How to Remotely Disable iCloud Activation Lock from an iPhone

Jul 21, 2014 - 57 Comments

How To Turn Off iPhone Activation Lock Remotely

iCloud Activation Lock is a feature that allows users to lock down an iPhone (or iPad) and require the entry of an Apple ID before the device becomes usable again. It’s part of the excellent Find My iPhone service and is extremely useful for many reasons, but it can also be a real pain if you or someone else obtained an iPhone that has another Apple ID attached to it and is then ‘locked’ to that account with an activate request, because until that activation lock is removed it will be prevented from general usage or login with another Apple ID.

So what should you if you longer have possession over the iPhone, but you still want to remove the Activation Lock and disconnect it from your Apple ID and iCloud account? Or what should you do if you bought an iPhone from someone else, and it has an activation lock attached to their Apple ID?


Fortunately you don’t need to worry, because there is a pretty easy way to remotely disable Activation Lock from an iPhone or iPad using iCloud.com, though, fair warning here, you must remotely erase the iPhone to complete the process. Yes, that means anything on the iPhone will be lost in the process, so you wouldn’t want to do this with a device that has stuff on it you want to keep without backing it up first.

The iCloud based locking feature is most often encountered with an iPhone, but it applies to the iPad and iPod touch as well.

Disable Activation Lock on iPhone / iPad from iCloud

You (or whoever has the Apple ID) will need access to a web browser and the internet to be able to do this, they do not need physical access to the iOS device to remove the iCloud lock with this method:

  1. Go to iCloud.com and log in with the associated Apple ID
  2. Go to “Find My iPhone” and wait for all devices to be found / located
  3. disable-iphone-activation-lock-icloud

  4. Select the iPhone in question that you want to disable Activation Lock for*
  5. choose-the-iphone-to-turn-off-activation-lock

  6. Choose “Erase” and enter the Apple ID
  7. erase-iphone-remove-from-icloud-account-to-disable-activation-lock

  8. Confirm to erase the device – there is no turning back if you confirm this, everything on it will be removed
  9. erase-iphone-to-remove-activation-lock

  10. When the phone is finished erasing, choose “Remove from Account” to completely disable iCloud Activation Lock and to remove that device from the Apple ID iCloud account – this is important do not forget to choose “Remove from Account”

* Note: if the iPhone / iPad / iPod touch has already been erased or is offline and shut off, it will appear as greyed out and offline in the Devices list shown on iCloud.com. If that’s the case, simply select it and choose the “Remove from Account” option, the device won’t need to be erased twice.

With the iPhone erased, and, this is important – removed from the Apple ID account – it will set itself up as new and allow anyone to enter a new Apple ID and use the device as new.

The great thing about this method is that it can be done remotely. This means that if you bought a used iPhone online or from someone that later locked down the iOS device for some reason or another, you can simply contact them and walk them through the unlocking process with iCloud. They don’t need to do anything with the actual device since it’s all handled online through Apple’s iCloud service.

Of course if you know the Apple ID holder in real life, you can just have them log into the associated account directly on the device to unlock it that way too, but obviously that’s not going to be as convenient unless they’re nearby. If you go that route, be sure they proceed further to either reset iOS to factory settings or just toggle the switch to disable Find My iPhone in Settings.

How Do I Disable Activation Lock if I Don’t Know the Apple ID Password?

If you (or whoever has the Apple ID) don’t know the password to the Apple ID account that is tying the iPhone up with the iCloud Lock, you (or them) will need to reset the password associated with the account. This is also easy, it’s just a matter of answering a few questions to confirm the identity of the account holder first.

To get that process started, simply go to https://iforgot.apple.com/ and enter the appropriate details to reset the password associated with the Apple ID. Once the password has been reset, you can then log in to iCloud.com with the new Apple ID password to disable the activation lock using the sequence outlined above. This can also be done remotely.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

57 Comments

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  1. Chris Cheng says:

    Apple will also remove the iCloud lock for you at an apple store if you have proof of purchase and ownership

    • luster says:

      what if you bought it off eBay? will that receipt help to have them remove the lock on the phone

      • madhav reddy says:

        i had bought a second hand iphone which i locked one,that seller told me you cam unlock and use that mobile,afer buying that mobile,i recognised that that phone is iclould locked,now can i use that mobile??? i cant contact the seller. please help me

    • Lonilda Perrin says:

      How would you show ownership of it?

  2. Andy says:

    Alright, what if i cannot contact the seller as well or maybe he does wanna work with me to unlock the phone, then what can i do ?

    • Tech84 says:

      Then there’s nothing much you can really do, you can either erase everything and then factory reset it via itunes.

      • jDonSmith says:

        There is nothing you can do. Restoring via iTunes, DFU mode, etc, will not work. It is always and forever more locked to the Apple ID that is signed in.

        The only options are to erase/remove from iCloud.com or enter the password on the phone itself.

