for about 10 seconds.
  6. Release the top button, but hold the volume down button for another five seconds.

The screen should remain blank and iTunes will inform you that it has detected the iPad in recovery mode, with the option to recover it.

Erase iPad Remotely

If your iPad still has an Internet connection and you’ve previously set up Find iPad, you can run Remote Wipe and Reset iPad. Just go to the Find My website and sign in with your Apple ID. Find your iPad and select the option to erase it.

After that, you can restore your iCloud backup after you sign in to your device again.

Is it possible to reset iPad without iTunes?

The answer at the time of writing is no. If you don’t have a computer other than an iPad, then the only option is to use someone else’s computer to recover DFU. We expect Apple to remove the need for tethered recovery at some point in the future, but if you can’t use the cloud delete feature, you’ll need to connect your tablet to your computer.

If you don’t have anyone whose computer you can use, then the next step is your best bet.

Go to the Apple Store

If all else fails, the best option for connecting your iPad to iTunes is to take your disabled iPad to the Apple Store. You may need to provide proof that this is actually your iPad, but if all else fails, the staff here can help you reset your iPad.

Consider this a last resort, but it’s good to know that there is a way out beyond what you can do yourself. At the end of the day, this message doesn’t mean the iPad is broken in any way.

Just keep in mind that the people at Apple themselves are powerless to save information on the iPad itself. The whole point of an encryption system is to protect your information from intruders. Including Apple itself, otherwise we could not trust their products!

Things will be fine!

While losing all of the information stored locally on your iPad can be quite an inconvenience, most people will do just fine with restoring the latest backup. Even if you don’t have a suitable backup or a backup with all the information you need, you still fail.

If you use services like DropBox or Google Drive, you may find that your photos and other documents have been automatically copied outside of the built-in iCloud service. Many iOS apps also have their own independent cloud backup systems. So there may be a way for individual apps to get their specific data back.

Of course, prevention is better than cure. So make sure you regularly proactively back up your iPad in case it ever gets disabled again.

It’s also worth mentioning that at the time of writing, there is good reason to believe that Apple is going to get rid of iTunes. This means that this error message is likely to follow the dodo path in the future as well. Since Apple wants its iPad to be considered a laptop replacement, the “Connect to iTunes” message is a rudimentary return that will surely be removed at some point.

Fix “iPad Disabled. Connect to iTunes” Message

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