If you buy a used Apple product and it asks for the previous owner’s iCloud account details when you try to use it, your device is activation locked.
You need to bypass Activation Lock on the device before you can use it.
The obvious solution is to ask the previous owner to supply their Apple account details so you can get rid of the Activation Lock.
But how are you meant to unlock your device if you can’t get hold of the previous owner? Or if the previous owner refuses to help? Or if they won’t give you the Apple ID and password to bypass Activation Lock?
Luckily, there are a few options that may allow you to remove the iCloud Activation Lock prompt from an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac Computer, or Apple Watch – even without the help of the previous owner. These include fixes, techniques, services, and tools advertised online.
Read on to find out all the methods that can help bypass iCloud Activation Lock on your device (including the ones Apple doesn’t want you to know about).
Quick tips to unlock iCloud
You can bypass iCloud Activation Lock instantly if you know the previous owners’ Apple ID, or by using a software tool. Or within 1-hour by using a service.
Here is a quick summary if you’d like to know how to switch it off – if you need a bit more help, you can read our full guide below:
- Using an iCloud Activation Lock removal service is the easiest. You don’t need any technical skills or a computer. You provide some basic information, pay the fee, and have your device unlocked in as little as 1 hour. We found DirectUnlocks is the best service.
- Using a software tool to bypass Activation Lock is a good option for computer experts. If you are computer-savy and are happy to download, install, and use DIY unlocking software then iBypasser is a decent option. This won’t allow you to bypass Activation Lock on a Mac tho.
- It is cheapest to bypass iCloud Activation Lock using DNS. However, this method of getting around iCloud is fiddly, and only allows some basic functionality on your device. For more information see how to bypass iCloud using DNS.
- Removing iCloud Activation Lock is simple IF you know the Apple ID and password used to set up your device. Just follow the on-screen instructions when prompted. You can reset your Apple ID if you forget your details. If you don’t have these details you need to use the tools or services discussed above.
- NEVER use a free service to unlock iCloud activation lock. None of the free tools work and they can permanently damage your hardware.
Be aware that if you erase the iPadOS or iOS device it will not remove Activation Lock. It will remain activated until it is turned off properly.
The iCloud Activation Lock has been added to the latest Mac computers making this issue even more widespread.
What causes this problem?
The iCloud Activation Lock screen is a security feature that prevents anyone but the owner from accessing, using, erasing, or resetting an Apple device.
If someone tries to wipe and reset a device they found or stole, the gadget will request the Apple ID password of the owner. Without the owners’ iCloud account password, the device will not be activated and will be unusable.
Unfortunately, some owners forget to disable the iCloud Activation Lock before selling their used device preventing the new owner from being able to configure them. This is still the case with iOS 14 and 15.
Remove Activation Lock without the previous owner
To bypass iCloud Activation Lock, follow these steps:
- If you have an iPhone, cellular iPad, or cellular Apple Watch find out the IMEI. You need it later. The IMEI is a unique id for your iOS device and you need to provide it so the right handset gets unlocked.
On these models, you’ll find the IMEI on the SIM tray:
- iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13, and iPhone 13 Pro.
- iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12.
- iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
- iPhone XR.
- iPhone Xs, and iPhone Xs Max.
- iPhone X.
- iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.
- iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus.
- iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus.
- iPhone 3G.
- iPhone 3GS.
- iPhone 4 (GSM model).
- iPhone 4s.
On these models, you’ll find the IMEI on the back:
- iPad Pro (Wi-Fi + Cellular models)
- iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular models)
- iPod Touch (all models)
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone 5c
- iPhone 5
- For a WiFi-only iPad, iPod Touch, or Apple Watch, find out the serial number. You need it later. For help finding the serial number, see find the serial number on your iPhone or iPad
- You need to find out the exact model of iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Apple Watch you want to be unlocked. For more information, find out how to identify your iPhone model by its model number and other details.
- Pick a trustworthy supplier. We found DirectUnlocks the fastest, easiest, and most reliable company.
- Request an unlock for your device. To ensure the correct device is unlocked, you will be asked to supply the IMEI or serial number, and the model.
- The iCloud Activation Lock will be removed from your iOS device in 1-5 days. You will be able to set it up without being asked for the previous owners’ Apple ID.
- Optional: If you prefer to attempt the unlock yourself using a software app, use a trustworthy unlocking tool. You can perform the unlock procedure straight away using your own computer, as long as you are computer literate.
Services & tools that remove Activation Lock
After researching over 30 top-rated iCloud unlockers online and negating the poorly rated ones (the ones that have a 1 star or less rating on review sites), we purchased the top 10 services and tools and tried them out for ourselves.
We then spent over 30 hours testing each service, or tool even going as far as to employ the help of members of the iChimp community to get opinions directly from the target market. During the tests, we measured customer service, speed, reliability, cost, and the ability of each unlocker to actually get rid of the iCloud Activation Lock. To find out more, see Top tools to bypass iCloud.
Option 1: Use a service
DirectUnlocks is a perfect service if you want to bypass Activation Lock easily on your iOS device. During our tests, it worked for every Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple Watch we sent them.
Based on price, support, and reliability, they are the best service we tested that can remove Activation Lock.
Summary box: DirectUnlocks
DirectUnlocks is an unlocking service that can get any iCloud locked device working without previous owner involvement.
- Our Price: £19.99 GBP ($26 USD) – Standard Price: £29.99 GBP ($36 USD)
- Speed: 24-84 hours
- Customer Services: Quick and helpful
- Rating: 9 / 10
- Hassle-free iCloud bypass service
- Responsive and helpful customer support
- From 24 – 48 hour turnaround
- Good selection of payment methods
- Money-back guarantee
- High success rate
- Exclusive $12 USD (£10 GBP) discount
- Odd payment structure – deposit followed by finalization fee
- New supplier – so no long-term track record
Who it’s best for: A service is best for people who want to bypass iCloud Activation Lock from iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch without any involvement beyond asking for it to be done.
In common with every service we tried, the payment is broken down into 2 parts. You are asked to pay a deposit, followed by a finalization fee. This is the worst aspect of the service as it can give the impression that the service is cheaper than it really is. Some buyers reported feeling blackmailed as they didn’t realize there would be a second payment. This is why I specifically mention the odd payment structure.
Get a 33% discount today: We have negotiated an exclusive $12 USD ( £10 GBP) discount for readers of this website. This is a short-term deal, so if you are considering an iCloud removal service jump in and get this offer now before it expires.
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Customer video reviews
Get rid of the lock using DirectUnlocks
To bypass Activation Lock using DirectUnlocks, use the following unlock process:
- If you have an iPhone or cellular iPad, find out the IMEI code. You need it later. For help finding the IMEI, see find the IMEI on your device.
- For a WiFi-only iPad, iPod Touch, or Apple Watch, find out the serial number. You need it later. For help finding the serial number, see the preceding link.
- To request the unlock, go to DirectUnlocks.
- If you have an iPhone or cellular iPad, enter the IMEI in the box. For a Mac, WiFi-only iPad, iPod Touch, or Apple Watch, enter the serial number in the box.
- In the device model dropdown, select your product. Or begin typing in the product name to filter the list to make it easier to locate your specific product.
- To continue, press the Unlock iCloud! button. The order details and price will be shown on the order summary page that opens.
- Where it says I agree to the terms and conditions, tick the box.
- Choose the payment method you prefer to use and pay securely. DirectUnlocks get your contact details from the payment screen.
- In your email, you will receive a confirmation of your order.
Option 2: Use an iCloud bypass tool
Who it’s best for: A software tool is suited to competent computer users that don’t mind trying to bypass iCloud activation themselves. If you are not tech-savvy avoid this option and use a service instead.
Summary box: iBypasser
iBypasser is a software tool that can remove iCloud Activation Lock without previous owner helping.
- Price: Between $40 – $70 USD, depending on the license selected
- Speed: Immediate, after download and installation of the tool
- Customer Services: Fast
- Rating: 9 / 10
- Free download
- Responsive support
- Can be done immediately
- Works on Mac and Windows
- Good selection of payment methods
- Money-back guarantee
- Well designed and frequently updated
- Some features still won’t work after unlocking
- Requires a computer
- Complex process
- Jailbreaks your device which invalidates the warranty
- Software license automatically renews so be careful of additional payments
The verdict: iBypasser is a perfect software tool for computer enthusiasts that are happy to bypass Activation Lock themselves. You can start removing the iCloud account as soon as you download the software. A free trial makes it a good way to try before you buy.
Get rid of the Activation Lock using iBypasser
To bypass iCloud Activation Lock using iBypasser, use the following unlock process:
- Download iBypasser app, and install and launch it.
- Click Bypass iCloud Activation Lock Screen.
- On the Bypass iCloud Activation Lock Screen, click Start.
- Connect your locked iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Apple Watch device to the computer using a Lightning to USB Cable. For more information, see connect iPhone and your computer with a cable.
- To jailbreak your device ready for unlocking, follow the on-screen prompts.
- To jailbreak a Mac computer:
- iBypasser will automatically download the Mac compatible jailbreak package for your iOS device. You don’t need to install an Apple driver.
- To begin the process, click Start Jailbreak.
- Follow the on-screen instructions, and click Next.
- The tool will jailbreak your device.
- To jailbreak a Windows computer:
- There is no automatic method to jailbreak iOS devices on Windows computers. Instead, follow this tutorial.
- Once completed, click Finished Jailbreak.
- To jailbreak a Mac computer:
- The iOS devices details appear on the computer. Confirm they are correct, then click Start Bypass.
- The iBypasser bypass tool will remove the current iCloud account and activation screen. It only takes take a few seconds to bypass Activation Lock.
- Once you have removed iCloud Activation Lock, you can use a new Apple ID account, iCloud password, erase iPhone, do a factory reset, or set up any iPhone feature you want.
If all else fails try a DNS bypass
If you would like to know how to bypass Activation Lock using DNS, there is a very clever hack that allows you to do so.
It gets around the security on your iOS device when it is locked to someone else’s Apple ID password. It works by setting up your device to use a DNS server that doesn’t use the inbuilt iOS security system.
You don’t need a SIM card inserted to get the iCloud Activation Lock bypass to work as it uses Wi-Fi settings to connect. It is a little fiddly but this hack isn’t that difficult to do. It does have its limitations tho. For example, you can’t make conventional phone calls.
On the plus side, it is a free solution.
Video instructions for bypassing
DNS method: step-by-step instructions
- Reboot your Apple product ready to set it up as a new iOS device.
- Start the setup process and select your country and language.
- On the Choose Wi-Fi Network screen press the i next to the Wi-Fi symbol for the WiFi network you want to connect to.
- Next, configure DNS. Scroll down to where it says DNS and type in the server address:
- USA: 184.108.40.206
- Europe: 220.127.116.11
- Asia: 18.104.22.168
- Tap Back > at the top left of the iPhone screen.
- Choose your WiFi network.
- Type in the WiFi 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 and gain access to the online server.
- Once logged in you will see a screen that will say iCloudDNSBypass.net at the top.
How to get rid of Activation Lock without an Apple ID
If you don’t know the Apple ID or password of the account that has iCloud locked your iOS device, you can’t enter it when prompted. This means you can’t switch off Find My and disable the Activation Lock easily.
There are a few things you can try to bypass iCloud Activation Lock if you don’t know the Apple ID, such as:
- Ask the previous owner to turn off Find My iPhone remotely.
- Ask Apple’s Support to help. Be prepared to prove your ownership with a reciept.
- Using the iForgot website to unlock or find out the Apple ID or reset the account password.
- If you are not a computer expert, try a recommended unlocking service.
- If you are computer savy, try a recommended tool.
To find out more, see how to bypass Activation Lock without the Apple ID.
Remove Activation Lock without the previous owner
If the previous owner of your Apple device can’t, or won’t, help then turning off Find My so you can get rid of the iCloud Activation Lock is difficult. It is unlikely you’ll be able to find out Apple ID without the last owner telling you.
Even so, there are still a couple of things you can try:
- Use a paid service to switch off Find My and remove the lock.
- Use a paid tool to hack the Activation Lock.
For more on these and some other ideas, see how to remove ‘Find My’ Activation Lock without the previous owner.
How to unlock iCloud for free
Disabling the iCloud Activation Lock for free is possible by entering the Apple ID and password on the iOS device when prompted.
For example, to turn off iPhone iCloud Activation Lock for free, use the following unlock process:
- Select Settings.
- Then, tap [your name].
- Next, tap Find My.
- Then, tap Find My iPhone.
- Tap the toggle to turn off Find My iPhone.
- When prompted, enter your Apple ID password.
- Next, tap Turn Off.
If you don’t know the Apple account details, you can Reset your Apple ID.
For more free methods to get rid of the iCloud Activation Lock, see how to unlock iCloud for free.
iPhone Activation Lock bypass for every iPhone model
To unlock iPhone Activation Lock you need to do slightly different things than on other Apple devices. In short, a different technique is needed to Remove the iCloud Lock on an iPhone. In fact, to bypass Activation Lock you need specific instructions for each model of iPhone. For this reason, we have produced specific iCloud bypass instructions for each model.
The Apple Activation Lock on iPhone 13 models is handled via Find My. With a smaller notch, improved battery life, an upgraded A15 Bionic chip, better photo handling, and larger camera arrays the iPhone 13 series is different from its predecessor. This is why we created a guide to show you how to bypass Activation Lock on iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max models.
With 5G support, an upgraded A14 Bionic chip, better photo handling, and increased storage capacity the iPhone 12 range are unique. So we created an article to explain how to bypass Activation Lock on iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max models.
Substantial design changes within the phone, including the addition of the more powerful Apple A13 Bionic chip as well as an ultra-wide dual-camera system, make the iPhone 11 different from other series. This is why we built a guide on how to bypass Activation Lock on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max iOS device models reliably.
The Activation Lock on iPhone XS came with a 30% improvement in Face ID speed, and an all-new A12 Bionic chip the XS series is different from the model it replaced. This means we created a guide explaining how to bypass Activation Lock on iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max models.
The iPhone XR features the same processor as the XS and XS Max, the Apple A12 Bionic chip but instead of the OLED screen on the XS, the XR has a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LED-backlit LCD IPS panel which makes it unique. This is why we wrote a specific guide to bypass iCloud on iPhone XR phones.
On iPhone X, the home button’s fingerprint sensor was replaced with Face ID, which used sensors to scan the user’s face to unlock the iOS device. With a bezel-less design, iPhone user interaction changed significantly, using gestures to navigate the operating system rather than the home button used in all previous iPhones. This is why a guide explaining iPhone X iCloud Activation Lock removal was created.
The Apple Activation Lock on iPhone SE came with the A15 Bionic chip. But the Apple device has a lower-quality LCD retina display. Security is handled slightly differently as there is no Face ID and it has a physical home button. This is why we created a guide to show your how to bypass the iPhone SE Activation Lock on this iOS device.
With the addition of inductive charging, a faster processor, and improved cameras and displays the iPhone 13 series is different from its predecessor. This is why we created a guide for iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus iCloud Activation Lock removal.
The iPhone 7 had improved water and dust resistance, a new capacitive, static home button, revised antenna bands, and the controversial removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack. This is why we created a guide on how to bypass Activation Lock On iPhone 7.
With updated hardware, including a strengthened 7000 series aluminium alloy chassis and upgraded Apple A9 system-on-chip, a new 12-megapixel rear camera that can record up to 4K video at 30fps the iPhone 6 was unique in the iOS device range. So we wrote a guide specifically explaining how to bypass Activation Lock on the iPhone 6.
The iPhone 5 was upgraded with a taller screen, the Apple A6 system-on-chip, LTE support, and the lightning connector that replaced the 30-pin design making it different from all other models. As a result, we created a unique guide explaining how to bypass iCloud Activation Lock on the iPhone 5 range of smartphones.
The iPhone 4 introduced Apple’s new high-resolution Retina Display, while maintaining the same physical size and aspect ratio as its precursors, Apple’s A4 system-on-chip, along with Apple’s new FaceTime video chat service. It was the first iPhone to include a front-facing camera. These unique features are why we created a guide explaining iPhone 4 iCloud Activation Lock Bypass techniques for this iOS device.
iPad Activation Lock removal
Although the iPad uses a different operating system, iPadOS, it can be iCloud locked using Find My in the same way as an iPhone.
Each iPad range is unique, with the Pro series offering laptop-like functionality and the mini being like an oversized phone. This means that specific instructions are required to bypass iCloud Activation lock on each unique tablet.
The ninth generation of iPad uses an Apple A13 Bionic chip, which has a 20% faster CPU and GPU and an embedded, artificial intelligence–immersed Neural Engine. Its Retina Display features True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the iPhone screen color temperature according to the ambient lighting. This is why we created an iPad Activation Lock removal guide.
The iPad mini is a subset of the iPad range with screen sizes of 7.9 or 8.3 inches. The iPad Mini 6 includes USB-C, and support for the second-generation Apple Pencil. Due to these unique features, we wrote a guide that explains how to bypass Activation Lock on the iPad mini.
The iPad Air is a lighter and thinner device originally created as a replacement for the iPad 4. It has now become a subset of the iPad lineup in its own right with the latest versions boasting the M1 SoC chip used in the iPad Pro (5th generation). As a result, we created a unique guide explaining how to bypass iCloud Activation Lock on the iPad Air range of devices.
The iPad Pro was marketed as a PC replacement boasting a desktop-class SoC Apple silicon M1 chip, USB compatibility, and a Liquid Retina display. It is a uniquely powerful device with very specific features so we created a guide showing how to bypass the iPad Pro Activation Lock.
Removing iCloud Activation Lock from Apple Watch
Apple Watch is a line of smartwatches that incorporates fitness tracking, health-oriented capabilities, and wireless telecommunication, and integrates with iPhone and other Apple products and services.
Apple Watch, like other Apple devices, can use Find My, and the Activation Lock. But due to the unique nature of the iWatch the technique to bypass iCloud Activation Lock is slightly different. Due to this we produced a unique guide explaining how to remove the Activation Lock from Apple Watch.
Mac Activation Lock bypass
With the advent of the T2 security chip and Apple Silicon, the iCloud Activation Lock was introduced to Mac computers.
Older Macs that were designed around Intel chips can be located using Find My Mac, but can’t be iCloud locked. These differences mean that specific instructions for dealing with the iCloud Activation Lock are required for each model of Mac.
The 4th generation of Mac mini released in 2018 and the 5th generation released in 2020 can both be iCloud Locked. To find out how to get rid of the lock, see bypass Activation Lock on Mac Mini.
The 2021 iMac, the 5K iMac, and the short-lived iMac Pro can all be Activation Locked. To find out how to get around the iCloud lock, see how to bypass iMac Activation Lock.
The 3rd generation MacBook Air computers with the Apple T2 Security Chip and Apple silicon MacBook Air laptops can be iCloud locked with Find My Mac. For more information on removing the Activation Lock, see the MacBook Air Activation Lock bypass guide.
The 4th generation of MacBook Pro released in late 2018 and the 5th generation released in 2020 can be Activation locked via Find My Mac. For more information on getting rid of the iCloud lock, see MacBook Pro Activation Lock bypass.
The Mac Studio computers released in 2022 all run on Apple silicon, using either the M1 Max or M1 Ultra processors. This means all Mac Studio computers can be Activation locked via Find My Mac. To find out how to unlock iCloud on the Mac Studio, see the Mac Studio Activation Lock bypass guide.
Is there a tool that tells you if a device is locked before you buy it?
A tool that tells you if the Activation Lock on iPhone, iPad, or any other device is turned on before you buy it would be great. However, the Activation Lock status tool was discontinued by Apple in 2017.
You can check the status of the Activation Lock by doing the following:
- 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
- Enter 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.
Is there a hack or hacking tool that can remove Activation Lock?
No, none of the tools available work successfully these days. It was claimed that in the iCloud celebrity hack cybercriminal used tools that include MagicApp, Applekit, and Find My iPhone (FMI.php) framework to automate unlocks but this was never proved. It is more likely a phishing scam was used to get the celebrities’ Apple IDs and passwords.
So if you want to bypass iCloud lock, a hack is not the answer.
Can I use iTunes to disable the iCloud Activation Lock screen?
No, you can’t bypass Activation Lock with iTunes and remove the iCloud Activation lock screen. You can unlock a disabled device using iTunes but the Activation Lock is not controlled with it. You need the Apple ID account credentials of the previous owner to remove it.
Is it possible to get rid of the Activation Lock screen using the IMEI?
Yes, you can bypass Activation Lock using your device’s IMEI as long as you use a trustworthy supplier such as DirectUnlocks.
Will removing the passcode clear the iPhone Activation Lock?
The passcode lock allows you to gain access to the smartphone but it won’t switch off the Find My iPhone Activation Lock. You need to unlock Apple ID and password info, so the iCloud account can be turned off.
If you want to know more about passcode removal, see How to unlock iPhone without the passcode.
If you don’t have the Apple ID password it makes it difficult to turn off Find My as these are required. If you have a used device you can ask the previous owner for help as they should know the credentials required.
As long as you use a recommended company you can bypass Activation Lock on your device permanently.
If this doesn’t work you can claim. a refund using the money-back guarantee and try an iCloud bypass to get around the Activation Lock instead. It may not be as good but it is still a decent workaround.
If you click a link to go through to a provider, we may get paid. This only happens if you buy a service. This is what funds us, and keeps us free to use. For a more detailed explanation see our affiliate disclosure.
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- Apple Inc. Request additional support for unlocking your device.
- Sampreshita Maheshwari, Sanjay Agal Pacific University India. iCloud and its security issues.
- Glenn Fleishman, Senior Contributor, MacWorld. Need to disable Activation Lock on an iPhone or iPad? Here are the 3 Apple-connected options to do so.
- Lex Friedman, Senior Contributor, MacWorld. Get to know Activation Lock.
- Dallas DeAtley, Apple Inc. Patent No. US 8,666,366 B2. Device activation and access.