I was doing iPhone backups via iTunes, under the Summary tab I saw this Encrypt Local Backup already checked, so I tried to uncheck but I saw this warning "Enter The Password to Unlock Your iPhone Backup" popped up. I thought all I need to do was enter my Apple ID password but turns out I was wrong. It said "The password you entered to unlock your iPhone backup was incorrect. Please try again." What should I do to recover the forgotten iTunes backup password?
First of all, it's worth noting that an iTunes backup password is different from an Apple ID password.
What are encrypted backups in iTunes?
According to this official Apple support article, they are no different than normal backups but just password protected — meaning anyone trying to use those backup files are required to input the correct password to unlock the content.
Here's a screenshot when I attempted to uncheck the "Encrypt local backup" option, after connecting my iPad to iTunes. A new window showed up asking me to enter the password, which should be the warning message you got for your iPhone, right?
Once again, the password you were prompted to input here is different from that of Apple ID. I entered the Apple ID password intentionally, it said "The password you entered to unlock your backup is incorrect. Please try again."
How to retrieve iPhone backup password in iTunes?
Unfortunately, Apple doesn't offer a password retrieval solution if you lose or forget your iTunes backup password. However, you may still be able to find it back using one of the methods below.
1. Fresh your mind.
People tend to be stressed out while losing access to an account. We all have bad memories. Sometimes the most effective way is not to think about it at all, and your forgotten password would come up to your mind all of a sudden.
I usually find myself have a better memory in the morning while everything is quiet. Some of my friends and colleagues say they tend to have a fresher mind after doing a 10-minute meditation. Anyway, the point is - do not be anxious and try it in a relaxing environment.
2. Ask your friend or family.
It is possible that you're not the one who encrypted the backups. Maybe one of your family or your best friend set it while she/he was using your computer. If so, just make a phone call and reach out. Remember to be nice while asking 🙂
3. Use an iTunes password recovery software
Honestly, I don't want to see you come to this step. Unless the backup is really important to you. Apple claims "there is no way to recover your information or turn off Encrypt Backup if you lose or forget the password."
To my surprise, however, I actually found a few programs able to do so. Well, this kind of iTunes backup password recovery software aren't cutting-edge technology, they just use traditional brute-force tactic — guessing hundreds if not thousands of different combinations, until finding the one that matches.
Here are a few programs you can try yourself. Note: they are not free software.
If you're on a Mac machine, get iTunes Password Genius for Mac.
You already have so many passwords, don't easily create another one. The fewer you have, the better you'll memorize them. Of course, it's another story if you're using a password management tool.
Personally, I don't recommend people encrypt iPhone/iPad backups if they choose to save the backup files on a PC or Mac. That's probably why Apple also sets iTunes not to encrypt by default. So, don't select that "Encrypt Local Backup" option unless you have to, for example, you're using backing up your device on a shared computer.
Meanwhile, there is another better option for iPhone backup — iCloud. The iCloud backup solution will automatically encrypt your content every time you do so, and you can use your Apple ID to log into iCloud drive to access those backup files.
Another perk using the iCloud backup method is that it's time-saving, as you don't have to connect your iOS device to a computer. Instead, just set it up on your device. Here's how. The only thing I dislike about iCloud is that Apple only offers 5GB storage for free, meaning you'll have to pay to upgrade and the price isn't cheap at all.
Influenced by the startup culture in the Silicon Valley, Jessica loves building things from zero to one and is keen on following news related to the Big Five tech giants and many SaaS startups.