In this article, I explain 5 different ways to quickly and easily bypass iCloud activation lock. Best of all 3 of these techniques are completely FREE. These solutions can do an iCloud bypass on devices locked with a 4-digit or 6-digit passcode or with face ID or touch ID enabled.
What is the iCloud Activation Lock?
The iCloud activation lock is a security feature of macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS which are Apple’s operating systems for Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple Watch.
The lock is designed to protect your data if your device is stolen or lost.
For example, it protects a stolen iPad by preventing it from being set up until the owner’s details, including the Apple ID password, are typed into the tablet. Without these security details, the iPad can’t be used by anyone but the original owner.
The same protection is provided to all Apple devices including Mac computers with the T2 security chip installed.
When the iCloud Activation Lock has been enabled you will 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”.
It will also show part of the Apple ID in the form of an email address as a reminder. This appears when you attempt to set up the device.
When you sign in using the original owners’ Apple ID and password and the lock is disabled allowing you to continue the setup process. Without these details, or knowing how to bypass this iCloud lock you will be unable to use the device.
The activation lock works in tandem with Find My iPhone.
What is Find My iPhone?
Find My iPhone is a software tool that locates missing devices. Despite its name, it helps find Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple Watch products registered to the same Apple ID.
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 Activation Lock are automatically enabled when a new Apple product is set up.
Both of these tools create a security system that is very hard to penetrate.
This security is brilliant for those people that lose their device and want to keep the contents secure. It deters theft but can prevent legitimate buyers from setting up pre-owned devices. This has left many buyers frustrated, with some even discarding the devices they bought, because they don’t know what to do when the activation lock screen has been enabled.
Find My iPhone and the activation lock can be disabled by the original owner but because it is a default setting it is normally enabled on most pre-owned Apple products.
Disabling the activation lock is one of 10 things I suggest buyers do before they sell or trade in their Apple product. Not all sellers know this so you check it has been disabled for yourself before you agree to buy any used Apple device.
Can the Activation Lock be bypassed?
Yes, I have discovered 5 ways to bypass the iCloud activation lock screen on iPhone or iPad.
Better than that, I didn’t just find out how to bypass activation lock, but I also found out how to remove it permanently, which is brilliant news.
In total, I found 3 free options, and 2 paid unlocking methods which will give you a wide variety of things for you to try out on your own device.
Here are the conclusions of my research:
- You can bypass iCloud Activation.
- Before you agree to buy a used device you should:
- always check the device isn’t activation locked
- check the device you’re about to buy hasn’t been logged as stolen on IMEI.info
- If you already bought the device it is pointless doing the checks I mentioned in point 2 (above) but you can still bypass the lock:
- If you want the quickest, easiest, and the most permanent solution you have to pay to have your device bypassed
- You can unlock iCloud for free but only with the cooperation of the 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 systems so be careful when picking one
Recommended iCloud bypass solutions
After many hours I found 5 solutions (3 of which are FREE) which are summarised below:
- Pay for an activation lock bypass (reliable, fast, and easy – but costs money)
- Try using a free trial version of iBypasser to remove the activation lock (works for some – free trial but costs money to finalize unlock)
- Ask the seller to remove iCloud activation lock (free but requires co-operation from the seller)
- Have Apple remove the iCloud activation lock (free but you need the original purchase receipt)
- Bypass activation lock for free using DNS (free but only offers limited device usage on iPhone and iPad)
1. Pay to have the activation lock bypassed
There are many websites that claim to help you perform an activation lock bypass. Unfortunately, most of them are scams, that offer things like:
- 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 these types of tools on your iPadOS or iOS device.
I would recommend the IMEIdoctor service – 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.
An iCloud bypass service is the easiest way to get your iPhone or iPad working properly because it is completely hands-off. You simply provide the details of your device and IMEIdoctor does the rest.
How to bypass activation lock with IMEIdoctor
IMEIdoctor normally takes 5 days to complete an unlock, but you can pay an extra fee of around $10 USD for a 24-hour turnaround.
They charge from $40 USD or £35.99 GBP but the actual price varies with the model you want to be unlocked.
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 IMEIdoctor and pick the model of iPhone or iPad from the drop-down menu and enter the IMEI or serial number in the box on the screen.
To find out your IMEI number:
- Method 1: For most Devices (except the iPhone 5 and 6) the IMEI number 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 number 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 “Remove Activation Lock” button.
3. You will be sent to the secure checkout. Double-check all the details you entered are correct before paying.
4. Click the ‘Credit/Debit Payment’ button and provide your payment details and you’re done!
5. If they believe they can unlock your iPhone 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 account password and use it normally.
2: Try a free trial version of iBypasser to remove the lock
iBypasser is a software tool that claims to unlock an aniPadOS or iOS device, 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 iBypasser 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.
The only downside is that you need to have a computer to download and use this software.
As I said, the trial version doesn’t finalize the unlock but it does allow you to connect up your iPadOS or iOS device and try out the product. So it is free to test it out.
If it looks like the unlock may work you can go ahead and buy a copy safe in the knowledge it will work.
iBypasser 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 should you get a free trial?
- 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 iBypasser will be cheaper than trying other paid methods.
Are there any drawbacks?
Yes, the software will attempt to jailbreak your Apple iPhone or iPad.
Jailbreaking means making unauthorized changes in a device’s operating system or bios without Apple’s permission.
It is worth pointing out that Apple does not support a device that had been jailbroken as it violated their terms and conditions and they claim it can cause all sorts of damage.
In reality, it doesn’t cause damage but it is worth mentioning.
Many owners of Apple devices choose to jailbreak them so they have more control over the software they can install on them. This is because Apple only allows owners to download and install apps from the official Apple Store preventing anything else from being installed. This restriction frustrates many and led to the large underground community of owners that chose to install any app they want.
How to download and use iBypasser
1. Download the free iBypasser trial from their website.
2. Once the software is installed connect your iPadOS or iOS device using your USB cable.
3. If your iPhone or iPad is compatible the software will jailbreak it.
4. If your iPhone or iPad is compatible the Apple ID password will be removed (but only on the paid version).
5. Once completed, you will be able to setup the device.
If iBypasser doesn’t work on your iPadOS or iOS device you need to try the next method…
3: Ask the seller to remove the activation lock
If you have purchased a used iPhone or iPad which has a locked iCloud account you should ask the seller to remove it.
The removal can be done remotely so they don’t need access to the device to do it. Instead, they can log in to their iCloud account and remove the device without having it in their possession. This is the ideal solution if you bought the iPhone or iPad from someone on the other side of the country.
This will disable both the Find My iPhone and the activation lock security systems.
The seller needs to follow this procedure:
1. Go to https://www.icloud.com/
2. Type in your Apple ID (email address) and account password
3. Click ‘Settings’.
4. Click the iPhone or iPad you want to remove from your iCloud account found under ‘My Devices’.
5. Click the small X opposite the iPhone or iPad 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 10 Things You Must Do Before Selling Or Trading In Your iPhone or iPad.
Once you remove iCloud activation lock you will be able to setup your iPhone or iPad normally. You will never be asked for the Apple ID of the seller again.
What if the previous owner has forgotten their Apple ID account details?
The original owner can reset the password if they have forgotten it – as long as they remember their Apple ID account information.
The Apple ID is the iCloud 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 account 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 Apple ID reset
4: Ask Apple to remove iCloud activation lock
Apple will perform an activation lock bypass 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 proof of purchase.
- Ownership has been transferred 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 Apple may still refuse to help. For example, if they don’t believe you can adequately prove you are the rightful owner by showing the proof of purchase.
Apple rates security and privacy very highly so unless they are 100% sure the device is yours they will not unlock it.
5: Activation lock bypass using DNS
You can bypass iCloud and regain some functionality of your iPhone or iPad by using this DNS method.
This technique works by using your WiFi to get around the Apple security system. So you won’t need a SIM card in your iPhone or iPad to get this to work.
