Too Many Passcode Attempts Apple Watch | How To Fix

by | May 23, 2023

Quick Answer:

You can wait for the timeout to end or you’ll need to factory reset it and restore from a backup. This can be done through the paired iPhone or by using the Apple Watch itself.

Apple Watch, much like your iPhone, is designed with many security features. A important aspect of this security is the passcode, which is used to prevent unauthorized access to your device.

However, entering the incorrect passcode multiple times can lock the device, displaying the message “too many passcode attempts”.

In this post, I’ll explain how this security feature works, common causes for it, how to fix it, as well as some tips not seen anywhere else.

Solution: Too Many Passcode Attempts Apple Watch

There are two ways to resolve the too many passcode attempts on your Apple Watch.  Let’s take a look at both methods:

Wait For The Time to Run Out

This method is self-explanatory and the most reasonable. Simply wait for the time to run out on your Apple Watch. If you have 1 minute of it being locked, wait the 1 minute, if you have a 15 minute countdown, wait the 15 minutes.

Factory Reset Your Apple Watch

Factory resetting involves completely wiping out your Apple Watch. This method will erase your entire watch and when you pair it to your iPhone, it will be as if the watch is brand new.

Advice: Personally, this method doesn’t seem reasonable to me. The reason is, it will take you roughly 15 minutes to wipe out your watch and then pair it again, when you could’ve just waited the 1, 5, or 15 minutes for the lockout period to end.

Important! Doing a basic restart (holding down the power button and digital crown) of your Apple Watch will not unlock it! Once your watch powers back on, it will still be counting down. You must wait for the countdown to finish or do a factory reset.

How Too Many Passcode Attemps on Apple Watch Works

Whenever you enter the wrong passcode into your Apple Watch multiple times, the watch triggers a security feature that locks the device.

There are varying levels of being ‘locked out’ of your Apple Watch that are important to know. Each subsequent time you enter the passcode incorrectly, you risk locking yourself out of your Apple Watch for an even longer period of time.

Let me expand on this:

1st Lockout Period

If you enter your password incorrectly 4 times, you will be locked out of your Apple Watch for 1 minute. After the 1 minute time elapses, you can attempt your passcode for a second time.

2nd Lockout Period

If you enter the passcode wrong 1 time again, it will lock you out for 5 minutes.

3rd Lockout Period

If you enter the passcode wrong 1 more time again, it will lock you out for 15 minutes.

4th Lockout Period

If you enter the passcode wrong 1 more time again, it will lock you out for 60 minutes.

5th Lockout Period

If you enter the passcode wrong 1 more time again, your Apple Watch will read “Too Many Passcode Attempts” and it will disable your watch.

At this point you will have to do a factory reset on your watch.

Important! if you have Erase Data turned on, your Apple Watch will be completely erased if you enter your passcode incorrectly 10 times.

Why Too Many Passcode Attempts Happens

The ‘Too Many Passcode Attempts Apple Watch’ issue can arise for several reasons. These include:

  1. Forgetting Your Passcode: This is the most common reason. It’s easy to forget your passcode, especially if you change it frequently or don’t use it often.
  2. Accidental Touches: Apple Watch screens aren’t the biggest or easiest to deal with. It’s not uncommon to accidentally press the wrong numbers when entering your passcode.
  3. Children or Others Trying to Access Your Watch: If someone else attempts to unlock your Apple Watch without knowing the correct passcode, this can trigger the lockout feature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I unlock my Apple Watch without erasing data?

If your Apple Watch is not yet permenantly locked, all you have to do is wait for the timer to run out, then you can enter the correct password. If it is permenantly locked, you must complete a factory reset, which will delete all your data. But, a simple restore from backup will solve this.

Will erasing my Apple Watch remove the passcode?

Yes, erasing your Apple Watch will remove the passcode. However, if you erase your watch from your watch settings, Activation Lock will remain on. You must erase your watch from your iPhone to remove Activation Lock.

Can I prevent my Apple Watch from being locked after too many passcode attempts?

No, this is a security feature designed to protect your data and cannot be disabled.

What happens if I forget my Apple Watch passcode?

If you forget your passcode, you’ll need to erase your Apple Watch and then restore it from a backup.

Ken Lynch

by Ken

Ken is a Data Analyst in the Healthcare industry and the owner and sole contributor to The Wearable Guy.

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