Making a backup of iPhone is a good practice to protect your data. This can be done easily with the help of Apple’s iTunes software. For security reason, iPhone backup can be protected with a password. This principle only allows authorized users to access this encrypted iPhone backup. No one can access backup content unless they provide a correct password to unlock it.
Unfortunately, you might lose or forgot iPhone backup password and there is no way to restore loss data from encrypted iPhone backup unless you managed to reset or recover the iPhone backup password.
In fact, Apple now offers a native way to reset iPhone backup password. The process involves removing old password and creating a new one. While this approach is safe and reliable, you can choose a third-party software to do the work.
In this guide, we will walk you through the steps on how to recover iPhone backup password for free.
Solution 1: Reset iPhone Backup Password
Apple has its own way to fix the problem, which is the fact that you need to reset old iPhone backup password and set a new one. This approach is safe, fast, and won’t require any additional software to be installed on your device. However, keep in mind that this only works for iPhone models running iOS 11 or later.
Step 1: On your iPhone, open the Settings app and then tap General.
Step 2: From here, tap Reset All Settings and you will be prompted to enter iPhone’s password to proceed.
Step 3: Just follow the on-screen prompts to reset iPhone settings. By doing so, all of your current settings will be deleted, meaning that you need to set up everything from scratch.
Step 4: Now connect your iPhone to Finder or iTunes and create a new encrypted backup. From here, you can set a new password for iPhone backup.
This is a simple way to unlock an iPhone backup. However, you have to configure the iPhone all over again after reset. And this solution is only applicable to iPhone with iOS 11 and later.
Solution 2: Recover iPhone Backup Password from Keychain on Mac
If you are using a Mac machine and have already saved backup password in Keychain, then you can easily recover iPhone backup password from Keychain Access app.
For those who may not know, Keychain Access acts as a hub that stores user passwords and account information, making password management much easier for all Mac owners. If you have set a password for iPhone backup on Mac, then there is a good chance that your password has been saved to Keychain. Here is how to find the forgotten password of iPhone backup in Keychain.
Step 1: Open Keychain Access app on your Mac by using Spotlight search and then press the Enter key.
Step 2: From here, hit Passwords from the left-hand side bar and type ‘iphone backup’ into upper right search box. If iPhone backup password was saved in Keychain in the past, you will see the item in search result like the following screenshot.
Step 3: From here, double-click the item name to open up settings. Enable Show password option and the correct iPhone backup password will show on the screen.
Keychain Access is a good option for recovering iPhone backup password if you don’t want to install a third-party app. You should be noted that this approach only works on Mac.
Solution 3: Recover iPhone Backup Password with iSeePassword Software
If you failed to unlock iPhone backup with the above free methods, then the only option left is to use a third-party program to recover forgotten iPhone backup password. This will cost a few bucks and needs more time to crack a strong backup password. We will share two powerful candidates in the following sections.
iSeePassword iTunes Password Recovery is a well-known tool for recovering backup password from iPhone, iPad and iPod. It works on both Windows and Mac without damaging your data.
The software uses its advanced decoding technology to detect all iTunes backup files on your PC, then analyze them, and recover the password. What sets it apart from its rivals is that it uses its own attacking types to recover iPhone backup password, which guarantees a high success rate.
These two attacking types include Brute-force with Mask Attack and Brute Force. The former works if you have some hints about your password while the latter scans all possible password combinations to get the best one for you.
Step 1: Once you have the software installed on your computer, launch it and connect your iPhone to your computer.
Step 2: The software will automatically detect your iPhone and show all backups available on the main window. Select the backup you want to recover the password for and hit Next.
Step 3: Now select your attack mode. We recommend you go for Brute-force with Mask Attack.
Step 4: On the next screen, fill out everything you have about your password, including length, character range, prefix, etc.
Step 5: Hit OK and the process should begin. When it is done, you should see the password on the screen.
This process takes much more time than reset and Keychain. So don’t expect to get the password recovered in a short time. Instead, you have to wait hours or days if the backup password was complex (6 characters and more).
Solution 4: Recover iPhone Backup Password Free with Hashcat
Hashcat is one of the best free programs being used widely for cracking password from various sources, including iTunes, Zip, RAR, Office, PDF and SQL database. It fully supports major releases of iOS, starting from iOS 7 to latest iOS 14. It is completely free. The only drawback is that you have to use it in a Command Line interface. I will walk you through all the steps on a Mac in order to recover iPhone backup password.
Step 1: Please first install Homebrew, the best free package manager for Mac. With it, you can install different types of software in a single input.
Step 2: Use the following command to install Hashcat on your Mac:
brew install hashcat
Step 3: To crack password from iPhone backup with Hashcat, you should extract hash value from Manifest.plist file first. You can download this script and run following command to get the hash value. Paste manifest.plist and script into Desktop folder. Manifest.plist sits in iPhone backup folder.
./itunes_backup2hashcat.pl Manifest.plist | tee value.txt
Step 4: value.txt stores the hash from iPhone backup. You will see a random set of characters like this:
Step 5: Now, paste the following command in Terminal to start cracking iPhone backup password with Hashcat:
hashcat -a 3 -m 14800 value.txt
Hashcat is free but the process is really complicated. The above used brute-force attack to recover iTunes backup password. Actually, Dictionary attack is more recommended but you have to download or build the dictionary file by yourself. If you have any problem in using Hashcat, please refer to this wiki page for more details.
Recovering iPhone backup is now much easier than before as the decryption algorithms get smarter and smarter. In fact, there are lots of command line tools and GUI software out there. But don’t fall for scams as your previous data backups will fall into the wrong hands. If you are looking for a third-party solution, we recommend trying iSeePassword iTunes Password Recovery. I tested it it worked like a charm.