Recently, my iPad 2 was stolen. It was protected by a lock screen passcode.

Can the person who stole it access my data even if they don't know the passcode?

If I understand correctly, the only possibility is to restore a previous backup, so I guess the thief is out of luck. Is this correct?

  • If the passcode was a 4-digit one, I suggest changing it to a text password when you get your iPad back, because I've seen that hackers can try to brute-force guess the 4-digit one. Thankfully, there's no iPad 2 jailbreak at the moment, so that's not possible right now.
    – kirb
    Commented Nov 24, 2011 at 21:39

3 Answers 3


Sadly yes, the thief can access your data. All bets are off when they have physical access to your device.

The easiest way for the less scrupulous to gain access to your data is to back up the device through their iTunes via a traditional sync. Once done, they can access that back up with a variety of third party utilities, like iPhone Backup Extractor. They can gain access to your entire profile's contents, like you Address Book entries, pictures, and even your messages.

The process is outline here. This particular place talks of restoring it to another device, but with programs like iPhone Backup Extractor, that is not necessary, as you can pull the data right from the backup.

If you've got access to iCloud, I would strongly suggest a remote wipe of the device. Failing that, pray the thief isn't concerned with your data and just wants the lucrative device for their own use (which is usually the case).

  • 1
    That method seems to rely on access to the original iTunes. What about connecting it to another computer? Won't it ask for the passcode?
    – Swizzlr
    Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 16:03
  • Yes, as stated in the link provided by cksum: "You will need access to the computer they sync their iPad on and about 20 minutes." So if the thief has access to the Mac or Windows installed with iTunes that that iPad syncs to, then yes, the data is compromised. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 16:07
  • 1
    Thanks to all. I am relieved to hear that without access to the originale ITunes ( it's my case ), nothing can be done.
    – Michele
    Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 16:31
  • Right, wonderful. I should have read that more closely, though cksum seems to contradict that by saying "All bets are off when they have physical access to your device. The easiest way for the less scrupulous to gain access to your data is to back up the device through their iTunes via a traditional sync." This is misleading, if one requires access to the syncing Mac/PC to actually breach security.
    – Swizzlr
    Commented Nov 24, 2011 at 14:46
  • This answer is misleading. It doesn't make it clear (without reading the link) that the thief also needs access to the original PC used to sync the iPad with. Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 13:24

I stand corrected by first answer, but just to add to it.

Apple does not have any support for stolen products. It does list what you can do here

If you have MobileMe or iClound "Find my iPhone" you will be able locate it (providing it is 3G or connected to WiFi. You can also remote wipe the iPad and send messages to the iPad.


Sorry to hear about your loss. The following should bring some peace of mind.

Excerpts from Apple http://images.apple.com/ipad/business/pdf/iPad_Security_Overview.pdf

  • iPad offers 256-bit AES encoding hardware-based encryption to protect all data on the device. Encryption is always enabled and cannot be disabled by users
  • Devices can also be configured to automatically initiate a local wipe after several failed passcode attempts. This is a key deterrent against brute force attempts to gain access to the device. By default, iPad will automatically wipe the device after 10 failed passcode attempts.

Nonetheless, as a extra precaution, I would strongly recommend changing any passwords (emails, social media, financial, etc) that may be stored on that device.

  • Thanks, in the end I think the IPad appears to already very secure OOB.
    – Michele
    Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 16:35

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