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What Is Activation Lock?

Activation Lock is a security feature found in Apple devices that is designed to prevent anyone else from reactivating your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, iPod touch, or Mac computer without your permission.

Activation Lock is turned on automatically when Find My is enabled on your device. Find out how to set up and use Find My.

Activation Lock and the Find My App work together to link your Apple device to your Apple ID. Once enabled, your device is secured – even if it is erased.

If your device is stolen it can’t be reactivated or used until your Apple ID and password are entered.

Activation Lock discourages theft and keeps your device secure if it falls into the wrong hands and can improve your chances of recovering it.

What Is Activation Lock
Above: Turn off Activation Lock support page on the Apple website


If you want to switch off the lock on your device and know the Apple ID and password, then see How to turn off Activation Lock.

If you disable Find My you will automatically turn off Activation Lock. Find My can be switched off from a computer, iPhone, iPad, iPod, iCloud, or Apple Watch.

Due to the security imposed on Apple devices owners often ask themselves if Activation Lock can be unlocked on a locked device. Especially if they forget their Apple ID password or accidentally get locked out of their device.

Activation Lock on used devices

If you are considering buying a used device, it is best to check the status of the Activation Lock before you hand over your money.

Remove Activation Lock for free

If you have bought a second-hand Apple product that has the Activation Lock turned on you will need help from the previous owner to unlock the iCloud lock for free.

Remove Activation Lock without previous owner

If the seller can’t help, then find out how to remove Activation Lock without the previous owner’s help.

Activation Lock removal tools

There are unofficial methods of removing the Activation Lock, such as removal tools and services we reviewed that may be suitable in some circumstances. Find out how to use these tools and services to unlock iCloud and use your device normally.

Remove Activation Lock without Apple ID

If you do get locked out you may be tempted to try and factory reset the device to remove Activation Lock, but this will not work. It will reset the settings and remove the data but the Activation Lock will remain in place.

Activation Lock for specific Apple products


The latest version of Activation Lock and Find My can be found on all new Apple products running:

For more detailed information on Activation Lock on specific Apple products, see:

How to remove Activation Lock and turn off Find My

From iPhone

If you want to remove iCloud Activation Lock from your iPhone, see:

From iPad

If you want to remove iCloud Activation Lock from your iPad, see:

From Mac computers

If you want to remove iCloud Activation Lock from your Mac, see:

From Apple Watch

If you want to remove iCloud Activation Lock from your Apple Watch, see Remove Activation Lock on Apple Watch.

From iPod

If you want to remove iCloud Activation Lock from your iPod, see Remove Activation Lock on iPod Touch.

For more help, see Common issues when removing Activation Lock and how to troubleshoot them.

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