I guess the title says it all. I've the restriction code long time ago, and when I wanted to do actuall in-app purchase it turned out I cannot recall the password. Worse, now after 10 tries I have to wait 60 minutes before each consecutive tries.

The threads on forums are somehow misleading. Some of them claim the only way is to do fresh install and recover all the stuph manually. Some other people post some not entirely clear solutions involving restore from backup. Closest I got was the iPhoneBackupExtractor tool, which is suppose to read the plain text key code from the iPad backup. It worked to the point of getting hands on com.apple.springboard.plist. Unfortunately the password is not in this file.

Please keep in mind, this is about the "restriction code", not the main lock code. iPad if fully functional and the one feature blocked is in-app purchase.


What amaksoud said is true. I have the original iPad on 4.3.1 and after trying other advice decided to "read" the com.apple.springboard.plist.

Here's how to do it and no need to jailbreak.

Download iFunBox; it's free and works for OS X and Windows. Choose Raw File System and navigate to var/mobile/Library/Preferences. Select the file named com.apple.springboard.plist and choose copy to Mac (in my case). Copy the file to your preferred location.

Then in Finder you select the com.apple.springboard.plist (that you just copied to your Mac) and look for <key>SBParentalControlsPIN</key>. The 4 numbers located between the tag <string> </string> are your Restriction passcode.

For example <string>1234</string> means your passcode is 1234.

Hope this helps.

  • I think it's no more actual for modern iOS. I tried plutil -extract SBParentalControlsPIN xml1 com.apple.springboard.plist and got com.apple.springboard.plist: Could not extract value, error: No value at that key path or invalid key path: SBParentalControlsPIN. – Alex Koz. Dec 30 '17 at 17:12

I'm afraid I have some bad news for you... As you would have guessed (otherwise there would be no point in using restriction codes), there is no easy fix for this issue.

I found this in the support documents of Apple (on page 196):

If you forget your passcode, you must restore the iPhone software from iTunes. See “Updating and Restoring iPhone Software” on page 252.

And if you restore your iPhone, make sure you don't restore them from a back-up since the restriction code is stored in this backup...

So basically, you have quite a dilemma here and you have to choose between maintaining your data and learn to live with the restrictions on one hand, or get rid of the restrictions but start from scratch with your iPhone on the other hand.

  • I am OK with a fresh start if there is no soultion. But is there a tool to restore app data from the backup? I can handle the hassle of going over the install process again, but I wouldn't like to lose progess in some games and stuph like that. – mdrozdziel Apr 4 '12 at 7:53
  • @acidburn2k - Ask that question as a stand alone one. There are several softwares to save app state. Do search for a similar question first - I recall answering one and will search now too... – bmike Jun 14 '12 at 4:29

The following is for iOS pre version 5

I've read this somewhere and people say it worked for them.

You will need a program called iPhone Backup Extractor and you will also need some old backup for your iDevice.

Install the program on your machine ( works for mac and windows ) then run it.

The program will show you a list of your recent backups, chose the last one and then click on the "expert mode" button, it will list files on the back as in windows explorer.

Navigate to the following path Library/Preferences and then look for the following file com.apple.springboard.plist Click on check box to the left of the file then click on extract. Open the extracted file using the iPhone backup extractor-File-view Plsit menu, search for SBParentalControlsPIN parameter and you'll find your PIN next to it.

Rightnow I'm looking for some other work around for iOS 5.x as starting from version 5 this PIN was encrypted and saved to another file named Keychain-backup.plist.

  • Welcome to Ask Different! Thanks for your answer, amaksoud! Can you please add a link to the software you mention in your answer? It is always helpful to add a link to help the OP to find the right software. Thank you. – daviesgeek Jul 19 '12 at 21:48

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .