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How to bypass Activation Lock on your iPad (using tested fixes)

I have used my 10 years experience supporting Apple products to develop and verify 8 solutions you can use to remove Apple’s iCloud Activation Lock from your iPad.

My solutions work even without the previous owner, or if you have forgotten the Apple ID and password for the device.

My fixes work when you can’t setup your iPad due to the Locked to Owner or Activation Lock screens blocking you.

iPad Activation Lock fix


iPad specific iCloud unlocking methods

Method 1: Turn off the lock via iCloud

If you know, or can find out the Apple ID of the owner of the device you can log in to iCloud and disable Activation Lock.

If the previous owner is unsure of the Apple account details they can always reset them. To find out more, see How to reset Apple ID and password.

The following fix will erase your iPad and remove the iPad Activation Lock:

  1. First go to the Apple iCloud website: iCloud.com.
    sign in to iCloud website
  2. Then, log in using the Apple ID and password. If you don’t know how to sign in, see Sign in to iCloud.
  3. Click Find iPhone (Even though you are locating an iPad).
    Find My
  4. Select All Devices.
    Select iPad
  5. Find the iPad from the list and pick it.
  6. Click Erase iPad to remove the data remotely.
    erase iPad and remove iCloud Lock
  7. Next, pick Remove From Account.

The iPad will no longer be linked to the Apple account and be free to set up as a new device.

Method 2: Disable lock via Find My

You can remove iPad Activation Lock on your device by simply turning off Find My.

Before you bypass iCloud Activation Lock by switching off Find My you need to know:

  • If the iPad has not yet been wiped then you will need the device passcode. If you don’t know the 4 or 6 digit code you should read How to unlock a passcode-locked iPad. Or you could remotely wipe the iPad via iCloud to remove the passcode lock.

To bypass iCloud Activation Lock from iPad:

  1. Reboot the iPad
  2. Follow the instructions until you get to a screen asking to Sign In with Apple ID
  3. Enter the Apple credentials
  4. Continue the setup process until complete
  5. Once setup tap Settings
  6. Tap the banner at the very top
  7. Scroll all the way down the next screen and pick Sign Out
  8. Enter the Apple ID and password when prompted
  9. Tap Turn Off to remove iCloud Activation Lock.

For more information on this method, see How to turn off Activation Lock.

Method 3: Free bypassing options

If you wish to bypass the Activation Lock on your iPad for free, even without knowing the Apple ID on the device, there is a 5 step process you need to follow:

  1. Check if your iPad is stolen goods.
  2. Ask the seller for help.
  3. Ask Apple Support for help.
  4. Use a free trial of an unlocking tool to hack the iPad.
  5. Get around Activation Lock with a DNS bypass.

To get full details, see How to unlock the iCloud Lock for free.


There are also a number of tools, services, and websites that claim to be able to remove Activation Lock for free. To find out about them, see Tools that remove iCloud lock for free.

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Method 4: Bypass lock using DNS server

To use your iPad without knowing the previous owners’ Apple ID you should bypass iPhone Activation Lock using a DNS server.

It sounds complicated, but it isn’t dangerous and all the steps are provided.

This technique doesn’t allow full use of the device but it provides some limited functionality if all else fails. It is effective and worthwhile but not as good as a full unlock.

iCloud DNS bypass screen

iPad Activation Lock removal instructions:

  1. Make sure the iPad is erased and reset
  2. Remove the SIM card (if your iPad has one)
  3. Reboot your iPad and begin the setup process
  4. Select your country and pick Next.
  5. When you get to the WiFi selection page tap the small (i)
  6. Select More WiFi Settings
  7. Select the small (i)
  8. Under the DNS enter the following address based on your location:
    • North America:
    • Asia:
    • Europe:
    • South America:
    • Other:
  9. Tap Back on the top left of the screen
  10. Pick your WiFi network
  11. Enter your WiFi password, when prompted
  12. On the next screen, tap Back
  13. You should now be logged into the iCloud bypass system and be able to use all the functions and features.

Method 5: Bypass without the previous owner

bypass activation lock on Apple devices

If you can’t get in touch with the previous owner of your iPad you can’t ask them to switch off Find My. This means the seller of the iPad won’t disable Activation Lock or provide the Apple sign-in credentials so you can do it.

So how can you get rid of the iCloud Lock on your iPad without the previous owner’s help?

