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How To Recover your iPhone Restrictions PIN

Recently I was playing around with my iPhone settings and set a Restrictions PIN for disabling specific apps on the phone.  Today when I went to turn off the Restrictions Settings guess what…. Yeah, I forgot the pin. Oh great…  Unfortunately, a system restore didn’t remove the PIN either and since I didn’t feel like doing a wipe-and-reload, I came up with a new solution.

Let me introduce you to the iPhone Backup Extractor!

The iPhone Backup Extractor surprisingly has it all.  It’s free and doesn’t even require Jail breaking to use.  The only thing to note however about using my method below for recovering your Restrictions PIN is if you configured iTunes to encrypt your backups, your outta luck…  If however your like me and skipped backup encryption (it was on my list but never checked that box….) here’s a few things to note about the iPhone Backup extractor:

  • Easy and free.
  • Works on Windows and Mac.
  • Doesn’t require Jail Breaking.
  • Finds your iPhone backup on your PC or Mac and you do not even need your device.

Ok… enough chatter.  Let’s get to work! and recover that Restrictions PIN

Step 1

Download iPhone Backup Extractor (FREE)

Step 2

Once Launched your iPhone backups will be detected, Select the most recent backup or the backup you want to extract settings from.

Step 4

Choose Expert mode to browse the backup.

iPhone Backup Extractor Select Backup

Step 5

From here you have access to all the .plist files saved in the backup which hold your settings and preferences including your Restictions PIN.

Note: It’s interesting to note that in order to gain access to this same data directly from the iPhone you must Jail Break the device since Apple does not allow access to these .plist files by default.  However it is easily accessible from the backups as long as your backup files are not encrypted.

Step 6

To extract the .plist file that contains the “Restrictions” PIN browse to \Library\Preferences\com.apple.springboard.plist. Check the file and hit Extract selected and save it to a location.

iPhone Backup Extractor select apple springboard .plist

Step 8

Within iPhone Backup Extractor go to /File/View PList, browse to the saved .plist file and hit Open.

iPhone Backup Extractor view plist

Step 9

Within the open .plist file browse down to the key SBParentalControlsPIN to view your saved Restrictions PIN.

Some other cool/interesting features of the iPhone Backup ExtractorFree iPhone Backup Extractor

  1. Recover iPhone Contacts
  2. Recover iPhone Photos
  3. Recover iPhone Notes
  4. Recover iPhone SMS History
  5. Recover other lost iPhone Data
  6. Browse through your iPhone backup (or anyone else that you can get physical access to…)

This is a great tool and it speaks to the importance of encrypting your backup files.

Do you have a geeky iPhone tip to share?  Email @groovypost.com!

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22 Responses to How To Recover your iPhone Restrictions PIN

  1. Fletcher August 26, 2011 at 5:54 am #

    Worked a charm. It took me a while though to figure it all out, here are some thoughts:

    >You don’t need to connect your device to the computer, the program searches and uses your computer’s iphone/ipod/ipad backup folder.

    >You don’t necessarily need the computer which you normally sync your iPhone/iPod with. Any one with iTunes will do, although you’ll have to back up your device to this “new” computer first (just connect it, open iTunes, right click, backup – You won’t lose any data)

    > Do the above if you don’t see your iPhone on the list in the Extractor Program. You need to have a backup present on this computer, that’s what the Extractor Program searches.

    >There are multiple springboard files though, so for those like me who couldn’t find it first time, I followed this path:

    - Select your Iphone/Ipod
    - Choose Expert Mode.
    - Expand the Library folder
    - Expand the Preferences SubFolder
    - Tickbox the ‘com.apple.springboard.plist’
    -Extract to the Desktop (for convenience).
    -Follow the rest of the instructions in the article (Go to the IPBE program again, and now click file, locate the springboard plist file. I had trouble locating it till I realised that it actually lived in the freshly appearing “library” folder on the desktop)
    -View the file, it’s near the bottom.

    Great guide, no downloads, no nothing needed, plain and simple.

  2. miyako August 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Thank you so much for this MrGroove very easy to follow! Problem solved in just 2 mins! :)

    • MrGroove August 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

      @Miyako – Awesome! Thank you for the feedback. I’m glad we were able to help!

      • Alexmac October 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

        There is nothing that says SBParentalControlsPIN??

  3. Alexmac October 14, 2011 at 3:34 am #

    Hey steve i had a slight problem and i really need help its soo frustrating!!! i sent you an email please help me!!

  4. whitey October 25, 2011 at 4:35 am #

    Excellent – easy to use. Found my lost restriction PIN in minutes.
    Thanks!

  5. aimee November 16, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    I did pretty good until step 9 but i never found the SBParentalcontrolspin… why?

  6. Duncapa December 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Can’t find any line in the Plist showing the SBParentalControlPIN. Everything else went just fine. Seems like there are a couple of others having the same issue. Any assistance would be great. Thanks! =)

    • volo December 31, 2011 at 2:31 am #

      This doesn’t seem to work on IOS 5.

      • Steve Krause January 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

        Hey guys — looks like we need to update the article for iOS 5. Apple must have discovered the security gap on this. Sorry for the outdated info.

        • COMGAL January 23, 2012 at 10:22 am #

          do you have the IOS 5 fix yet. I recently forgot my passcode and I will like to retrieve it before i restore everything..

        • Steve O April 6, 2012 at 7:10 am #

          Have you been able to find out if and where the restrictions pin is now stored in iOS 5? I see you’ve not responded since your post in Jan 1, 2012…

  7. Geoff December 29, 2011 at 2:38 am #

    Just got an iphone 4s, have a lot of music on my old 3g which I can’t transfer to my new phone.
    any suggestions?

  8. Sudeep February 21, 2012 at 3:55 am #

    Hi Steve,

    I just upgraded my iPod 4G Touch to iOS5 and am unable retrieve my Restrictions PIN. Please Help! Do you have ny update for this version?

    Thanks!
    Sudeep

  9. Rick March 22, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    any update for iOS 5 yet?

  10. Kehm April 5, 2012 at 1:50 am #

    It works for ios 5.1… it also works not only for iphones also for an ipad.
    Thanks much! :) I just retrived my restrictions pass code. I just upgraded my ipad yesterday and it’s all clear that I haven’t placed this pass code >.<

    oh well, if you can't read that .plist file after step 9 just download this:
    http://www.icopybot.com/plist-editor.htm

  11. Steve O April 6, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    Kehm – you say it worked for you with iOS 5 – where did you find the restrictions pin as there are many postings plus myself who cannot find the SBParentalControlsPIN entry in iOS 5?

  12. Rick April 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Anyone? Bueller?

  13. crazy May 5, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    Thank you so so so so so much!! You saved my (iPhone) life!!!

  14. iphone trendz July 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    Relief!!! I finally got it!!! for those of you still trying this is what I figured out today – on your iphone backup extractor select an earlier version database not the latest ios5 – I had to go back to an earlier backup i had from ios 4.3.3 and I found the pin!!! it is towards the bottom of the file:

    SBShowSMSPreview False
    SBLastAddressBookCountTime 347950805.145046
    SBParentalControlsPIN 8790
    SBShowBatteryPercentage True
    SBDidShowReorderText True

  15. Bis October 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    how can i edit the option available inside the .plist file, it is not allowing me to do anything inside it. i followed all the steps mentioned and it didn’t work ..there is no option for this particular parameter SBParentalControlsPIN inside the file. even i can add this parameter

  16. Nikki December 2, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Hi can not get the restriction code for my childs ipod with this program. He has the iOS 6 upgrade got windows 7. please help!!!

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