Removing the Activation Lock on an Apple iPhone device without the previous owners details

By Fiona Mcsweeney - 20/01/23 14:56

Young man using the iCloud activation lock removal service from Mobile Unlocked.

Simple online fix for any iPhone device

It’s an all too common scenario… You buy a secondhand phone or inherit one from a friend or family member. The phone’s in perfect condition. In fact, it looks as if it’s never been used. The problem is, it has been used. It's got history, even if it doesn’t look like it. So, what’s its back story?

Well, in short, it’s still registered to the previous owner’s Apple ID. The iCloud Activation Lock has been enabled. And you don’t know the login details or password linked to the previous owner’s account to remove it. So, yes, you’ve got a nice shiny phone, but with the Activation Lock in place, you can’t actually use it. The moral of the story? Run an iCloud check on the device first.

Sound advice, right. And the good news is there are easy-to-use tools available that can carry out a quick iCloud check using just the phone’s IMEI. But that doesn’t help you now. You’ve already got the device. So, what’s next? Well, luckily the story doesn’t end there.

In this blog post we look at ways to remove iCloud Activation Lock even if you haven’t got access to the previous owner’s iCloud account information. And we answer a series of questions associated with this common problem.

But first, a bit of background…

  • What is Activation Lock?
  • What’s an activation check?
  • How to remove Activation Lock without previous owner iCloud details
  • Method 1. Use specialized iPhone Activation Lock removal software
  • Method 2. Perform a DNS bypass
  • Method 3. Contact Apple Support
  • Method 4. Contact the previous owner

  • What is Activation Lock?

    Activation Lock is a security feature linked to Apple’s Find My app. The Find My app is designed to help iPhone owners’ track and remotely lock their mobile if it becomes lost or stolen. How does it work? In short, you can use Find My to plot the location of your device on a map and play a sound on it. You can also use it to activate Lost Mode. So, where does Activation Lock fit in?

    Well, whether it’s stolen or lost, a missing device is vulnerable to access from unauthorized users. Activation Lock protects a device and its data by applying an iCloud login lock on the phone. It’s automatically enabled whenever the Find My app is switched on. And only users with access to the right iCloud account information can bypass or reset the password via iCloud. They also stop anyone who steals your phone from reactivating it even after erasing it. If an iPhone is erased without entering the correct Apple ID and password, the activation lock screen will appear as a default.

    An effective security feature, there’s beauty in this. But also something of the beast.

    Activation Lock plays an important role in protecting a device and the personal information stored on it. And for many it’s a welcome and useful addition to the overall mobile phone package. But if you’ve bought a used phone that’s still linked to an active iCloud account and you don’t know any of the official Apple login details (account ID and Apple ID password) it can be problematic.

    What’s an activation check?

    A good way of avoiding any problems associated with the Activation Lock feature is to carry out an iCloud activation check before you invest in a secondhand iPhone.

    Using the IMEI number of the device, an iCloud activation check extracts information directly from Apple’s official database to establish if there’s an iCloud account still active on the device. It determines if the iPhone’s ‘Find My’ activation lock is enabled. And it verifies the iCloud status to ensure the iPhone or iPad is clean and hasn’t been reported lost or stolen.

    An online check like this eliminates this risk involved in buying a used iPhone. And because it’s fast, you can move quickly to snap up a bargain before someone else does, if the check comes back clean.

    How to remove Activation Lock without previous owner iCloud details

    Hindsight’s a powerful thing. But it’s a luxury many consumers won’t be able to benefit from. And if you’ve already bought a used phone and are only now finding out about the all-important activation check it may feel as if that crucial knowledge has come too late.

    Not so.

    Yes, an activation check is a good way of minimizing potential hurdles associated with buying a used iPhone. (Spoiler alert: There are also a range of other reports you can use for an iPhone locked in some way - from blacklist status to a carrier check - to find out more about a device before you invest in it). But if you’ve already bought a phone without carrying out a preliminary activation check and are now locked out of the device, there are still ways you can resolve the problem. Even if you don’t know the password to the linked iCloud account or have any way of finding it.

