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How to restore your device after removing Activation Lock

Imagine yourself standing at the precipice of a tech adventure, having successfully navigated the maze of the Activation Lock removal process.

The daunting barricade that once stood in your way is now a thing of the past. But, the journey is only half complete.

Now comes a critical task – restoring your device.

This process is more than just hitting a reset button. It’s about turning over a new leaf for your device, giving it a clean slate to operate at its best.

It’s a dance between removing outdated data and setting the stage for a smooth, efficient performance.

From preparing for restoration to troubleshooting common issues, each step brings you closer to that optimal device experience.

How to restore after unlocking


So, let’s delve deeper into this process.

It’s time to master the art of device restoration after Activation Lock removal, unlocking the true potential of your device.

Introduction to Device Restoration Post-Activation Lock Removal

Understanding Activation Lock Removal

Remove iCloud Activation Lock

At the heart of this guide is a key process – Activation Lock removal. This is a critical step for any user who has found themselves unable to access their device.

But what exactly does this mean, and why is it so important?

Let’s take a moment to unravel this concept.


The Activation Lock is a feature designed to protect your device and the data it contains, especially in situations of loss or theft. Its primary role is to keep your device secure by linking it to your Apple ID and password.

This means if your device falls into the wrong hands, they won’t be able to wipe or reactivate it without these credentials.

But what happens when you are the one locked out of your device?

Maybe you’ve forgotten your Apple credentials, or perhaps you’ve purchased a second-hand device with the Activation Lock still in place.

In these scenarios, removing the Activation Lock becomes essential. This can involve contacting Apple Support, or in some cases, using a third-party tool.

To find out more, see Can iCloud Activation Lock be unlocked on a locked device?

Understanding Activation Lock removal provides a foundation for what follows – restoring your device.

It’s the first step in the journey to reclaim your device’s functionality and, by extension, your peace of mind.

Importance of Device Restoration

backup & restore your Apple product

Let’s talk about device restoration, a topic often met with curiosity and a bit of confusion.

While you might be tempted to bypass this process after removing the Activation Lock, it’s actually more significant than you might think.

Restoring your device essentially means bringing it back to its original factory settings. It’s an exercise in starting from scratch, creating a clean slate for your device’s software. It’s much like a reset button, allowing your device to function at its optimal capacity without the burden of unnecessary data and glitches.

What happens when your device is free from these hindrances?

You might notice a significant improvement in speed and performance. The processes that were once sluggish now run smoothly, giving you a more efficient and enjoyable user experience.

It’s quite transformative, the difference a restoration can make.

Beyond improved performance, device restoration is a significant step for data security.

Our devices hold a wealth of personal and private information. When you perform a restoration, you’re wiping this slate clean.

This is especially crucial if you plan to pass the device to someone else.

Device restoration may seem like a daunting task, but it’s importance can’t be overstated. Not only does it breathe new life into your device’s performance, but it also serves as an essential safeguard for your personal data.

This simple process packs a punch, serving as a key player in your device’s longevity and security.

Step-by-Step Guide to Restore Your Device

Preparing for the Device Restoration

Backing up your data

How to backup iPhone

Before delving into the restoration process, backing up your data is a task of prime importance.

This preventative measure ensures the safety of your important data and personal files. Here, we will cover the process of backing up data using both iCloud and your computer.

Backing Up with iCloud

  1. Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network to ensure uninterrupted internet access.
  2. Open the Settings app on your device. Tap on your Apple ID at the top, then select ‘iCloud’.
  3. Scroll down in the iCloud settings and select ‘iCloud Backup’.
  4. Ensure the ‘iCloud Backup’ toggle is on. Tap ‘Back Up Now’ and keep your device connected to Wi-Fi until the process completes.

Backing Up with Your Computer

  1. Connect your device to your computer using the appropriate cable.
  2. Open iTunes if you’re using a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, or a PC. Open Finder for Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15 or later.
  3. Select your device when it appears in iTunes or Finder.
  4. Click ‘Back Up Now’ and wait for the process to complete.

By following these steps, you can create a reliable backup of your data.

This procedure ensures the protection of your device’s content and allows for a smooth transition through the restoration process.

To find out more, see:

Pre-requisites for restoration

Before diving into the restoration process, it’s important to ensure that you’re well-equipped for the task. This means checking off a few prerequisites for a seamless restoration, whether you’re restoring from iCloud or your computer.

Here’s what you need to do.

Preparation for iCloud Restoration

  1. Make sure your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network. iCloud restoration relies on a stable internet connection to retrieve your backup data.
  2. Confirm that the iCloud backup you wish to restore is up-to-date. You can do this by going to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups.
  3. Ensure your device has enough power, or is connected to a power source, as the restoration process can take some time and consume a significant amount of battery.

Preparation for Computer-based Restoration

  1. Update iTunes to the latest version if you’re using a PC or a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier. For Macs with macOS Catalina 10.15 or later, ensure Finder is up-to-date.
  2. Connect your device to your computer using the cable provided.
  3. Make certain that the most recent backup is available on your computer. You can verify this by opening iTunes or Finder, selecting your device, and checking the date of the last backup.

