The iPhone Activation Lock is a security feature of Apple’s iOS operating system.
Activation lock is designed to protect your iPhone, and its data if it is stolen or lost.
It works by preventing your iPhone from being reset and reused until the owner’s Apple ID and password are typed into the device.
The iPhone Activation Lock or iCloud lock is a feature of Find My iPhone, which is an implementation of Apple’s proprietary security system.
The lock is enabled when you set up the Find My app. Or when you sign in to your iCloud account from your iPhone.
This security system was designed to discourage theft by making it almost impossible to resell stolen devices with Activation Lock switched on.
How Activation Lock works
If you are given or buy a used iPhone you can tell if it has Activation Lock turned on when you see a message that says:
“This device is linked to an Apple ID. Enter the Apple ID and password that were used to set up this device”.
If you factory reset the iPhone it will erase all of the contents and settings but it will not get rid of the Activation Lock. When you try to set up the iPhone after a reset the message will re-appear and you won’t be able to continue setting up the phone.
If you lose your iPhone you should mark it as lost in Find My which locks the screen. You can also wipe the data from your iPhone remotely using Find My.
About Find My
Find My is a free App that helps you locate missing devices. It helps find Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and other Apple iOS products registered to your iCloud ID.
You can download Find My iPhone from the Apple App store on your device.
When you use Find My iPhone the location of your device is shown on a map so you can easily find it.
Both Find My iPhone and the iCloud Activation Lock are automatically enabled when a new Apple product is set up.
iPhone Activation Lock removal
To remove Activation Lock you need to turn off Find My iPhone.
The easiest way to do this is by signing in to the device using the same Apple ID that enabled it:
- Tap Settings > [your name].
- Scroll down and tap Sign Out.
- Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off.
What to do if you forgot your Apple ID or password
All Apple IDs are email addresses. If you have forgotten it, find out how to reset your Apple ID password.
Apple warns “If you can’t find your Apple ID or reset your password, you’ll lose access to your account and may be unable to use or reactivate your device. ”
So it is simple to turn off the Activation Lock if you know the Apple ID password of the owner. If you don’t, it is very difficult to get rid of the iCloud lock.
However, there are a few things you can do to remove the Activation Lock without the Apple ID or previous owner:
- Ask the previous owner to remove it remotely or in person.
- Ask Apple Support for help.
- Use iCloud unlocking tools.
- Try an Activation Lock removal service.
To find out more about bypassing, unlocking, or removing Activation Lock on any Apple device, or on a specific iPhone model see the following guides:
- How to bypass, unlock, or remove Activation Lock
- iPhone Activation Lock Removal
- Bypass iCloud Activation on iPhone 13
- iPhone 12 Activation Lock bypass
- iPhone 11 iCloud Lock Bypass
- How to easily bypass iCloud on iPhone XR
- iPhone XS iCloud bypass
- iPhone X iCloud Lock bypass
- iPhone SE Activation Lock Bypass Guide
- Bypass Activation Lock on iPhone 6
- Bypass iCloud Activation on iPhone 5
- Remove Activation Lock on iPhone 4
You can also find out how to unlock iCloud for free.
Remember, this security system was designed to discourage theft by making it almost impossible to resell stolen devices.
What to do if you plan to sell your iPhone
You should switch off Find My on your iPhone before you sell, trade-in, or give away your device. If you don’t, your iPhone will be Activation Locked and anyone who gets the device will be unable to use it normally.
There are a total of 10 different things I advise you to do, as well as turn off Activation Lock. To find out more, see 10 things you must do before selling or trading in your iPhone.
You should also check for the Activation Lock before you buy a used iPhone. For more details, see How to check the Activation Lock status of a device.
Activation Lock on other Apple products
Activation Lock and Find My can be found on all new Apple computing products. For more information see: