Personal Finance

My mum is locked out of her Apple iPad and can’t get her photos


My 79-year-old mother has found herself locked out of her Apple iCloud account and denied access to many years’ worth of family photos saved on her original iPad.

She has had long periods in hospital and her iPad is very precious. The device concerned is a old model and she neglected to update the software.

She kept trying her four-digit pin number but eventually the device locked her out. The display says “iPad is disabled. Connect to iTunes.”

Her iCloud account has also been “disabled for security reasons” and password reset links are sent to her @me.com account which we’re also locked out of.

We bought her a new iPad but it has proved impossible to do a password reset and regain access to the old model and her original iCloud account.

Staff at our local John Lewis store, where both iPads were bought, have done their best to help but to no avail.

I tried our local Apple Store but none of its Genius Bar staff were able to help, and I also called Apple technical support but was told there is nothing they can do.

Is there a technical solution available or can any Guardian readers help. I’m anxious in view of her advancing years to try to regain her many photos.

SJ, Milton Keynes

This technology nightmare is likely to resonate with readers who have forgotten vital password information. Your Apple ID is the account you use to sign in to all Apple services and if you enter your password or other information incorrectly too many times it may be locked or disabled.

There are instructions on the company’s website to help people regain access to their accounts.

You have exhausted the remedies suggested by Apple because, unfortunately, your mother cannot access the email associated with the account, either.

This is a third generation iPad bought in 2012. If you had proof of purchase Apple could unlock it but that would restore the factory settings and the precious pictures would be wiped.

Apple says: “Unfortunately, the customer cannot remember or recover the information required to gain access to the iPad without erasing all data. These steps are the security measures that we put in place to protect users’ data privacy should their device fall into the wrong hands.”

Apple has tried to help you but it seems there is nothing more it can do. You could try taking it to a data recovery specialist but this is a niche field and, if the device is taken apart, potentially expensive.

Trustpilot would be a good starting point to find a reputable company. Why not take it to a local computer repair shop? You have nothing to lose.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions



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