For whatever reason (no one is judging) you need to bypass Apple’s iCloud activation lock on an iOS device. It’s a fairly common hoop to jump through if you’ve recently bought a used iOS smartphone or tablet, or you inherited it from a family member. And you might’ve heard there’s dozens of websites and software that can bypass the activation lock, right? Well, your bubble’s about to get popped: you’ll get scammed before you even come across a legitimate site.
Here’s what you won’t find here: links to software and websites that “unlock” an iOS device. Here’s what you will find: legitimate ways of removing the activation code that won’t get your information stolen, or money siphoned. And finally, here’s what you won’t be doing: jailbreaking your iOS device.
You may have heard it’s possible to remove the activation lock through jailbreaking means, but there’s very little, if any, to back up that claim. Jailbreaking, at this point, barely hangs on as a method, anyways (it’s a shame, too).
Let’s break down the situation, piece by piece, and get a grasp on the problem.
What is the iCloud Activation Code?
Apple developed a secondary security measure just in case you lost your device or it was stolen. When you first bring home a new iOS device, the iCloud Activation Code is put in place by default. You wouldn’t want someone snooping in it already if you lost the device in the same day. It can be turned off in your iOS settings.
And clearly, it seems quite helpful considering how many websites cropped up claiming they can remove it for you… for a price.
Factory Reset Won’t Work
The first solution that may come to mind is resetting the phone. You wouldn’t be wrong if, say, you thought that a few years ago, and in some cases, resetting an older device is still achievable. But for Apple, they chose a different route with Find My iPhone.
iCloud Lock is simply a feature of Find My iPhone. As a whole, its Apple’s FRP, or Factory Reset Protection. Their goal is to deter would-be thieves from unlocking your phone even if they were smart enough to think of resetting it.
It still keeps protecting up until you disable it. Factory reset will, at the most, remove any passcode on the iOS device, but that still doesn’t solve the problem of the iCloud activation lock.
Using a Website
As mentioned before, websites crop up here and there offering the service of bypassing the iCloud activation code. This is an incredibly dangerous method.
For example, here’s a review of cellunlocker.co.uk. In it, a user recounts his experience with Cellunlocker.co.uk. To make a long story short, they bought their iCloud activation lock removal service and their iPhone wasn’t unlocked.
This doesn’t paint a very good picture for any website, legitimate or otherwise, that advertises their ability to bypass the iCloud activation code. By the time you’re finished testing several websites, and finally found one that worked, you’ll have spent so much money you could’ve easily went out and bought a whole new iOS device that wasn’t plagued by the iCloud activation code.
Third-party software is, and will always be, a risky decision. It doesn’t matter if it’s third-party apps on smartphones or third-party software on computers.
And, really, it’s a shame. There’s hundreds of third-party software that are far superior to big names like Apple and Android. It’s all about intentions. If you’re passing out an app that has value, and isn’t out to steal user information, oftentimes the developers catch a break and gain commercial success.
The problem comes from perception. Software doesn’t feel trustworthy if it doesn’t come with the tag of a familiar name. In this case, software that’s “designed” to unlock your phone may actually be designed to steal your information.
It seems paranoid at first, but consider this: why’s the iCloud activation lock even a feature if it wasn’t a legitimate concern? VPNs, for example, are incredibly popular and absolutely recommended.
What Can You Do?
After all that, it seems there’s no way to fix the problem. You’ll have a locked iOS device forever. Well, there are two ways of bypassing the activation lock, but you’ll need the person who’s responsible for locking it in the first place.
If you erased your own device, all you need is your Apple ID and Apple ID password. That’s it. It has to be the account that was originally assigned to the device when you purchased it.
This can pose another problem: account information. If you’re looking to sell your iOS device, it is in no way recommended you hand out the account information. However, there’s a solution for that problem as well.
1. The Previous Owner is With You
If you bought the device from someone else, you need their Apple ID and Apple ID password to unlock it. When you turn the device on and you’re greeted by an Activation Lock screen, then, unfortunately, it’s still linked to the person who sold it to you. You’ll need their help.
If they’re willing, they can remove the iCloud activation lock by doing this:
1. Sign out of: iCloud, iTunes and the App Store.
2. Open Settings.
3. Select General.
4. Tap Reset.
5. Select Erase All Content and Settings.
6. If prompted, enter your Apple ID password.
7. Finally, select Erase.
2. The Previous Owner has Gone
If you’re lucky enough to get in contact with the previous owner, they can still remove the activation code from their end without sharing account information. Here’s what they should do:
1. Sign in to iCloud.
2. Select Find My iPhone.
3. Search for All Devices. You can find it near the top of the screen.
4. Remove the device in question.
5. You made need to erase information from the phone. Select Erase.
6. Finally, click Remove from Account.
7. The new owner can then restart the device successfully bypassing the iCloud activation lock.
To take away from this is that if you’re looking to spend money to unlock the phone through questionable means, then it’s probably best to make the leap and buy another phone.
Before you buy a used phone, you should remember to check if it has iCloud lock. You should also remember these steps if you have intentions of selling your own iOS device.
If nothing works, you can always try your hand with an Apple representative. It’s recommended you provide proof that you acquired the device through legitimate means like a receipt or bringing the previous owner with you.