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I've got a broken 3GS and both the power button and touch screen are broken and there's a passcode I forgot on it. It's also no longer synced with iTunes.

So basically I want to get this thing in recovery mode but how? Can't reset it with iTunes. Can't power it off to get it in recovery mode.

How can I shut off the device (preferably with voice commands or USB) It's not jailbroken so no SSH either.

I've also got an iPod Touch (4th generation) and was wondering if I could steal the power button and/or screen from that, even if it's just to format it.

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This happened to me too. My son forgot his password, and he didn't want his iPhone anymore, but I wanted to erase the device before selling/recycling it.

The broken power button (also called the "sleep/wake" button) makes this difficult - normally you'd hold down the power & home buttons simultaneously while connected to iTunes via USB, all the way through a power cycle, through the apple logo's appearance, until it shows you the Recovery Mode screen as shown here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201412

Without a working power button, a variation is necessary. What I did was use the Assistive Touch feature, which my son had already turned on months before, since the power button wasn't working. Plug the device into a computer with iTunes loaded. Hold down the "Lock Screen" button (in the "Device" submenu) for a few seconds until the power-off slider is shown. Then, while holding down the Home button, slide the power-off slider to the right - keep holding the Home button for a long time, through the device powering off, through the Apple logo, and until the Recovery Mode screen appears.

Now follow the prompts in iTunes on the computer, and the device should reset as normal.

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Here's an idea. Take a magnet, and touch the screen with it. By any luck, the magnet will the trigger the system to erase all the memory, and you can reset it up. But if it doesnt work (because its just an idea and I never tried it), go to an Apple specialist. You may wanna recycle it and probably update it to a better phone, such as the iphone 5s and 5c that is coming out, unless you're collecting old iphones. But still this is an idea and I hope it works and helps for you.

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    So you've never tried this. But have you even heard of an instance where this actually worked? Where did you get the idea? – Chris W. Rea Sep 21 '13 at 13:51

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