How to recover an iCloud security code after you’ve been locked out

If you enter the wrong iCloud security code too many times, you'll get locked out. Here’s how to reset it.

A reader asks:

“How can I recover my iCloud Security Code? I entered the wrong iCloud security code a number of times for my iCloud Keychain, and now I’m locked out. It’s a 4-digit PIN, just like my ATM, and I wasn’t thinking and kept entering my ATM PIN. Is there any way to recover an iCloud security code?” 

Because you’re now locked out, your iCloud Keychain has been disabled on the device you were using, and your keychain in iCloud will be deleted as well. You might see one of the following messages:

  • “Security Code Incorrectly Entered Too Many Times. Approve this iPhone from one of your other devices using iCloud Keychain. If no devices are available, reset your iCloud Keychain.”
  • “Your iCloud Security Code has been entered too many times. Approve this Mac from one of your other devices using iCloud Keychain. If no devices are available, reset iCloud Keychain.”

Here’s the best course of action, as advised by Apple’s support page.

If you can access an approved device that uses your iCloud Keychain:

You can create a new iCloud Security Code from another device that also uses your iCloud Keychain. Follow these steps:

If it’s an iOS device:

  • Tap Settings > iCloud > Keychain > Advanced
  • Select Change Security Code
  • When prompted, enter your Apple ID password
  • Enter a new iCloud Security Code 

If it’s a Mac (using OS X Yosemite or later):

  • Go to Apple menu > System Preferences and click iCloud
  • Select Options, next to Keychain
  • Select “Change Security Code” and then enter a new iCloud Security Code

Then, go back to the device where your iCloud Keychain was disabled:

  • iOS device running iOS 8 or later: Tap Settings > iCloud > Keychain, and then turn on iCloud Keychain
  • Mac running OS X Yosemite or later: Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud, then select Keychain

If you can’t access another device that uses your iCloud Keychain:

Follow these steps:

iOS device (iOS 8 or later):

  • Go to Settings > iCloud > Keychain, and toggle on iCloud Keychain. Enter your Apple ID password if promoted
  • Tap Approve with Security Code, then Forgot Code
  • Tap Reset iCloud Keychain, then Reset to confirm. Follow the onscreen steps to create a new code. 

Mac (OS X Yosemite or later):

  • Go to Apple menu > System Preferences
  • Select iCloud, then Keychain, and enter your Apple ID info if prompted.
  • Click Use Code, then choose Forgot Code
  • Click Reset Keychain to replace your keychain in iCloud, then Reset iCloud Keychain to confirm. Follow the onscreen steps to create a new code

For more on iCloud:

This tip was originally published on IDG Answers, a reader-powered help desk for answering tech questions. 

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iCloud

More about AdvancedAppleClickIDG

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Michael Connell

Latest Videos

More videos

Blog Posts