        Apple won’t even repair an iOS device if “find my iPhone” is turned on.

      • adil says:

        i forget the icloud password and when i answer the securuty password my account get locked nd now i cant sign out from that

      • Susan says:

        The Apple Store tech restored my ipad and now I cant get it to work without email used to activate it no access and wrong birthdate no mrmory and lost receipt i need it for work cant use anything to get around it…any suggestions?

      • steven c says:

        i haver an iphone 4 that is cloud locked that a buddy sold me how do i factory wipe it v??? if possible i was told by cpr that it impossible ??

  3. David says:

    Or, other solution is to NEVER log_on /subscribe / & Use Icloud, that will by fact prevent all this step’s….

    • Raven says:

      And then also never have a backup of your phone, or be able to find it when you lose it, or sync with your Mac… yeah, that’s a GREAT idea… NOT.

      iCloud is a VERY useful thing.

    • G. says:

      Banks are a hassle, put your money in your mattress. Oops, your bed caught on fire!

      Find My iPhone is an attempt to nip iPhone theft in the bud. Now thieves can’t DFU a stolen iPhone and sell it on eBay. Hopefully they’ll just quit bothering.

      Just don’t ever buy a second hand Apple product unless you’ve made certain Find My iPhone has been switched off first.

  4. Justin says:

    yea i tried restoring dident work for me, the only thing ive heard that works is ievade but its hard to find since devs made it private to stop apple patching it

  5. Amanda says:

    I found a iPhone 5s with the iOS8 update and I have no idea who the old holder of the phone was so now I am stuck with a brick and I would like to use this phone. What can I do?

  6. Jason says:

    I bought an iPhone second hand and we had this issue, we contacted apple and they had her remove the device from iCloud, she did. However, it still requires me to enter it, I’ve tried every email/pass combo she’s every used, and nothing works, what can I do??? Also we can’t get proof of purchase because she bought it out of state (a very far drive from the current state).

    • Murtada says:

      if she already removed her apple ID from the device all you need, connected to iTunes, put the phone on DFU mode, to do that “hold power and home button, when the phone is off release power and keep holding home button till you see on iTunes iPhone is in recovery mode, click on restore and update” wait till the process end and the phone will be set as new.

  7. Natalia says:

    I hava a iPhone and it’s been reset but when you go through the process of clicking a network/Wifi carrier once your connect to it the phone says log in with Apple Id the user has used find my iPhone but the phone isn’t lost nor stolen and I can no longer get in contact with the previous owner so will this website help me remove the Apple ID or no?

  8. emma says:

    what if that apple ID had been locked? :( but I activated the find my iphone with another apple ID … If I erase the ipad from that account what will happen??

  9. majid says:

    i bought iphone 4 and it has someone’s iCloud and it has been unlocked….so can someone help me?

  10. Ximen says:

    I found a lost iPhone. The owner hasn’t replied to calls. It’s Apple ID locked. Anything I can do?

  11. Cedric says:

    “You (or whoever has the Apple ID)”. what does it mean? do you mean I or someone i knew(other than the icloud lock account user) can remotely disable this iphone?

    • Tim Tim says:

      Yes if you read the article it says you, or whoever else has the Apple ID login, can remotely disable the iCloud Activation Lock, or enable iCloud Activation Lock. That’s the point of Find My iPhone, it’s a feature.

  12. Georgia says:

    Hello im really confused I have just bought an iPhone 4s with it been iCloud locked and I do not know how to unlock it as I bought it off of eBay? Help please

    • DontBuyFleecedGoods says:

      Enter the Apple ID of the iPhone owner who locked the phone at the iCloud Lock screen to disable the iCloud Lock. You can do that with the Apple ID or the iCloud login for the iPhone owner that initiated the lock.

      Many people sell stolen iPhones off of eBay and Craigslist, important to be sure a device is not locked due to theft. This is why iCloud Lock was invented, to squash the stolen iPhone market. It would be like buying a car with an ignition kill switch activated from theft.

  13. Kevin says:

    There is one way to wipe the phone (all phones). Do you know anyone that has an email account on an exchange server. If so setup and email account on the phone over WIFI, accept the security warning. Then have the Administrator of the exchange server wipe the phone.
    You can also go the web email site on exchange and wipe the phone yourself.

  14. Pene says:

    Kevin can you explain again person who owned my phone won’t unlock iCloud have asked several times but she won’t help phones glitching out badly love phone not what it’s doing?

  15. shahid says:

    hi
    i bought iphone from some one that was lost somebody . just appear on that screen (this phone is lost and areas ) i am seriously worried about that because i paid money . and cell phone is not working

  16. zatanaz says:

    Can somebody help me…. I found a Iphone 6 plus but i can’t use because need to activate icloud account, but i don’t know who’s the owner, how can i go to by pass or delete or skip ? is there any way??? Thank you

  17. amri says:

    hi, i bought iphone 5s from someone, i cannot use it because the phone is under icloud lock…is there ant way i can use to unlock the phone? i do some search in google and some people said there’s a software that can unlock and bypass the icloud activation. please help me….

