- iCloud Activation Lock is an iPadOS security feature designed to stop theft by requiring the original owners’ Apple ID password before reactivitaing an iPad.
- If you get an iPad Activation locked you should get it unlocked by the original owner
- If you can’t get the original owners’ password Apple Support may be able to unlock the iPad for you
- If Apple Support and the original owner can’t help then you can disable the iCloud Activation Lock using a third-party unlocking service
Apple created the Activation Lock to reduce the theft of its devices. It is part of the operating system that runs on the iPad called iPadOS.
The Activation Lock works by preventing the resetting of an iPad unless the Apple ID password of the original owners’ account is used to unlock it. This prevents thieves from selling stolen iPad’s because they are unable to wipe and reactivate them.
This can be an issue if you inherit a locked device, or forget your Apple ID password. Often you can buy a used iPad online and when it arrives discover the seller hasn’t unlocked it.
The official line from Apple is that the Activation Lock is impossible to hack, bypass, or remove. However, there are some third-party unlocking services that claim to be able to unlock an iCloud locked iPad. I’ll go into more details on this later in this article.
If you’re trying to remove Activation Lock from an iPhone instead of an iPad, we’ve got an article on iCloud Activation Lock removal.
How to bypass iCloud Activation Lock on an iPad
The official way to remove the iCloud Activation Lock from an iPad is by using the Apple ID and password used to originally activate the device.
If you have a wiped device and you know the details do the following:
- Turn on the device
- Follow the on-screen prompts to set up the device
- When the “Sign In with Apple ID” screen appears enter the original owners’ Apple ID and password
- When the correct details have been provided the setup process for the iPad will continue. If they are wrong you will not be allowed to proceed with the device setup.
- Assuming you have the correct details, follow the on-screen prompts to setup the device
- Once the device has been configured and you see the home screen you need to disable the previous owners Appple ID
- On iOS 10.2 and earlier, tap Settings > iCloud > Sign Out.
- On iOS 10.3 and later, tap Settings > [original owners name] > Sign Out.
- You will be asked for the Apple ID password again to sign out.
Once you have removed the lock it would be a good idea to reset the iPad and set it up again from scratch. You won’t be asked for the previous owners’ details again and you will be able to configure the device to your own preferences.
- If the seller can’t remember their Apple ID email, find it here
- If the seller can’t remember their Apple ID password, reset it here
- If the seller can’t remember the answers to their security questions to reset their Apple ID password, call 800-APL-CARE (800-275-2273) to discuss options to recover their account
How to disable Activation Lock on an iPad via iCloud
If the original owner is unwilling to give you his Apple ID password he can unlock the Activation Lock remotely using iCloud. The seller does not need physical access to the device to unlock it using this method, he simply needs to follow the steps below:
- Go to the following website: iCloud.com.
- Sign in with their Apple username and password.
- Click Find iPhone (even though it is an iPad you still click this option).
- Click All Devices to show all of their Apple devices.
- They should click the iPad they sold that needs to be unlocked.
- Click Erase iPad > Remove from Account.
How to get rid of Activation Lock on iPad with the help of Apple
Again, you need the help of the original owner to get Apple to remove the Activation Lock from your iPad. You need a copy of the original purchase receipt showing the purchaser’s name, date of purchase, and the iPad serial number. You also need proof that ownership has been transferred to you – such as details of the transaction or an email from the seller stating that you bought the device but forgot to unlock it.
You need to go to your nearest Apple Store with the iPad and all the proof and ask politely to have the Activation Lock removed.
Even armed with this evidence it is up to the discretion of the staff in the Store whether they help you or not – so it pays to be nice to them. Store managers only get to unlock a small number of devices per week so they need to be totally convinced you are a real buyer rather than a thief trying it on.
If you manage to convince them of your honesty and can provide all of the documentation needed they will unlock the device for you.
How to unlock the Activation Lock from an iPad using third-party unlocking services
If you do a web search you will find a vast list of websites that claim to be able to hack, bypass, remove, or unlock the iCloud Lock from your iPad.
You need to be very careful as I have found that almost all of the services provided by these companies are scams. They range from free services that install malicious software to paid tools that don’t actually work leaving you out-of-pocket.
Luckily, I have done a thorough evaluation of these companies (spending a fortune in the process) using readers locked iPad’s. I wanted to know if any of them actually did what they promised.
The table below shows the companies that managed to remove the Activation Lock together with links to a full review showing pricing, success rate, and my experience using them.
|Supplier||Success Rate||My Rating||Industry Rating|
|IMEIdoctor||100%||9 / 10|
|iBypasser||100%||9 / 10|
- Type: Service
- Price: From $40 USD | £35.99 GBP
- Speed: 5-7 days (Or 24 hours with additional FastTrack fee)
- Result: 100% success rate on a variety of iPad models
I simply provided IMEIdoctor with the IMEI or the serial number of the iPad and they remotely unlocked it. No need to send my devices away or download software. I found it really easy with the hardest part trying to read the serial number from the back of my device as it is written in such a tiny font.
The usual turnaround is 5-7 days but with a $10 USD (£10 GBP) FastTrack fee, you can get your device unlocked in 24 hours. I found this useful for one device I wanted to be unlocked fast.
This service works for WiFi and WiFi and cellular iPads.
- Firstly, identify the model of iPad you want to unlock. You can get help identifying the exact model by looking at the Apple website.
- Next, you need to know your IMEI (or serial number for WiFi-only products). These are found on the back of your device near the bottom.
- Go to IMEIdoctor and choose your model and provide the IMEI or serial number (see image below)
- Click the blue ‘Remove Activation Lock’ button at the bottom.
- The order confirmation page will appear where you tick the box to agree to the terms and conditions. You can also request the 24-hour FastTrack service for an additional fee. Click the blue ‘Credit /Debit Payment’ button.
- You will be sent to the secure checkout where you can pay with a card.
- Your iPad should be unlocked within 5 working days.
- Type: Software
- Price: $39.99 USD | £30 GBP
- Speed: Instant
- Result: 100% success rate
I downloaded and installed the iBypasser software on my Mac computer, but it was very straightforward to do. Once installed I connected my iPad and went through the guided unlock process. The trial version didn’t allow me to finalize the unlock but after satisfying myself that it looked like it would work I bought a license. Once licensed the process completed and the iPad was unlocked.
I was comfortable buying a license as iBypasser offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you have a computer and are comfortable using Apps then this is a good method to use. It is a little cheaper than a service because you have to do it for yourself but I found it easy to follow.
The software ‘bypasses’ the lock by jailbreaking the device which will invalidate the Apple warranty. If you are trying to unlock an old or used device then this is not an issue as it is likely to be out of warranty anyway – but it is still worth mentioning.
- Go to the iBypasser download page
- Tap Free Download to get an evaluation copy of the software
- Install the software on your computer
- Connect your iPad to your computer and run the software
- Follow the onscreen prompts
- If you are comfortable, and the software appears to be working properly buy a license by clicking See Pricing from the iBypasser download page. Select the plan that suits you:
- 1-month on 1 device for $39.99
- 1-year on 1 device for $49.99
- lifetime on 5 devices for $69.99
- Use code iByLK20 for 20% discount
- Once licensed you will be able to finalize the unlock of your iPad
How to remove the iCloud Activation Lock on iPad
Another way of fixing an Activation Locked iPad is to get around the lock using an “iCloud DNS bypass”.
This method is a last resort because it doesn’t give you full functionality but it does allow you to use some features such as:
- Watching video
- Browsing websites
- Playing games
- Listening to music or radio
- Chatting with friends
On the plus side, it is completely free. If the alternative is a locked iPad that you can’t use at all then this is a better option. However, it is not as good a choice as third-party companies because it only provides a partial solution. Personally, I’d prefer to pay for a permanent unlock.
- Reboot your iPad ready to set it up as a new device.
- Start the setup process and select your country and language
- On the “Choose a Wi-Fi Network” screen press the “i” next to the Wi-Fi symbol for the Wi-Fi network you want to connect to.
- Scroll down to where it says ‘DNS’ and type in one of the following
- USA: 184.108.40.206
- Europe: 220.127.116.11
- Asia: 18.104.22.168
- 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 iPad 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 bypass!
Removal of the iCloud activation lock
Remember, if your iPhone has been activation locked then you can’t use it unless you remove the lock. You can read my in-depth information on removing a device from a previous owner’s account to find out how to get rid of it in this article.
The best solution is to work through the four steps above to recover your Apple ID and get around the Activation Lock legitimately.
However, if the seller is unco-operative the third-party companies offer a solution that allows you to use your iPad.
To read more about Activation Lock, check out the Apple website.
People also ask
Is there an iCloud activation status tool?
The iCloud activation status tool was discontinued by Apple in 2017. You can check the status of the activation lock by doing the following instead:
- Go to Apple’s Support website.
- Select the device you want to check from the list
- From the categories select ‘Repairs & Physical Damage’
- Pick ‘Send in for repair’
- Provide the device’s Serial number or IMEI number
- If the device has the iCloud activation lock enabled you will see “Sorry but we can’t create a repair while Find my iPhone is active”. This means the device is unusable. Do not buy a locked device.
Can iPad iCloud be unlocked?
Yes, you can oust the Activation Lock on iPad using the techniques described in this article. This is despite Apple releasing iPadOS in 2019.
iPadOS is a variant of iOS with a different set of features. It replaced iOS on tablets but it still shares the same security system. This means the same unlocking methods work on both iOS and iPadOS operating systems.
Which iPad models are suitable for unlocking?
You can unlock any locked Apple device except the 1st generation, 3 and 3GS iPhones, early iPad models, older iPod Touch models, and the original iPad’s. This is because these early models do not have the capability of being Activation Locked and therefore don’t need to be unlocked.
Specifically, you can unlock the following iPad’s:
- 12.9 inch iPad Pro (2017), 12.9 inch iPad Pro (2018), 11 inch iPad Pro (2018), 10.5 inch iPad Pro (2017), 9.7 inch iPad Pro (2018), 9.7 inch iPad Pro (1st generation), 9.7 inch iPad, The iPad,iPad Air 2 (6th generation), iPad Air (5th generation), iPad (4th generation), iPad (3rd generation)
- iPad mini 2019, 4, 3, 2 and the original iPad Mini
When was the iCloud lock introduced?
The iCloud activation lock was introduced in 2013 with iOS 7.
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Some of the 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 have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them 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.