Since the iCloud lock was introduced in 2013 I have guided hundreds of clients who wanted to know how to remove Activation Lock without previous owner helping them.
Most clients had no idea that the used iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch they bought was Activation Locked until they tried to set it up and they saw the Activation Lock screen.
In this article, I define the problem and provide 5 different solutions I have used to eradicate the Find My iPhone Activation Lock on Apple devices. You will learn:
- What the Activation Lock is
- The fast removal methods
- Free Activation Lock removal techniques
- How to remove it with the previous owners help
These solutions will enable you to get past the Activation Lock screen on any iPhone, iPad, or Apple watch requesting the previous owner’s Apple ID and password.
For more general information on removing the iCloud lock, see How to get rid of the Activation Lock without the password.
How to remove “Find My iPhone” Activation Lock without previous owner
Option 1: Use an unlocking service
The best way to remove the iCloud Activation Lock without the previous owner, password, or Apple ID is by using an unlocking service. There are many services that claim to be able to remove the lock but many are scams.
In a recent review, I tested a range of tools to find the best iCloud bypass service that can remove the Activation Lock. I concluded the best service was provided by IMEInow. To find out more, see Best Service to remove Activation Lock.
They successfully unlocked any Apple device I gave them including iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac Computer, or Apple Watch devices.
To unlock your device using this service:
- Go to IMEInow.
- Type in the device serial number.
- Select the device model from the drop-down list
- Click Unlock iCloud!
- Check the details are correct and tick the box if you want the fast track 24-hour service
- Agree to the terms of service and pay
- Wait for an email confirming the unlock has been completed
Option 2: Use a software tool
There are also many software tools that claim to remove the Activation Lock. They vary in quality from excellent to dangerous. If you pick the wrong one you can break your device and infect your computer with viruses or trojan horses, and open yourself up to fraud.
After an extensive set of recent tests, I found the best Activation Lock removal software tool was iBypasser.
To find out more, see Best tool to remove Activation Lock.
iBypasser can remove the lock on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch by connecting it to your computer and running the unlocking process. Unfortunately, it isn’t suitable for unlocking Mac computers or Apple Watch.
Some of the things that made iBypasser the best software tool included:
- Free trial
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Beautiful design
- Easy to install and use
- Excellent support
- Wide compatibility
- Regularly updated
- Good industry reviews
- Many positive customer testimonials
To remove the Activation Lock your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch using iBypasser:
- Go to the iBypasser website.
- Click ‘Free Download’ and download the software to your computer. There is a PC and Mac version.
- Once downloaded install the software.
- Connect your iPadOS or iOS device to the computer using a USB cable.
- Open the software tool and choose the option to remove the Activation Lock
- Follow the on-screen instructions. If your devices can be unlocked the Apple ID password will be removed (but only on the paid version).
- Disconnect your device and set it up as normal. You will no longer see the Activation Lock screen.
Option 3: Get help from Apple Support
Apple support can remove the previous owners’ iCloud lock from your device but only if you can prove you are the legitimate owner. They will ask for the original sales receipt before they will consider helping you.
After accepting the receipt Apple support will check if the device has been reported stolen. If they find it has they will not help you. Apple needs to be 100% sure you are the rightful owner and if they have the slightest doubt they are not allowed to unlock your device.
Apple support will take around a week to remove the Activation Lock. If you request an unlock in an Apple Store then it can be done while you wait.
How to contact Apple
If you need help with removing Activation Lock and have proof of purchase documentation, you can start an Activation Lock support request.
Option 4: Bypass iCloud Activation Lock
The best way way to get past the Apple iCloud Activation Lock using DNS is by doing the following:
- Turn on your locked iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
- Select your language and country from the menu.
- Tap proceed. You will see the WiFi settings screen.
- Tap the ‘i’ to the right of your WiFi network name.
- Tap “Configure DNS”.
- Tap “Manual”.
- Tap “+Add Server” and enter the DNS address to bypass the lock:
- USA: 126.96.36.199
- South America: 188.8.131.52
- Europe: 184.108.40.206
- Asia: 220.127.116.11
- Australia and Oceania: 18.104.22.168
- Other continents: 22.214.171.124
- Tap ‘< Back’ at the top left of the screen.
- Select your WiFi network from the list and enter the password when prompted.
- The phone will try to activate by going to a new screen. Don’t let it, hit the ‘< Back’ button at the top left to return to the WiFi page where you will be logged in.
- All done – you have bypassed the iCloud lock.
Option 5: Remove ‘Find My’ Activation Lock with the previous owner’s help
To remove the Activation Lock with the help of the previous owner you need to ask them to do the following:
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.
