As an Apple Certified Independent Technician with over a decade of experience with mobile technology, I often get asked about what can be done when an iPad or iPhone has the Apple iCloud activation lock enabled.
In this in-depth article, I give 5 different methods 2,356 website visitors have used to successfully bypass the iCloud lock on an Apple smartphone or tablet.
You will learn:
- 3 quick & easy methods of bypassing the iCloud activation lock that anyone can do
- A downloadable iCloud bypass tool that can remove the activation lock from your iOS device
- A trusted service that can get rid of the iCloud lock
These solutions will enable you to bypass iCloud lock on iPads or iPhones locked with a 4-digit or 6-digit passcode, or with face ID, or touch ID enabled.
Table of Contents
Why am I qualified to talk about the iCloud bypass process?
I have more than 10 years of practical, hands-on experience supporting Mac computers, iPhones, and iPads. During this time I have helped hundreds of people bypass iCloud activation lock on their devices.
My practical experience is backed up with 5 years of AppleCare service certification for both iOS and Mac.
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 iOS 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 owner’s Apple ID and password it will disable activation lock and allow you to continue the setup process. Without these details, or knowing how to bypass iCloud activation lock you will be unable to use the device.
The Apple activation lock works in tandem with the Find My app.
What is the Find My app?
Find My is a software tool available for free on the Apple app store that helps you locate missing devices. It helps find Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple Watch products registered to the same Apple ID.
When you use Find My the location of your device is shown on a map so you can easily find it.
Both Find My 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 perfect if you lose your 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 how to bypass the activation lock screen.
Find My and the iCloud 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 screen 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 a used Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Apple Watch.
Can the activation lock be bypassed?
Yes, there are 5 ways to perform an iCloud activation lock bypass on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Apple Watch products.
Some important things you need to know:
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 and it is activation locked 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 to bypass iCloud lock – so read on to find out who you should use
How to bypass activation lock
- Use an activation lock bypass service (reliable, fast, and easy)
- Use a trial version of iBypasser to remove the activation lock (DIY unlocking software)
- Ask the original owner to remove the activation lock (requires co-operation from the original owner)
- Request Apple remove the iCloud activation lock (you need the original purchase receipt)
- DNS iCloud activation lock bypass (good last resort as it partially unlocks iPhone and iPad)
1. Use an iCloud activation lock bypass service
Using a service to bypass iCloud lock is the easiest way to get your iPad or iPhone working properly because it is completely hands-off. You simply provide the details of your device and the service provider does the rest.
There are many companies online 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 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.
Of all the companies available I would recommend the IMEIdoctor unlocking 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.
How to bypass iCloud activation lock feature using 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 your locked iPhone model 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 permanent unlock to be processed.
7. Once complete, set up your device with your own account password and use it normally.
2: Use iCloud bypass software to get around the lock
The best iCloud bypass software tool is iBypasser because it is able to unlock iPadOS or iOS devices.
They offer a trial version that you can try out before you commit to buying. You do have to buy a license to ‘finalize’ the iCloud bypass but you can try it out before you commit to buying.
Once downloaded and installed to your computer you can go through the activation lock bypass process iBypasser provides to see if it will work on your device. Doing this using the trial 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 tool.
iBypasser also has a 30-day money-back guarantee. So if you are unhappy for whatever reason after your purchase it is straightforward to request a refund.
This tool is safe, legal and fully guaranteed. Overall it is effective, easy to use, and packed with amazing features. Currently, it is the only software tool I recommend.
What computers does this iCloud Bypass software run on?
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.
Are there any drawbacks?
There are a couple of cons with iBypasser.
Firstly, you need good computer skills to download, install, and run the tool. It isn’t too complex but it isn’t as simple as using an unlocking service where they do it all for you.
Secondly, it will attempt to jailbreak your Apple device. Jailbreaking means making unauthorized changes in a device’s operating system or bios without Apple’s permission.
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.
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.
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 device is compatible the software will jailbreak it.
4. Next, it will unlock Apple ID and bypass the iCloud activation lock screen (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 original owner to remove the activation lock
If you have purchased a used Apple product that has a locked iCloud account you should ask the original owner to remove it.
The removal can be done remotely so they don’t need your device to do it. Instead, they can log in to their iCloud account using a web browser and remove the device without having it in their possession. This is the ideal solution if you bought the Apple product from someone on the other side of the country.
This will disable both the Find My iPhone and the activation lock security systems.
The original owner 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. Choose the device you want to remove from your iCloud account found under ‘My Devices’.
5. Click the small X 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 the iPhone activation lock you will be able to setup your iPhone or iPad normally. You will never be asked for the Apple ID of the original owner 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 activation lock and regain some functionality of your iPhone or iPad by using this DNS server 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.
DNS iCloud bypass video guide
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 an iCloud DNS bypass 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 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!
iCloud bypass compatibility
The methods described in this guide are compatible with most models of iPad and iPhone currently available. This means you can follow the steps provided confident in the knowledge that you will be able to bypass iCloud activation lock on your specific iOS device.
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone 11
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 6S
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 5S
- iPhone 5C
- iPhone 4S
- iPad Pro
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air
- iPad Mini
- iOS 7
- iOS 8
- iOS 9
- iOS 10
- iOS 11
- iOs 12
- iOS 13
- iOS 14
- iPadOS 13
- iPadOS 14
Avoid Activation Lock When Buying a Used iPad or 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 iPad or 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?
It is possible to remove activation lock by asking the seller, asking Apple, using a DNS bypass, paying an unlock service like IMEdoctor, or by using software such iBypasser.
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 iPhone activation lock?
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 bypass, or remove activation lock on 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.
Can I iCloud bypass iPhone 12 running iOS 14?
All 5 of the methods of bypassing the iCloud activation lock mentioned in this guide work on the latest Apple devices and iOS software. It is also worth mentioning that the testing was also done on the latest iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini products running iPadOS.
Is iCloud unlock bypass compatible with 11 Pro Max running iOS 13?
Yes, you can unlock iCloud on all modern iPhones running the latest version of iOS. The iBypasser tool recommended is easy to use with a simple interface making it one of the most popular tools on the market in 2021. It is risk-free, offers 'try before you buy', and a 30-day money-back guarentee.
Is the iCloud bypass process safe, secure and legal?
All of the advice given in this guide is safe, secure, and legal but some are not without risk. Where there are any potential risks they are highlighted and explained so that you are well informed before you decide to proceed. The aim is to get your iDevice working properly without any security issues hampering your efforts.
What problem does an iCloud bypass solve?
An iCloud bypass allows you to unlock iCloud activation lock on any Apple device. For example, if you buy a second-hand iPad that has the activation lock message on-screen you can get past it so you can use the device. This helps people who, through no fault of their own, mistakenly buy locked devices by allowing them to use their purchases.
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 get the previous owner or Apple to unlock your device first – as they are the cheapest and most reliable options.
It is also worth giving the iBypasser bypass tool a try. The free trial means you can see if it will work for you before you purchase a license. The paid version is cheaper than most unlocking services making it great value – although it doesn’t work for everyone.
If these fail, I suggest you get in touch with IMEIdoctor and ask them to unlock your device using their iCloud bypass service. They are reliable and respond to questions quickly.
If you need more background information on Apple iCloud then you can find out about:
- What is iCloud and what can it be used to do on an iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Apple Watch.
- Is iCloud safe to use and is your data stored safely and securely.
- How to setup and configure iCloud on your Apple device.
- How to remove an Apple ID from an iPhone or iPad if you want to use a different one on your device.
Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you.
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.