The iCloud activation lock is a security feature of iOS, Apple’s operating system for the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and the Apple Watch. This security system protects your iPhone and its data if it is stolen or lost.
The iCloud lock protects the iPhone and prevents it from being setup and used by anyone else until the owner’s Apple ID and iCloud password are typed into the device. Without the security details, the device can’t be setup or used by anyone but the original owner.
The big issue is when you buy a used iPhone on eBay and find it is unusable due to it being iCloud locked. This very problem led me to research ways to bypass iCloud.
I did find a way of bypassing the activation lock. But I not only found out how to temporarily bypass iCloud activation lock, but I also found out how to remove it permanently, which is brilliant news.
Better than that I found 3 free options, and 2 paid methods giving a wide variety of solutions for you to try out on your own device.
Here are the conclusions of my research:
- The iCloud activation lock can be bypassed
- Before you agree to buy a device:
- If you already bought the device it is too late to do the checks above, but you can still bypass the lock:
- If you want the quickest, easiest and most permanent solution you have to pay to have your device bypassed
- You can unlock iCloud for free but only with the co-operation of the original owner or seller
- You can also potentially have your device unlocked by Apple if you have the original receipt
- Bypassing the iCloud lock using DNS can get you some functionality back
- There are lots of scammers offering iCloud bypass solutions so be careful when picking one
After many hours I found 5 solutions (3 of which are FREE) that will enable you to bypass the iCloud activation lock feature:
- Option 1: Pay to have the iCloud activation lock bypassed (reliable, fast, and easy – but costs money)
- Option 2: Try using a free trial version of LockWiper to remove the lock (works for some – free trial but costs money to finalize unlock)
- Option 3: Ask the original owner to remove iCloud activation lock (free but requires co-operation from the previous owner)
- Option 4: Have Apple remove the iCloud activation lock (free but you need the original purchase receipt)
- Option 5: Bypass activation lock using DNS (free but only offers only limited device usage)
There are many websites that claim to bypass activation lock. Unfortunately, most of them are scams, that offer solutions such as:
- PDF downloads that claim to give the answer – after you buy them you find out they don’t
- Online tools that do real-time unlocking in your web browser. These are simply an excuse to get you to click pop-up ads
- Software downloads that bring viruses with them that infect your computer. Plus they don’t work
So be careful when it comes to trying iPhone or iPad activation lock removal tools from your device.
I would recommend AppleiPhoneUnlock.uk based on their track record, customer feedback, and responsiveness. They scored top in my latest review of suppliers conducted this year. Unlike most of the others that try to lure unsuspecting visitors with lies they actually do a good job.
Bypass activation with AppleiPhoneUnlock.uk
AppleiPhoneUnlock take a couple of days to complete an unlock.
They charge around $60 (€50) but the actual price varies with the model you want to be unlocked. Fees are paid in 2 parts – an initial deposit followed up with a final payment a day or 2 later.
The process is really easy and requires no technical skills. You provide them with the device details and a few days later it is unlocked. This makes it the best method if you aren’t technical, or just want it done without your involvement.
It is also the best choice if you can’t contact the original owner of the device, or Apple refuses to help.
1. Go to AppleiPhoneUnlock.uk and pick the model of iPhone or iPad from the drop-down menu and enter the IMEI number in the box on the screen.
To find out your IMEI code:
- Method 1: For most Devices (except the iPhone 5 and 6) the IMEI is printed on the SIM tray. Pop it out using a paperclip or the SIM removal tool.
- Method 2: If you have an iPhone 5 or 6 your IMEI is printed on the back of the device. flip it over and you’ll see it near the bottom.
- Method 3: If your iPhone is not activated, there will be a little “i” button on the screen, tap it and you’ll see the IMEI
2. Click the Unlock now! button.
3. You will be sent to the secure checkout. Enter your email address so that you can be kept up-to-date with the unlocking process.
4. Click the ‘Continue’ button and provide your payment details and you’re done!
5. If they believe they can unlock iCloud on your device you will get confirmation of your order and a request for payment of the completion fee.
6. Sit back and wait for the unlock to be processed.
7. Once complete, set up your device with your own iCloud account and use it normally.
For more information and to buy an unlock go to the AppleiPhoneUnlock website.
LockWiper is a software tool that claims to unlock iOS devices, but it only works in some very specific circumstances that are described on their website.
OK, it is not strictly free as you have to buy a license to ‘finalize’ an unlock but bear with me – it is still worth trying.
Well, it offers a free trial version that you can try out before you commit to buying.
Once downloaded and installed you can go through the iCloud unlock process LockWiper provides to see if it will work on your device. Doing this using the free version means you can see if it will work without spending any money.
If it looks promising then you know you have a low-cost backup plan to get your device working if none of the other methods in this article work for you.
What’s also great is there are different versions for Windows and Mac computers so you can download the exact version you need.
As I said, the trial version doesn’t finalize the unlock but it does allow you to connect up your device and try out the product. So it is free to test it out.
If it looks like the lock may work you can go ahead and buy a copy safe in the knowledge it will work. I have even managed to negotiate a discount for you to keep the price as affordable as possible.
LockWiper also has a brilliant 30-day money-back guarantee. So if you are unhappy for whatever reason after your purchase it is straightforward to request a refund.
Why do this?
- The trial version is free so you can check if it will work without having to pay anything.
- This is the cheapest ‘paid’ unlock method. So if it looks like this option will work buying a license for LockWiper will be cheaper than trying other paid methods.
- You can buy a license with a 20% discount by using our exclusive coupon code XFR-I7E at the checkout, making it even cheaper.
How to get the free trial
1. Download the free LockWiper trial from their website.
2. Once the software is installed run it and select Unlock Apple ID.
3. Attach your device to the computer.
4. If your device is compatible the Apple ID will be removed (but only on the paid version).
5. If LockWiper doesn’t work on your device you need to try the next method…
If you have purchased a used iPhone or iPad which has a locked iCloud account you should ask the original owner to remove it.
The iCloud activation lock removal can be done remotely so they don’t need access to the device itself to do it.
1. Go to https://www.icloud.com/
2. Type in your Apple ID (email address) and password
3. Click ‘Settings’.
4. Click the device you want to remove from your iCloud account found under ‘My Devices’.
5. Click the small X opposite the device name to remove it.
6. You will be asked to confirm the removal. Click Remove.
7. All done!
If you are struggling, or need a more in-depth tutorial on this I suggest you read my article on how to remove an Apple ID from an iPhone or iPad.
Once the iCloud lock has been removed you will be able to setup your iPhone or iPad normally. You will never be asked for the Apple ID of the previous owner again.
What if the previous owner has forgotten their iCloud details?
The original owner can reset the password if they have forgotten it – as long as they remember their Apple ID.
The Apple ID is the account that they use for everything they do with Apple, like when they shop in the iTunes Store, sign in to iCloud, buy an app, etc. To reset their password, they need to know the email address of their Apple ID.
2. Enter the Apple ID
3. Select the option to reset the password
4. Choose the reset method:
- By answering security questions
- To reset it via email
- To reset it using two-factor authentication
5. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the reset
Apple will unlock the activation lock on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple Watch in some circumstances. To do so, you need to prove:
- You are the owner of the device – by showing your receipt.
- Ownership has been transferred from the original owner to you.
Apple will then check if the device has been reported stolen. If the checks show it has, they will not help you.
If your handset is not reported missing or stolen then they may still refuse to help. For example, if they don’t believe you can adequately prove you are the rightful owner.
Apple rates security and privacy very highly so unless they are 100% sure the device is yours they will not unlock it.
You can bypass iCloud and regain some functionality of your iPhone or iPad by using DNS.
This technique works by using your WiFi to get around the Apple security system. So you won’t need a SIM card in your device to get this to work.
You won’t be using the operating system (iOS) on your device. Instead, you use a server to provide all the smart features such as Facebook and Instagram, as shown in the video below.
This is a good option to have up your sleeve as it allows you to make use of your device even if you can’t get the lock removed in any other way.
However, many people don’t like it as you only get limited access to the features and tools of your iPhone.
If you want full access and you have tried all the other options in this article you will, unfortunately, have no other choice but to pay for iCloud activation lock removal.
iCloud bypass instructions
You set this up as follows:
- Turn on your device
- Go through the setup process until you get to the ‘Choose WiFi Network’ screen
- Click the small ‘i’ next to your WiFi local name
- Tap “Configure DNS”. Tap “Manual”.
- Tap “+Add Server” and a blank will come up.
- Step 7: Enter the server address of your location:
– USA: 126.96.36.199
– Europe: 188.8.131.52
– Asia: 184.108.40.206
– Africa, Australia, and other locations: 220.127.116.11
- Tap “Back >” at the top left of the screen.
- Click your Wi-Fi network
- Type in the Wi-Fi password and click “Join” at the top right
- The iPhone 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.
- Once logged in you will see a screen which will say something like “iCloudDNSBypass.net” at the top.
- You have managed to bypass the iCloud activation lock!
There are some dodgy people out there who sell devices knowing that they have an activation lock on them. The best thing to do is check for this before you pay for it.
If you are able to get your hands on the device before you pay for it do the following:
- Turn on the device
- If you are asked for the passcode, face ID, or fingerprint the device has not been reset back to factory defaults
Ask the seller to do the following before you pay them:
- Unlock the device
- Click Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings
They will be asked for the Apple ID and password to do this
If they can’t unlock the device then this is a big issue. If they are unable to erase everything because they don’t know the Apple ID and password this should also make you concerned.
Do not pay for the product until it is properly erased and unlocked. If you do, then you may be stuck with a device that you have to pay to unlock yourself.
If you are buying at a distance ask them to make a video showing the above. This is fairly easy to do and shouldn’t raise an objection from a reputable seller.
The other thing you should do is check if the device is stolen. A stolen device is highly likely to have an activation lock on it.
You can find out if the device you bought is stolen using the Stolen Phone Checker. It is a free online tool that lets you check (U.S. consumers only).
It will request your IMEI which you can find like this:
- Option 1: If your iPhone is not activated, there will be a little “i” button on the screen, tap it and you’ll see the IMEI
- Option 2: If you have an iPhone 5 or newer, your IMEI is printed on the back of the device
You should be able to bypass the activation lock on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Apple Watch using the different options mentioned above.
I would suggest you try to have the previous owner or Apple unlock your device first – as they are the cheapest and most reliable options.
It is also worth downloading and giving LockWiper a try. The free trial means you can see if it will work for you before you pay a penny. The paid version is cheaper than the cost of using AppleiPhoneUnlock so this is the best value paid method.
If these fail, I suggest you get in touch with AppleiPhoneUnlock and ask them to do it on your behalf. They are reliable and respond to questions quickly.
If you have any other suggestions, or questions feel free to leave a comment below.