You won’t be using the operating system (iOS) on your iPhone or iPad. 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 Apple device even if you can’t an activation lock bypass using any other method.
After you have bypassed iCloud using DNS you will be able to:
- Watch video
- Browse websites
- Play games
- Listen to music or radio
- Chat with friends
- Get expert help
Nobody knows if this method will always work, or if Apple is working to block this loophole. There are a few things that could happen to prevent this from working in the future, such as:
- Apple may change iOS and iPadOS to block the DNS servers (although it still works today)
- The companies that run the servers may shut them down
On the bright side, this tool has been working for a while and there are no rumors from Apple that they plan to block it. However, from their point of view, Apple wants to stop theft. Having this exploit allows stolen iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches to be used – so they may be looking at ways to prevent this.
The people that run this service are also using a lot of resources to keep it running.
- 10 million users worldwide
- 99.9% uptime
- 50 million DNS requests per hour
- 5 million HTTPS requests per day
It’s not a perfect solution – but you do get some good features for free.
And considering the alternative – a blocked iPhone or iPad – then it is better than nothing.
However, I would prefer to use my device normally and if I couldn’t do that for free, I’d pay to remove the iCloud activation lock.
How to setup iCloud DNS bypass
- 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 type in one of the following
- USA: 188.8.131.52
- Europe: 184.108.40.206
- Asia: 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 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.
- Once logged in you will see a screen that will say something like “iCloudDNSBypass.net” at the top.
- All done – you have managed to set up the DNS bypass!
Avoid Activation Lock When Buying a Used iPhone
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 iPhone or iPad 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 iPhone or iPad then this is a big issue. If they are unable to erase everything because they don’t know the device’s 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
Selling your old iPhone? Disable iCloud activation lock first
You can prevent the need for an activation lock bypass on your iPhone if you disable find my iPhone on your iOS device before you sell it.
You will need to sign in to your Apple ID to access your iCloud account and turn off the activation lock on iPhone or iPad you are selling. This will prevent the awkward iPad or iOS lock screen from appearing on the device’s screen.
Indeed, disabling the Apple iPhone or iPad Apple ID security will mean the buyer won’t need to worry about finding out how to do an activation lock bypass on their new device.
This makes the selling process much easier for both you, and the buyer.
How do you bypass Apple ID activation lock?
Bypassing the Apple ID activation lock is possible by either asking the seller to remove it, asking Apple to remove it, using a DNS bypass, paying an unlock service like IMEdoctor, or by using software such iBypasser. The specific steps to achieve this are covered in the article above.
How do you bypass iCloud activation lock on iPad?
Although the iPad is a different device from the iPhone the security system used on both is the same as they are linked to an Apple ID account. This means the instructions described above apply to all models of the Apple iPad too. If you have an iPad simply follow the steps above.
How do you bypass iCloud activation lock on iPhone?
All iPhone devices use iOS – which is secured with Find My iPhone and the activation lock. These can be bypassed on iPhone devices by following the steps given above carefully. This will allow you to remove, or bypass iCloud activation lock on your iPhone.
What’s the difference between the iCloud activation lock and the SIM lock?
The iCloud activation lock is the security element of iOS. It is designed to deter thieves by making it hard to activate stolen devices. The SIM lock ties your device to a specific carrier so you can't swap the SIM in a locked device to one from another carrier as it won't work. You will be unable to send messages or make calls.
I live in a country without an Apple Store. What should I do?
Go to to Apple Support found at support.apple.com and contact them. They will give you the support option in your country.
What does iCloud bypass mean?
An iCloud bypass is a method of getting around the activation lock and Find My security systems built into Apple devices. It allows the owner to setup and use an iPhone or iPad that has the iCloud Activation Lock screen enabled.
Is iCloud DNS Bypass safe?
Yes, the iCloud DNS bypass method is perfectly safe. Any changes made to your device is reversible and it doesn't void the warranty on your Apple device.
You should be able to bypass the activation lock on 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 iBypasser 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.
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Please understand that I recommend these tools because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.
Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.