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How Many Tries Does it Take to Erase an iPhone 2.1?

In the latest firmware, 2.1, Apple implemented a nice safety feature: the ability to have your iPhone erased if the wrong pass code is entered 10 times. It is a great feature if your phone is stolen or lost and you have vital information that should not be seen by anyone else.

I received the above picture from forum member cgov this morning. Seems as though he only gets 5 tries to unlock his phone before it gets erased compared to 10, which is supposed to be the standard.

Anyone else seeing that?

(Thanks for the tip cgov!)


Community editor. Tech enthusiast. All-around geek.

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There are 16 comments. Add yours.

Paul Hebert says:

My screen shows only 3 tries!

Terry says:

Mine is showing I have 10 attempts before my data is erased.

David Lee says:

It's probably the policy setting from the Exchange server.

Terry says:

I don't have exchange on my phone. I only have a pop account.

Kallis says:

So far i don't face such problem.But hw many chance i get to unlock the phone?is it 5 or 10?

Scott Brown says:

Mine is showing 5 but this is because our Policies within our Corporate environment is set to 5.
Our Windows Mobile devices also only have 5 attempts. 10 is the default setting if no policies are enforced.

Mr. Hi Definition says:

LOL they'll never get it right...!

Rene Ritchie says:

Mine is set to 10. Have to check if our Exchange has anything to do with that, but this might be distinct from Remote Wipe or ActiveSync, unless there's 2 phases: 10 for those who don't have AS set up, and n for those who do, with n being set based on AS?

Tony Quan says:

Five minutes of research gave me this (Apple's Enterprise Deployment Guide):
which says:
If you’re using both device policies and Exchange passcode policies, the two sets of policies are merged and the strictest of the settings is enforced.
and a bit later, the part which says that an Exchange administrator can set the value to something less than 10, and the consequences:
Maximum number of failed attempts: The value you select determines how many failed passcode attempts can be made before the device is wiped. By default, after six failed passcode attempts, the device imposes a time delay before a passcode can be entered again. The time delay increases with each failed attempt. After the eleventh failed attempt, all data and settings are securely erased from the device. The passcode time delays always begin after the sixth attempt, so if you set this value to 6 or lower, no time delays are imposed and the device is erased when the attempt value is exceeded. You cannot specify a value greater than 11—the device always wipes its data if the user fails to enter the correct passcode 11 times in a row.
I read the same deployment guide just after the release of the 2.0 software, so this feature of wiping the device after n failures (where n is configurable by the Exchange admin) has always been there in 2.0. The only new feature in 2.1 is that the setting is now exposed to non-Exchange users.
The screenshot in the article showing the 5 attempt case is clearly that of an Exchange user, because "Erase all data" is grayed out (the policy that Exchange admin created doesn't allow changing the setting). For non-Exchange users of 2.1, this setting is changeable.
Nothing to see here folks, move along. Jeremy, please fix the article.

Jeremy says:

@Tony, I'm waiting to hear back from the person sent me the picture. We will see if he is indeed using exchange. I'll keep you posted.

César Rivera says:

Please, excuse my ignorance, but where exactly can i activare this feature on my iPhone??

GCov says:

Yes, I do indeed use exchange. Didn't realize exchange had unique policys that could be setup for this. I am happy to see that the exchange policys are working as intended. I am also glad I'm not limited to 3 tries like Paul's, my kids would be torrmenting me even more!

weisen says:

@César Rivera go to Settings>General>Passcode Lock

Rick says:

Sigh... default is 10 unless an exchange setup is enabled, in which case the default of 10 can be overwritten by the exchange administrator. All windows mobile and blackberry devices have had this feature forever...

james says:

yeah, what Rick said, it's really not that complicated. Definitely not complicated enough for the iPhone Blog to be asking this question instead of answering it. Do some freaking research for Christ's sake.