Recently, a huge number of Activation Lock removal services have sprung up to help device owners in this exact situation.

However, you must be careful as the quality of most of the services is questionable with most being scams.

All the iCloud lock services work using the same basic technique:

  1. You provide your iPad serial number (for WiFi-only models) or the IMEI (for cellular iPads) to the service provider via their website.
  2. Most companies request a deposit.
  3. The service checks if your device is listed as stolen.
  4. If your device is not stolen goods, they will bypass the Activation Lock.
  5. Once the Activation Lock screen has been removed, they will email you to let you know.

Using members of the iChimp community we tested most of the iCloud Activation Lock removal services advertised and found some interesting results:

  1. All Free unlock services we tried failed.
  2. Most paid services were scams.
  3. Services worked best for people who are not technically minded.
  4. Make sure the service you use has a money-back guarantee so you can get a refund if it fails.
  5. Pay using a credit card so you can claim payments back via your card supplier in case the money-back guarantee is not honored.

We found the Apple Activation Lock removal industry is packed with scammers and liars. It is vital you don’t randomly select a supplier. Instead, you should use a reputable iPad Activation Lock bypass service.

To find out how to bypass the lock using our recommended supplier, see how to use DirectUnlocks.

Method 6: Removal without knowing the Apple ID

Many hackers and developers have created software tools and services that remove iPad Activation Lock.

The quality of many of these tools is questionable with most being dangerous.

We tested as many tools as possible to try and remove iCloud Activation Lock. We found most don’t work, and others can damage your iPad permanently. Others infected our computer.

It is vital you use a reputable tool that:

  1. Actually works.
  2. Is constantly upgraded to ensure it stays on top of the latest developments.
  3. Provides free software updates.
  4. Gives good quality and responsive support.
  5. Has a money-back guarantee.
  6. Is easy to install and use.

If you would like to perform the iCloud Activation Lock bypass using a tool, see how to use a software hack.

Method 7: Activation Lock bypass code

Apple tries to make it easy for businesses and schools to manage their stock of Apple products, such as iPads. They include a management suite that allows the organization to remotely control the devices given to their students or employees.

If you have a managed iPad Pro for example, then it can be controlled by the organization that gave it to you. Among other things, this allows organizations to remove the Activation Lock from supervised devices prior to device activation without knowing the userʼs personal Apple ID and password.

This is done by using an Activation Lock bypass code.

The bypass code does not work for all Apple devices, only for those controlled by an organization like a business or school. So if you have a standard iPad Pro you use at home, then you won’t be able to get rid of the Activation Lock using a bypass code as it is not a supervised device.

Method 8: Ask Apple for help

Apple Store

If you have tied all of the fixes suggested and you still can’t remove Activation Lock from your iPad you might consider asking Apple Support for help.

You can do this in 2 ways:

  1. Using the iCloud Activation Lock support portal found here
  2. Or in person at your local Apple Store

I’d recommend going to the Apple Store in person as it gives you the chance to persuade the manager that you are an honest person and that you really do own the iPad you want to be unlocked.

Regardless of the method you choose, Apple will expect some evidence that you are the owner of the device such as the original receipt. Also, proof that you are now the owner such as emails or sales information showing the transfer of ownership to you.

Apple is very fussy and needs to be persuaded beyond all doubt that the device is yours. If you don’t have adequate proof they will not help you. They are well aware that it is easy to fake receipts and other paperwork so this method is often unsuccessful.

If Apple Support does agree to help then the unlock normally takes 7-10 days.

Why your iPad is locked

Although Activation Lock can cause problems on used devices, it is a useful security feature. It helps to protect your iPad from:

  • hackers
  • unauthorized access
  • theft

Using the Find My App you can track your device’s movements if it goes missing. You can even remotely wipe the iPad removing all of the data to prevent unauthorized access to the contents.

There are valid reasons why your iPadOS device may be activation locked such as inheriting a device, restoring a device, or buying a used iPad.

In such cases, the original owner may have forgotten to disable Activation Lock resulting in you being left with a stuck device.

Wrap up

If you misuse the Activation Lock on your iPad you can accidentally disable your iPadOS or iOS device forever. This will make your device unusable.

In order to prevent an issue with Activation Lock, you should always disable it before you sell it or trade it in. And you should check any device you are buying has been unlocked before you pay for it.

This will prevent any issues and remove the need to bypass the Activation Lock.

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