By thoroughly preparing for the restoration process and carefully following the instructions for your preferred method, you can ensure a smooth and successful restoration.

This will provide your device with a fresh start while preserving all your essential data.

Performing the Restoration

How to restore iPhone

Restoring via iTunes/Finder

Restoring your device using iTunes or Finder is a relatively straightforward process. Both platforms offer an intuitive way to breathe new life into your device after the activation lock removal.

Let’s break down the process into simple steps for both methods.

Restoring via iTunes

  1. Launch iTunes on your computer and connect your device using the appropriate cable.
  2. Once iTunes recognizes your device, select it from the list.
  3. Navigate to the ‘Summary’ tab, then click on ‘Restore Backup’.
  4. Select the most recent backup from the list, then click ‘Restore’. Stay connected and patient until the restoration process is completed.

Restoring via Finder (macOS Catalina 10.15 or later)

  1. Connect your device to your computer and open Finder.
  2. Select your device from the sidebar in the Finder window.
  3. Click on the ‘General’ tab, then select ‘Restore Backup’.
  4. Choose the latest backup from the list, then click ‘Restore’. Ensure your device remains connected until the restoration is finished.

Whether you’re using iTunes or Finder, both methods offer a dependable way to restore your device.

By following these instructions, you can ensure that your device’s data is successfully retrieved, and your device is ready for a fresh start.

To find out more, see:

Restoring via iCloud

If you’ve chosen iCloud as your backup solution, restoring your device from this platform is an efficient and straightforward process.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to restore your device via iCloud.

  1. Begin by resetting your device to its factory settings. Navigate to Settings > General > Reset, then tap ‘Erase All Content and Settings’.
  2. Once your device has been reset, you’ll be greeted with the ‘Hello’ screen. Follow the on-screen instructions until you reach the ‘Apps & Data’ screen.
  3. On the ‘Apps & Data’ screen, choose ‘Restore from iCloud Backup’.
  4. Sign in to your iCloud account with your Apple ID and password.
  5. Choose the backup that you want to restore. Look at the date and size of each backup and select the most relevant one.
  6. If asked, sign in to your Apple ID account once more to restore your apps and purchases. If you can’t remember the password, you may skip this step and sign in later.
  7. Stay connected to Wi-Fi and wait for the progress bar to complete. Depending on the size of the backup and the speed of your Wi-Fi, this can take some time.
  8. Once the restoration process is finished, complete the rest of the on-screen instructions to set up your device.

By diligently following these steps, you’ll be able to effectively restore your device using your iCloud backup.

This will ensure a smooth transition, bringing your device back to its optimal state while preserving your essential data.

Post-restoration Measures

setup guide

Setting up your device

After successfully restoring your device, it’s time to set it up for use. The process involves several steps that tailor the device to your preferences and needs.

Here is a straightforward guide on how to proceed.

  1. Power on your device. You’ll be presented with a ‘Hello’ screen. Swipe up or press the home button to begin the setup.
  2. Choose your preferred language and your region. These choices affect the device’s language and time settings.
  3. Set up a Wi-Fi network. You can also choose to use cellular data or set up the device later if you’re not within range of a Wi-Fi network.
  4. Enable or disable Location Services. These services allow apps like Maps to use information from cellular, Wi-Fi, and GPS networks to determine your approximate location.
  5. Set up your device as new, or restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup if you’ve done one before. You can also move data from an Android device if you’re switching from Android.
  6. Log in with your Apple ID. If you don’t have one, you can create a new one. If you’ve forgotten your details, you can recover them.
  7. Set up security for your device. You can use Touch ID, Face ID, or a Passcode depending on your device model. You can also set up later in settings.
  8. Agree to the terms and conditions after reading.
  9. Set up Siri, Apple’s personal voice assistant. You can also do this later in settings.
  10. Choose whether or not to share app analytics with app developers.
  11. Finally, choose your view mode and get started with your device.

By following these steps, you can personalize your device to align with your preferences, making sure it’s tuned and ready for your use.

Updating your device

Keeping your device updated with the latest iOS software is key to maintaining its performance, security, and access to new features.

Here’s how you can go about it.

  1. Before starting the update, connect your device to Wi-Fi and ensure it is charged or connected to a power source.
  2. Navigate to ‘Settings’ on your device. This is represented by the gear icon on your home screen.
  3. Scroll down and tap on ‘General’.
  4. Under the ‘General’ tab, you’ll find ‘Software Update’. Tap on this option.
  5. If an update is available, you’ll see a ‘Download and Install’ option. If you don’t see the option to ‘Install’, you can opt to ‘Download’ the update first. The installation can then be done at a later time.
  6. Enter your passcode, if required.
  7. Wait for the update to download and install. During this process, your device may restart once or twice.

By taking these steps to update your device, you’re ensuring that you have the latest security patches and feature improvements for your iOS software.

Remember, an updated device is a secure and efficient device.

Troubleshooting Common Restoration Issues

Useful Apple troubleshooting fixes

Restoration issues on your Apple device can occur due to a myriad of reasons, but many can be resolved with simple steps.

Problem restoring from iCloud

Stuck on ‘Restore from iCloud Backup’?

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Confirm that you have a reliable internet connection and sufficient free storage space on your device for the backup.
  2. If the issue persists, reset your network settings. Navigate to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This will erase your saved network settings, such as Wi-Fi passwords.
  3. As a next step, reboot your device. Hold down the side button and either volume button until the ‘slide to power off’ option appears. Power off, then turn your device back on.
  4. If the problem remains, consider reaching out to Apple Support for further help or try restoring from a computer backup.

Did your Restore from iCloud Backup Fail?

Ensure your internet connection is stable as most restore problems arise due to poor connectivity.

You can also sign out and sign back into your iCloud account to refresh it.

If the problem persists, consider resetting your device to the factory settings, which will erase your data but might resolve underlying software issues.

If none of these steps work, reach out to Apple Support for assistance.

Problem restoring from Computer

Having trouble restoring from a computer backup?

Follow these steps:

  1. Unplug your device from your computer and reconnect it.
  2. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, try rebooting your computer and device.
  3. Experiment with a different USB cable or port on your computer.
  4. If the issue persists, you may need to put your device into recovery mode. Be sure that you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your computer.

Recovery mode for devices with Face ID:

If iTunes is open, close it, then reopen.

Connect your device to your computer using an approved Apple USB cable.

Press and hold the side or top button, also known as the Sleep/Wake button, along with the volume down or up button until the ‘Slide to Power Off’ message appears. R

elease the volume button and continue holding the Sleep/Wake button until the recovery mode screen appears.

Recovery mode for devices with a home button:

If iTunes is open, close it, then reopen.

Connect your device to your computer with an approved Apple USB cable.

Press and hold both the home and top (or side) buttons until the ‘Slide to Power Off’ message appears. Keep holding down the buttons until the recovery mode screen appears.

If these steps don’t help, consider contacting Apple or visiting an Apple Store.

Device still says “Restore in Progress”?

This implies that the restoration process is still underway. It could be due to a poor internet connection, interrupted iTunes connection, outdated iOS version, or corrupted downloaded firmware.

Ensure you have a stable internet connection and the latest iOS software.

Use authentic Apple cables and accessories during restoration.

Disconnect and reconnect your device to iTunes and restart your computer if the issue persists.

In rare cases, a factory reset might be required.


Navigating through technological issues, such as restoration problems on Apple devices, might feel daunting at first.

However, understanding and following these detailed, systematic instructions can help to unravel the complexity.

Each step is designed to address a range of potential issues, from network disruptions to software glitches. They provide a roadmap to a solution, acting as a virtual technician guiding you through the process.

Moreover, remember that troubleshooting is often about persistence and patience. It’s common for these challenges to require several attempts or the application of multiple solutions.

Finally, never hesitate to contact Apple Support if your problem persists after these steps. They provide expertise and assistance tailored to your specific circumstances, ensuring that your device is functional and ready to serve you effectively again.

Remember, technology is here to assist us, and with the right instructions, we can overcome the occasional bumps along the way.


What are some key factors to consider before starting the device restoration process?

Prior to initiating device restoration, ensure that you have a stable internet connection, sufficient device storage, a recent backup available (either iCloud or computer-based), and your Apple ID and password at hand.

How often should I backup my Apple device to ensure smooth restoration if needed?

Regular backups are crucial to prevent data loss. A weekly backup is advisable, though the frequency might depend on how often your device’s content changes.

Can I restore my device to its state at a specific previous date?

Yes, you can. The date and time of the backup chosen will determine the state your device will revert to upon restoration.

What happens to the data on my device when I start the restoration process?

When you restore your device, all existing data and settings are erased before the backup data is loaded. This means your device will be reverted to the state it was in at the time of the chosen backup.

What can cause an iCloud backup restoration to fail?

Several factors can cause this issue, including unstable internet connection, insufficient storage space on the device, or incorrect Apple ID and password. If the issue persists, consider contacting Apple Support.

What if the restoration process stalls or my device gets stuck in ‘Restore in Progress’?

If your device gets stuck, you may need to restart the restoration process. Ensure your device has a stable internet connection and keep it plugged in to a power source during the entire restoration process.

Can I use my device while it’s being restored from a backup?

It’s recommended to avoid using your device during the restoration process to ensure that the restore completes successfully.

Can I restore a backup made from a different device or a newer iOS version?

You can restore a backup from a different device, but it must be an Apple device. As for the iOS version, you can restore a backup from a newer iOS to an older iOS, but there might be some compatibility issues.

What should I do if I don’t have a backup and my device needs to be restored?

If you don’t have a backup, you will need to set up your device as new after restoration. It’s recommended to start regular backups to avoid data loss in the future.

Can I cancel a restoration process midway? If so, what happens to my data?

While it’s technically possible to cancel the restoration by restarting your device, it’s not recommended. Doing so can result in data loss or corruption. If you must cancel the process, be prepared to start the restoration process again.

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