This process works perfectly if you can track down the previous owner. But what if you don’t know how to get in touch with them?
How to Get in Contact with the Previous Owner
There are 3 ways you can try to find out who the previous owner of your device is, and get in touch with them.
1. Find the phone number, then find the owner
I think the iPhone is locked but not the SIM card. If this is the case, pop the SIM card out. Put it in another phone. Find the number. Now, use the web to do a reverse lookup, find them, find their email or alternate phone, and call them.
2. Find the IMEI and contact carrier
Find the device’s IMEI or serial number. These are normally found on the rear of the product, or in the SIM tray. Pop out the SIM card and look for the name of the carrier and call support. Explain the situation and provide them with the serial number or IMEI of the device and they should be able to help track down the original owner.
3. Check for an on-screen message from the owner
A message can be sent by the original owner via the Find My app that will appear on the screen of the device. This message may provide the contact details of the original owner and allow you to get in touch with them.
Why is ‘Find My iPhone’ Activation Lock enabled?
The Activation Lock is normally enabled by owners when they first setup their new Apple device. Once done, owners forget this feature even exists. This means they are unaware, or they forget they should wipe and sign out of their iCloud account on their iPhone before selling it. This results in an Activation Locked device.
A stolen device can also have the Activation Lock enabled – although muggers have been known to ask their victims to unlock their iPhone and sign out of iCloud before stealing their device.
The best idea to avoid this issue is to check if the device is Activation Locked before you buy it. There are a few ways to do this, for details see How to check Activation Lock status for free.
I advise my clients you can remove the Activation Lock from a locked phone, or tablet using one of these 5 solutions:
- Use an unlocking service
- Use an unlocking software tool
- Get help from Apple Support
- Try a DNS iCloud bypass
- Ask the original owner
Definition: iPhone Activation lock
The Activation Lock is a security feature found in Apple devices that is designed to prevent anyone else from using your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, iPod touch, or some Mac computers if it’s ever lost or stolen. A message appears on-screen requesting the Apple ID, and password of the owner before the device can be reset and used by someone else. Activation Lock helps you keep your device secure, even if it’s in the wrong hands, and can improve your chances of recovering it.
Definition: Find My iPhone
Find My iPhone is a tool found on Apple devices that allows an owner to track their lost iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch. It also allows owners to remotely wipe and secure their device, Find My iPhone includes the Activation Lock which prevents the unlocking of a stolen device without entering the owners’ Apple ID password. Find My iPhone discourages theft and keeps the device secure.
Can you remove 'Find My' iPad Activation Lock without previous owner?
Yes, you can remove the Activation Lock on an iPad without the involvement of the previous owner:
- Use an unlocking service
- Use an unlocking software tool
- Get help from Apple Support
- Try a DNS iCloud bypass
How do I remove the previous owner's Apple ID from an iPad?
Ask the previous owner to remove their Apple ID by switching off ‘Find My’. This can be done on the iPad, or remotely via the Apple iCloud website.
How do you remove the iCloud lock?
Getting rid of iCloud Activation Lock is possible with the help of the original owner, by using an unlocking tool or service, or by getting help from Apple support.
For further information, see Can iCloud Activation Lock be removed?.
How do you remove the 'Find my iPhone' Activation Lock without Apple ID?
If you’ve forgotten your Apple ID, the best way to remove it is to firstly find out what it is:
- Go to your Apple ID account page and click Forgotten Apple ID or password.
- When asked to enter your Apple ID, click “Look it up”.
- Enter your first name, surname, and email address. If you enter the wrong email address, you can try again with a different one.
How do you turn off the Activation Lock?
You actually need to turn off ‘Find My iPhone’ to disable the Activation Lock. On your device:
- Open Settings.
- Tap [your name] > Find My.
- Tap Find My iPhone, then tap to turn it off.
- Enter your Apple ID password.
- Tap Turn Off.
Does Turning Off 'Find My iPhone' Disable Activation Lock?
Turning off Find my iPhone from your iCloud settings on your device will switch off the Activation Lock.
How do you remove the Activation Lock without previous owner for free?
There are 2 ways to Unlock an iCloud locked device for free on any Apple product including iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPod Touch:
- Get Apple Support, or the Apple Store to remove the lock after showing the original purchase receipt
- Use a DNS iCloud bypass to get around the lock and use the device
If you have an iPhone or other Apple device, that has the Find My iPhone Activation Lock enabled then you can remove it.
Obviously, you can go to the original owner and ask them to switch it off but you can also deactivate it using a service or software tools as shown above.
Another method that does not work is jailbreaking. To find out more, see Can you jailbreak iCloud locked iPhone?.
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