The iCloud activation lock is a complete pain.

What were Apple Apple thinking when they introduced a system so strict that a device you spent hundreds of dollars on becomes unusable?

Well it turns out that there are a couple of solutions to fix it.

Even better:

One of them is completely free!

This article will explain how to do an iCloud unlock and an iCloud bypass. It also reviews the many iCloud activation lock removal services available and tells you the best company to use with the most reliable service.

What is the iCloud activation lock?

So you just bought a used iPhone or iPad.

But when you try to set it up it keeps on asking for the iCloud login details of the previous owner…

…you have no idea what they are and you can’t contact them to find out.

Even if you can track them down they are unlikely to give you their iCloud password as it gives you access to their private stuff.

This makes your iPhone an unusable brick.

You have just encountered the iCloud activation lock.

What is the purpose of the iCloud activation lock?

This is actually a good idea in some ways – it puts people off stealing iPhones as they will be unusable by anyone else.

However almost 50% of second hand iPhones bought and sold legitimately have iCloud activation locks left on by accident.

This means buyers can’t use them.

The easiest way to have your iPhone iCloud activation lock removed is by contacting the seller, or original owner of the device and asking them to remove it from ‘Find My iPhone’. This is a simple process and can be done from any computer or smartphone that can connect to the internet via iCloud.com.

They simply:

  1. Sign in to iCloud.com or the Find My iPhone app on another Apple device
  2. Select the device
  3. Click Erase
  4. After the device has been erased, click Remove from Account

Read the full article describing the steps an owner should follow before selling their device here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201351.

This will remove the iCloud activation lock on your device.

The next thing you need to do is check the status of the device you just bought to see if it has been stolen. This used to be possible using Apple’s activation lock tool but is no longer possible as they disabled it. Instead, I suggest contacting you local Apple store and asking them to check.


Apple removed the activation lock check tool from their website on January 29th 2017 without any warning. Rumour has it that Chinese hackers had been using the tool to find unlocked devices serial numbers and used them to reset iPhone serial numbers remove locks on an industrial scale. This means you can’t check the status of your Apple device online for now. It is unknown if the tool will ever return.

If it is locked due to theft you may still be able to bypass the activation lock as described later in this article and get some functionality. But you won’t be able to unlock the iPhone completely.

Don’t know how to find your IMEI for your iPhone?

  • Option 1: Dial *#06#
  • Option 2: If you have an iPhone 5 or newer, your IMEI is printed on the back of the device
  • Option 3:If your iPhone is not activated, there will be a little “i” button on the screen, tap it and you’ll see the IMEI

In future it is best to request this number from the seller before you buy it to make sure the item has not been stolen or locked by the previous owner. You simply ask Apple to check the device on your behalf and can then buy it safe in the knowledge it hasn’t been stolen and locked permanently.

How does iCloud lock work?

If the original owner of your iPhone turned on a feature called ‘Find My iPhone‘ then it will automatically link their iCloud account to the iPhone. The idea is to help them find their device if it is lost or stolen. If the worst comes to the worst and they can’t get their iPhone back then they can use ‘Find My iPhone’ to erase the contents of the phone and lock it permanently.

Obviously the idea behind this is to deter theft which is a great. However, if you buy a used iPhone, iPad or even Apple Watch and the previous owner forgot to remove it from their ‘Find My iPhone’ account then it is locked to the old owners iCloud account. This means you can’t use it. So the security on iCloud may disable the iPhone you bought in good faith and make it unusable.

However there is a solution – using either an iCloud bypass or unlock. The difference between the 2 methods are described in this article.

Which models of iPhone and iPad can be unlocked?

You can unlock any iPhone apart from the 1st generation, 3 and 3GS models using the process in this article.

How to unlock iPhone 7

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were announced on September 7, 2016 and were released on September 16, 2016.

The iPhone 7’s overall design is similar to the iPhone 6S, but introduced water and dust resistance and controversially removed the 3.5 mm headphone jack.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus supports all iOS versions including iOS11 and can be unlocked.

How to unlock iPhone 6s

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus were announced on September 9, 2015 with the official release on September 25, 2015.

iPhone 6S had a mostly positive reception with its updated hardware, including a strengthened chassis and upgraded system-on-chip, a 12-megapixel camera, improved fingerprint recognition sensor, and LTE Advanced support.

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus supports all iOS versions including iOS11 and can be unlocked.

How to unlock iPhone 6 Plus

The iPhone 6 Plus, like the iPhone 6, was announced on September 9, 2014.

It included a larger 5.5 inch display, a faster processor, upgraded cameras, improved LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity and other improvements.

The iPhone 6 Plus supports all iOS versions including iOS11 and can be unlocked.

How to unlock iPhone 6

The iPhone 6 is part of the iPhone series announced on September 9, 2014, and released on September 19, 2014.

Despite their positive reception, the iPhone 6 has been the subject of several hardware issues including being susceptible to bending.

The iPhone 6 supports all iOS versions including iOS11 and can be unlocked.

How to unlock iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 was unveiled on September 12, 2012 and released on September 21, 2012.

It had the shortest lifespan of any iPhone produced with only twelve months in production.

The iPhone 5 supports iOS10 but not iOS11 and can be unlocked.

How to unlock iPhone 5s

The iPhone 5S includes major internal upgrades but maintains almost the same external design as its predecessor.

Reception was generally positive, with some considering it to be the best smartphone available on the market.

The iPhone 5s supports all iOS versions including iOS11 and can be unlocked.

How to unlock iPhone 5c

The iPhone 5c was part of the iPhone series unveiled on September 10, 2013, and released on September 20, 2013, along with the flagship version the iPhone 5S.

The iPhone 5C is a variant of the iPhone 5 but with a hard-coated polycarbonate shell.

The iPhone 5c supports iOS10 but not iOS11 and can be unlocked.

How to unlock iPhone 4

The iPhone 4 was first unveiled on June 7, 2010.

The iPhone 4 had the longest span as Apple’s flagship iPhone model at fifteen months.

It was available to buy up to 2015.

iOS 7.1.2, is the last version of iOS to support the iPhone 4 and it can be unlocked.

How to unlock iPhone 4s

Announced on October 4, 2011. This iPhone was named “4S” where “S” stood for Siri.

It is the last iPhone to have the original 30 pin connector. Reception to the iPhone 4S was generally favourable.

Reviewers said Siri, the new camera, and processing speeds were significantly better.

The iPhone 4s supports iOS9 but not iOS10 and can be unlocked.


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