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How to bypass Activation Lock without knowing the Apple ID

When you forget your Apple ID it is a nightmare as you need it before you can sign out of Find My or iCloud on your device.

This means you can’t turn off the Activation Lock feature on the device.

This is a common issue with second-hand Apple products where owners sell their device without noticing the iCloud lock is blocking the new owner from using it.

As an Apple Certified Independent Technician, I have written this guide showing you step-by-step how to permanently bypass the Activation Lock screen in situations when you forgot or don’t know the Apple ID.

iPhone showing DNS unlock method


The solutions covered in this article include:

  • Using tools to hack the lock.
  • Using a DNS bypass.
  • Getting the previous owner to switch of Find My and disable the lock.
  • Using Apple’s official methods.
  • What to do if you forgot your Apple ID or password.

If you need to know more about bypassing, including several techniques to try, see how iCloud unlock any Apple device.

Activation Lock removal methods without the Apple account

Use a service


The quickest and easiest method to bypass the iCloud activation lock screen is to use an online service.

I found unlocking using an online service simple and stress-free. I provided the supplier with my device details and they took care of the rest. Within a few days, the iPhone activation lock was removed and I could use my secondhand iPhone normally.

For more information, see the best Apple ID bypass tools.

The biggest issue I found was the huge number of scammers online. Many claimed to be able to remove Activation Lock when they couldn’t. This makes it very important to select the correct supplier otherwise you may end up wasting time and money.

SupplierMethodCostReason to avoid
iCloud Unlock BuddyTool$25The software doesn’t unlock iCloud.
Unlock InstantlyService£10.95No Company details are provided on the website. No response to my inquiries.
iPhone Approved UnlockService£14.99 deposit + £30.00 = $44.99Didn’t work.  No company details are given on the website.
IMEI24Service$160Didn’t work.  No company details are given on the website.
AppUnlockService€30.99No Company details are provided on the website. No response to my inquiries.
iRemove ToolsTool£29.99Tool doesn’t work.
iCloud RemoverService$29.99No Company details are provided on the website. No response to my inquiries.
CellUnlockerService$49.99Take payment then claim the device can’t be unlocked as it’s marked as stolen. Refunds are often refused.
WooTechy iSalvorTool$39.95 / monthYou won’t be able to make calls, use cellular data, or access iCloud on your device after bypassing.

After testing many companies over a long period of time I found the best solution is provided by DirectUnlocks.

Simply go to the website and provide them with a few simple details including:

  • The device model
  • The IMEI or serial number


To bypass iCloud Activation Lock and remove the Apple ID, do the following:

  1. Click this link: Reputable Activation Lock removal service.
  2. Scroll down a little, then click the red button that says Go to DirectUnlocks to go to the website.
  3. In the box, type in the serial or IMEI number of your device. Your Apple product is automatically identified.
  4. Click Unlock iCloud.
  5. Your order details will appear on the checkout page.
  6. In the box, type in your email address.
  7. Where it says I agree to the terms and conditions, tick the box.
  8. Checkout and pay using your chosen payment method.
  9. You will be emailed when the bypass is completed.

Use DNS bypass

You can get around the iCloud activation lock using a DNS bypass. Learn more about setting up and using iCloud.

The iCloud DNS bypass method has been in use for many years. It allows you to use your device without actually removing the Activation Lock.

It achieves this by using an alternative DNS server to Apple. This DNS server provides different services that can run on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. For example, you can browse social media, watch YouTube videos, and more.

Unfortunately, because the Activation Lock is still enabled on your device you do not have full functionality. This makes it a last resort when you can’t bypass the Apple ID using other methods.

In order to perform an iCloud DNS bypass do the following:

  1. Turn on your device.
  2. Go through the setup process until you get to the Choose WiFi Network screen.
    activation lock bypass
  3. Click the small i next to your WiFi local name
  4. Tap Configure DNS.
  5. Tap Manual.activation lock bypass
  6. Tap +Add Server and type in one of the following:
    • USA:
    • Europe:
    • Asia:
  7. At the top left of the screen, tap Back. activation lock bypass
  8. Click your Wi-Fi network.
  9. Type in the Wi-Fi password and Join it.
  10. The phone will try to activate by going to a new screen. Don’t let it, hit the Back button at the top right to return to the WiFi page where you will be logged in.
  11. Once logged in you will see the iCloud bypass screen that will say something like iCloudDNSBypass.net at the top.

activation lock bypass

Get the previous owners help

If you don’t know the Apple ID password for your device you can ask the previous owner for help. Since the original owner enabled Activation Lock on your Apple device, they should be able to turn it off.

The iCloud Activation Lock can be removed by the previous owner remotely. Simply ask them to do the following:

  1. Go to the iCloud website.
  2. When prompted, sign in using their Apple ID and password.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Under My Devices, pick the device they want to unlock by clicking the X.
  5. Click Remove, to confirm the removal of the device from the iCloud account.

After following the preceding steps, you will no longer be asked for the previous owners’ Apple ID on your device.

iCloud unlocking when you forgot your Apple ID

If you have forgotten your Apple ID you can find it out using the following methods:

  • On another device logged in using the same Apple ID look under iCloud or Media and purchases.
  • On your Apple Mac under System preferences, look at the iCloud account details.
  • On your Apple TV, you will find your Apple ID in the Settings.
  • You can also find you’re Apple ID via iCloud for Windows.

Another useful method is done via the Apple ID account page. You simply provide your first and last name together with your email address and you will be given your Apple ID.

To find out more, see What to do if you forgot your Apple ID or password.

Reset your Apple ID password

To reset your password using iForgot:

  1. In the box, enter your Apple ID to get started.
    find your apple ID
  2. If you have a phone number linked to your account the website will prompt you to verify it.
    confirm your apple id phone number
  3. A message will be sent to your Apple devices with a prompt to reset your password.
  4. You can tap the prompt, follow it, and get a new password.

enter iphone passcode for reset

Ask the seller for help

Get in touch with the seller and ask them to remove the device from their Apple account.

This shouldn’t be a problem for the original owner if they simply forgot to do this before selling the Apple device.

You don’t need to worry about sending the device to them – they can remove the Apple ID remotely without having the phone in their possession.

So if you bought a device from a seller located on the other side of the country it isn’t a problem.

When the seller disables Find My, the Activation Lock will be bypassed and you will be able to setup your device as your own. It won’t ask for the previous owners’ Apple ID password again.

Apple believes someone has attempted to hack into your account. To prevent unauthorized access they have locked your Apple ID so that your personal information is secured. You need to verify your account before you can use your Apple ID.

For more information, see How to unlock an Apple ID locked for security reasons.

Wrap up

Apple’s aim is to offer you a secure and stable ecosystem, but let’s face it, sometimes this can get a bit complex, especially when unforeseen issues or glitches pop up.

Fortunately, you’ve got the iCloud Activation Lock bypassing solutions in this guide at your disposal to help you sort it out.

If you have any issues, or questions on this topic  feel free to leave a comment below. I love to hear from readers and am happy to help.

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