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Activation Lock on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Mini

iPad Activation Lock is part of Find My – a feature created by Apple to stop anyone else from using your iPad if it is ever stolen.

Activation Lock is enabled automatically when you configure Find My on your device. Or when you sign in to your iCloud account from your iPad.

Find My works by keeping your iPad secure – even when in the wrong hands. It prevents reactivation of your device by requesting your Apple ID and password is entered into the iPad.

This means nobody else can reset and use your iPad without your permission.

Activation Lock can be found on all models of iPad, including:

  • iPad
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Pro
  • iPad mini

Find My, and Activation Lock was designed to stop the theft of iPad’s. It makes it almost impossible to resell stolen or lost devices with the Activation Lock turned on.

iPad showing Activation Lock message

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How it works

The Activation Lock status is not held on the iPad but on Apple’s servers.

When your iPad is activated it contacts Apple to check if Activation Lock is enabled. If it is turned on, the iPad requests the Apple ID password with the following message:

“This device is linked to an Apple ID. Enter the Apple ID and password that were used to set up this device”.

Once the correct Apple ID and password have been entered into the iPad, you will be able to erase and reactivate it.

Since Activation Lock is not held on the iPad wiping and resetting it will not get rid of it. If you do erase your device the contents will be gone but the lock will remain.

If you ever lose your iPad you should go into Find My and mark it as lost. This will lock the screen. You can also wipe the data, send a sound, or display a message on the screen remotely using Find My.

Activation Lock remains enabled as long as you keep Find My turned on. Learn more about Find My.

iPad Activation Lock removal

To remove Activation Lock you need to turn off Find My.

The easiest way to do this is by signing in to your iPad using the same Apple ID that enabled it:

  1. Tap Settings > [your name].
  2. Scroll down and tap Sign Out.
  3. Enter your Apple ID and password and tap Turn Off.

This is easy if you know the sign credentials.

If you don’t know, or can’t remember the Apple ID then read on to find out what to do…

How to remove iPad Activation Lock without your Apple ID password

If you have forgotten your Apple ID password, find out how to reset it. Once reset, you will be able to turn off Activation Lock using your new password.

If you can’t reset the Apple ID password it is very difficult to remove the lock.

There are a few options you can try:

  • Ask the previous owner to remove Activation Lock remotely or in person.
  • Ask Apple for help.
  • Use iCloud Activation Lock removal tools.
  • Request an Activation Lock removal service.

To find out more, see How to remove Activation Lock from an iPad.

How to remove iPad Activation Lock without the previous owner

If you can’t get in touch with the previous owner and don’t know the Apple ID password you can:

  • Ask Apple for help.
  • Use Activation Lock removal tools.
  • Request an iCloud Lock removal service.

If you need help removing Activation Lock and have proof of purchase documentation, you can start an Activation Lock support request via the Apple Support website.

If you don’t have any documentation then you need to use an Activation Lock removal service or tool.

For more useful solutions to this issue, check out the resources.

How to remove Activation Lock when your iPad is linked to another Apple ID

If your pre-owned iPad is linked to an Apple ID that you don’t recognize, then you need to get rid of it.

You can try the following:

  • Ask the seller to remove their Apple ID remotely or in person.
  • Ask Apple for support.
  • Use Apple ID removal tools.
  • Use an Apple ID removal service.

For other practical options for this problem, check out the resources.

Resources

To find out more about bypassing, unlocking, or removing Activation Lock on any Apple device, or on a specific iPad model read the following guides:

You can also find out about free methods to unlock iCloud .

What to do if you plan to sell your iPad

Firstly, you should turn off Find My on your device.

You should switch it off regardless of whether you plan to give away, trade-in, or sell it.

If you forget to turn off Find My, your iPad will be Activation Locked. This means it will not be able to be used normally by the new owner.

There are 10 things I advise you to do before you sell your iPad. To find out more, see 10 things you must do before selling or trading in your iPhone.

You should also check the Activation Lock status of a used iPad before you pay for it. For more details, see How to check the Activation Lock status of an iPad.

Activation Lock on other Apple products

Activation Lock and Find My can be found on all new Apple computing products. For more information see:

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