  18. johanna says:

    I have an iPhone and it factory reset. I can not get through the icloud password and the person don’t know her password or the email to get the reset. What should I do anybody know??

  19. Armani says:

    hi im trying to get into my iphone 6 i bought off of someone its saying i need the apple id and password they used to set up the iphone but i dont know either is there any other way i can get into my phone

    • nop says:

      Yes you should return the stolen iPhone to it’s original owner, or take it to an Apple Store they will be able to contact the original owner. Then in the future, don’t buy stolen goods, it’s bad karma.

  20. sahil kansra says:

    How to do activate screen without Apple id and password

  21. Jena says:

    Hi I brought a iPhone 5s off a lady off facebook page.

    I meet her a close to my home shopping mall when we did the exchange ( for convenience of us both being there texting about exchanging the iPhone

    The day i brought it off her i went and hooked the phone up to charge and thought nothing of it till I went to check and it had a passcode on it

    She gave me a four digit code for the phone

    IT DIDNT WORK…

    SO I TIRED AGAIN AND AGAIN

    LOCKED….

    so i connected to iTunes and took the phone back to factory settings
    And it has a find me iPhone code lock on it

    The owner has a number to ring on the iPhone to contact if found

    But phone number doesn’t work

    What do i do with this

    Will apple be able to unlock it from i cloud if it states that the content of the phone has. Been erased

    • Nope says:

      The lady likely sold you a lost or stolen iPhone, you should contact the owner from the number to call on the screen. Try to take it to Apple sure, they may be able to find the owner.

  22. Elizabeth says:

    I bought a stolen Ipod touch 5th gen… and it is locked by the original owner on Icloud. I cant get into something I bought! I dont even know the original owner.. or hi/her email or anything!

    • nope says:

      The instructions above are how you can disable iCloud lock, is not possible to disable iCloud Activation Lock otherwise. A lesson here is maybe you should not buy stolen iPods now should you? Take it to an Apple Store or the police station

  23. jax says:

    The lesson is that apple will sell more phones than ever.

    It is impossible to reach the owner of a phone because Apple does not want you to. Apple will sell another phone because of this. It’s that simple. If you have a phone and you wanted to return it to the owner you can’t. The police while they will take the phone can’t either.

    Apple’s very smart about marketing and selling more phones, if they were concerned about getting phones returned it would be easy through a blind email drop using imei which can’t be wiped. Apple purposefully did not do that.

    its all about selling more phones while appearing to do something else.

  24. Debbie says:

    I am debating whether or not I should buy this iPhone 6 off Kijiji, but it’s iCloud locked. Is there anyway possible of getting rid of the iCloud lock without a username and password?

    • no says:

      No you can not remove iCloud lock without the username and password. The instructions here show you how to remove the iCloud lock remotely, which requires that login data. The only exception is if you are the original owner and you have the original receipt, then Apple may remove iCloud lock for you. They will not remove iCloud lock from a lost iPhone that is not yours, that promotes theft. Buying a stolen iPhone with iCloud lock is a very bad idea unless you want to waste money and buy a little electronic brick. Never buy an iCloud locked phone, you will not be able to use it. If you want an iPhone, buy one legitimately from store.apple.com or a cellular carrier.

  25. April T says:

    purchased iPhone I restored it to new and now once you go through set up and go to activate it it is locked she is no longer able to get into contact with what to do?

  26. Sean says:

    There are no genuine selers on eBay, you buy a iPhones, and you don’t get any helpful tips, except a locked phone, it should not be allowed.

    • hopeful says:

      I bought a used iPhone on ebay and it was not iCloud locked, you have to specifically find out if the used iPhone is locked to iCloud or not, if it is iCloud activation locked, you should not buy it obviously. Or you can use the remote disable activation lock trick on this page and have the owner disable it for you remotely, that can work if you can contact the original owner.

  27. Kanye says:

    What if you don’t have Apple ID and password

  28. jason says:

    I cant even enter my home screen it justs shows enter the apple thing

  29. a says:

    I found it when i was walking and like yey and it was disabled and with find my iphone on it i really want it what can i do. I thought i could insert a sim card and unlock it normaly?

  30. yetty says:

    I’m a Nigerian,the i-pad was sent to a friend from U.k and he sold the i-pad to me,i actually wanted to use it and now it’s asking for the ID and password,he told his sister and she said she has forgotten the password and the security question,what can be done in that case?

  31. yetty says:

    Please can anyone here help me with an answer, its urgent please!

  32. swagg says:

    my iPhone 5c is icloud locked which request for an apple id and password, what can I do to get the phone fully activated …

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