- iCloud unlock any Apple device including iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch & Apple Watch.
- Remove the previous owners’ iCloud account.
- Permanently remove the iCloud activation lock from your Apple device allowing you to set up the device with your own iCloud account.
- 5-day delivery.
- Unlock your device by supplying the IMEI or serial number.
These are just some of the claims made by iCloud unlocking websites but should you trust them?
What is the Apple iCloud activation lock?
The Activation Lock is a security feature designed to stop anyone else from using your Apple device if it is lost or stolen.
The lock is automatically enabled when you switch on the Find My App or sign in to your iCloud account on your device.
The iCloud lock works on the following devices:
- iPod touch
- Apple Watch
- MacBook computers
There are a number of legitimate reasons you may fall foul of Find My:
- You have bought or been given an iCloud locked Apple device.
- Wiping your device before disabling ‘Find My’.
- Your Apple ID password has been disabled due to too many failed sign in attempts.
- Wiping your device before signing out of iCloud.
Is activation lock removal possible?
Yes, it is possible to unlock your iCloud activation lock…
…but be very careful who you use as most companies are scammers that will take your money and fail to provide the unlock.
I am ashamed to tell you that I spent a fortune with different suppliers trying to get the activation lock removed from my iPhone. I had almost given up hope. I believed my device would end up as an expensive paperweight or discarded in a drawer.
Eventually, after trying dozens of methods over a couple of months I found a couple of suppliers that actually worked.
How to remove the iCloud activation lock from your Apple product?
All of the websites I reviewed use the same information to identify and unlock your device – the IMEI or serial number, and model.
They also share a similar webpage design with large boxes where you select your device type and provide your IMEI or serial number. They then use this to identify and unlock your specific Apple product.
Step 1: Identify the device and model
You need to know the model of the iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch you have. This is particularly challenging on the iPad as they look very similar and the model names are confusing.
Step 2: Find the IMEI or serial number
The IMEI number is a unique 15-digit code that identifies your cellular device. For other types of devices, such as the WiFi-only iPad, you will use the serial number to identify it.
On these devices, you’ll find the IMEI on the SIM tray.
- iPhone 12 (all models)
- iPhone 11 (all models)
- iPhone XS (all models)
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8 (all models)
- iPhone 7 (all models)
- iPhone 6 & 6S
- iPhone 3G & 3GS
- iPhone 4 (GSM model)
- iPhone 4S
On these devices, you’ll find the IMEI on the back.
- iPad mini
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone 5c
- iPhone 5
If you want to use the serial number you will find it on the back of your device.
On newer Apple Watches you’ll find the serial number hidden behind the bracelet or strap. To see it remove the watch band and you’ll see it on the case.
Step 3: Provide your information and request the unlock
All of the suppliers I recommend have an easy-to-use website.
You simply fill in the onscreen form letting them know your IMEI or serial number and model, then pay for the service. You will get an order confirmation letting you know the order has been placed.
Step 5: iCloud activation is unlocked
Most companies take 5-7 days to unlock your device. Once completed they will be in touch to let you know the work is done.
Once completed you will be able to set up your device properly without being asked for the previous owners’ Apple ID password.
After an extensive search, I had a huge list of companies that claimed to offer activation unlocking services.
I went through them all one-by-one carefully examining their websites. Most looked impressive and made bold claims. Many had customer testimonials and some had very persuasive videos showing how their methods worked.
Suppliers claimed things such as:
This service can help you to unlock iCloud Activation lock from your iPhone. Our service works for all mobile devices of the Apple Company. Before starting the unlock process, you must make sure that your IMEI number is in the Apple database and it’s iCloud Locked. Our service works for ANY IMEI number, locked in the iCloud Activation Lock screen.
Our unlocking process is official. We offer Factory iCloud Removal Services that are permanent. You can use this service in the following case, if you forget your iCloud password, find a lost phone on the street, market, at school or work, or purchased from an online store like eBay or Amazon previously locked on the iCloud Activation Lock.
With this service, you will delete the old, existing iCloud address from your iPhone permanently. In this case, after that, you will be able to add your iCloud address and continue to use your iPhone normally as a new device.
I checked if they had contact details or an ‘about’ page that provided more details on who the owners were, and how to contact them. After all, if they did a good job they would provide this most basic of information.
Surprisingly, many didn’t supply this information which was a red flag so I decided not to trust them. After all, how was I meant to contact them if I had a sales question or an issue with their service?
For those companies that did have contact details, I wrote to them asking about their services. If I got no reply I removed them from my shortlist. If a company doesn’t respond to pre-sales questions how would they answer any post-sales ones after I had paid?
I then checked each of the remaining candidates in some of the online review sites such as TrustReview to evaluate real customer feedback rather than the ones on their sales pages.
If they were poorly regarded then they were removed from my list.
I then tried out the remaining suppliers myself to see if they were any good.
Best iCloud unlock provider: IMEIdoctor
- Price: From $40 USD | £35.99 GBP
- Speed: around 5 days (with the option of a 24-hour turnaround for an extra fee)
- Customer Services: Quick and helpful
IMEIdoctor has just started unlocking iCloud accounts and their enthusiasm really shows with the quality of their service and their high success rate.
They have a good helpdesk team that answered my questions in a friendly manner within an hour or two.
I tried unlocking a variety of iPhone models from an older iPhone 4 through to a newer iPhone X. All of them had the activation lock removed quickly without a hitch.
The only negative is their charging structure. It isn’t very clear on their website but the payment you make initially is simply a deposit for the service. The remainder of the fee is payable before the unlock is completed.
I found this a bit inconvenient as the website makes it look like the lower price is for the complete service. It isn’t.
Having said that, all the services I tried had the same charging structure so they were not doing something different. Personally, I’d prefer more upfront pricing.
Overall, I found that I actually ended up paying nearer $50 USD (£39.99 GBP) for the unlock. I believe this is still value for money considering the alternative is to buy a replacement device.
They accept a wide range of payment methods, including all the usual credit cards, giving lots of flexibility. Of course, their website is highly secure.
They also offer a 100% money-back guarantee if they can’t deliver the service – although I didn’t have to try this out as all my devices were unlocked.
Runner up iCloud unlock provider: AppleiPhoneUnlock.uk
- Price: deposit of $20 USD (£19 GBP)
- Speed: between 2 to 5 days
- Customer Services: 24 hour response time
AppleiPhoneUnlock started unlocking iCloud accounts in 2018 making them fairly new. Having said that they have rocketed up to 2nd place in my list because they proved a great service.
They respond quickly to queries and appear to offer a great service but they are ‘too new’ to be my top pick. They need a longer track record to gain my endorsement as the best.
They also failed to unlock an iPhone 5 when I was carrying out the testing. However, they refunded me in vouchers quickly and without a fuss.
Unlock speed was a little slower than my top pick but still a very acceptable 5 days to complete. I know speed may be important for some of you so this is another reason why it was the runner-up. They tell me this is something they are working hard to improve so I’ll keep an eye on this.
They use the same charging structure as IMEIdoctor meaning they ask for an initial deposit followed by a second payment to complete the unlock. They say this is because the final price depends on a number of factors such as the model, its location, and the age of your device. These other factors are taken into account once the unlock has been purchased to give a final fee.
They have the ability to unlock devices from anywhere in the world.
AppleiPhoneUnlock accepts a wide variety of payment methods including American Express.
Overall AppleiPhoneUnlock is a good supplier but not yet quite up to the standard of the best. They are gaining on top spot rapidly and IMEIdoctor needs to stay on their toes or they may well be replaced as the premier service.
Which iCloud unlockers should you avoid?
As I mentioned previously, there are many websites that offer this service and the following list is the services which I tried that simply didn’t work:
- i-Cloud unlock buddy
- Unlock instantly
- iPhone approved unlock
- iPhone unlock
- iRemove Tools
- i-Cloud remover
- Plus many more…
Use these companies at your own risk.
Is carrying out an iCloud Unlock procedure legal?
Unlocking your own device from iCloud is completely legal as long as you actually own it.
If a device is reported stolen and you find it and request an iCloud unlock then what you are doing is illegal because the device does not belong to you.
Also, if you purchase a used Apple device that the previous owner forgot to sign out of their iCloud account you are legally allowed to use an iCloud removal service. This is because you bought the item in good faith from the original owner. However, you do need to make some effort to find out if the item purchased is stolen goods. Most services do this type of check as part of the iCloud unlock process.
Similarly, you may have bought the device from an auction ran by carriers selling off upgraded inventory. Again, this is fine and indeed you can get used or refurbished iPhones from Apple themselves showing that reselling their devices is not illegal.
In addition, some owners simply forget their Apple ID password and permanently lock themselves out of their own device. So iCloud unlocking services can legally allow them to regain usage of their Apple device.
Resolving iPhone problems
This is one of many articles I have written on iPhone troubleshooting. With articles like these, you should be able to resolve most issues on your Apple 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.
The iCloud lock is designed to prevent someone from stealing your iPhone and selling it. It is a good idea as it reduces theft and protects your data. However, it can lead to innocent buyers purchasing locked phones through no fault of their own. The way Apple has implemented this security system means you are stuck at the lock screen and can’t enable your device which seems harsh.
The same Apple ID security system is in place with all iOS-based devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. I have further articles on iCloud lock removal if you would like to know more or try some other solutions.