    The following methods explore different options available to help bypass iCloud activation lock. Some of the methods are more clunky and time-intensive than others. And for us there's a standout winner. But it always helps to be aware of the different options.

    Method 1: Use specialized iPhone Activation Lock removal software

    If speed, simplicity and accuracy are what you’re after, the best method by far is to use a professional tool to remove the Activation Lock on your locked iPhone.

    Find out how to unlock iPhone without passcode, in a click.

    How does our iCloud activation unlocker work? Just key in the IMEI number of the phone, connect your phone to your PC or laptop and that’s it. Our software will then delete the locked or disabled account to resume access to all Apple services in seconds. Phone reset, just create a different ID or log into an existing one.

    There are so many benefits to this approach. Here are our top 8:

    1. It’s permanent. Not a temporary fix you’ll need to resolve again.
    2. It’s convenient. Everything’s online. No admin. No forms.
    3. It’s safe. Your iPhone stays with you the whole time.
    4. It’s comprehensive. All iPhone models covered, plus iPads and iPod touch too.
    5. It’s fast. Our instant, one-click activation unlock takes seconds.
    6. It’s automatic. No manual fiddling behind the scene or settings to adjust.
    7. It’s guaranteed. Our success rate sits firmly at 100%.
    8. It’s universal. Works on new and used devices bought.

    Method 2: Perform a DNS bypass

    If you’ve got a technical background and are willing to invest a little more time and input into your Activation Lock removal, an iCloud DNS (Domain Name System) Bypass could be an option to consider.

    DNS translates readable names (domains) into numerical IP addresses. To bypass an iCloud Activation Lock, this solution relies on manipulating the DNS server. In short, it redirects the authentication request away from Apple’s servers and over to a third-party iCloud bypass server instead.

    Unlike the previous automated method, this solution is more hands-on and requires a rather complicated and protracted series of settings adjustments inside your phone. There are also a number of other challenges associated with this approach. It’s not a permanent fix.

    Every time you restart the device, you’ll be taken back to the iCloud activation screen and have to repeat the whole process again. It’s also not guaranteed to work. Some features and functions still won’t be available and will require additional advanced in-product adjustments to reinstate them.

    Method 3: Contact Apple Support

    The official method for removing the Activation Lock on an iPhone rests with the phone’s manufacturers, Apple. Apple Support may help you turn off the Activation Lock on an iPhone or iPad but there’s a strict criteria you need to meet first.

    The biggest stumbling block in this instance is that Apple Support won’t help with iPhones bought from secondhand vendors.

    Plus there are a series of documents and details that will need to be provided in advance. Some of these may be difficult to obtain if you have bought or acquired a used phone.

    For example, you will need to supply:

    • proof of ownership of the device
    • the Apple AppleCare agreement number
    • the serial number of the device
    • the receipt for the phone

    Even if you meet all of these requirements and have the details they want, there’s no guarantee Apple will take action to remove the lock. Their support is purely discretionary. Learn more about an iPhone unlock using Mobile Unlocked.

    Method 4. Contact the previous owner

    Of course, there is one super simple way of resolving the issue - contact the previous owner and ask them to help. If they're happy to do so and are nearby all they need to do is enter their device passcode and then delete their Apple ID.

    Alternatively they can sign into iCloud on another device. From there all they need to do is:

    • navigate to Find My iPhone > All Devices
    • select the device to unlock
    • click Erase Device, and then
    • click Remove from Account.

    Speed and simplicity wins the race

    A phone’s more than a nice-to-have accessory. For most people it’s a lifeline; an essential link keeping people, products and services connected and functioning.

    If you’ve got an iOS device that you can’t use because there’s an iPhone Activation Lock in place, all of that interactivity and security is lost. The result can leave you feeling isolated and disempowered. Which is why it makes sense to use specialized iCloud activation lock removal software to restore access. Simple, seamless and completed in seconds, it’s the best way to give life back to your phone and put your life back on track.

    Mobile Unlocked are iCloud activation lock removal experts. Want to learn more about how this and other phone-related locking problems? We're here to help. Get in touch.

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