Activation Lock is a security feature that is turned on when Find My iPhone (iPad, iPod) is enabled. Here’s how Apple describes it:
When you turn on Find My iPhone on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, your Apple ID is securely stored on Apple’s activation servers and linked to your device. From that point on, your Apple ID password or device passcode is required before anyone can turn off Find My iPhone, erase your device, or reactivate and use your device.
This is different than the iOS device passcode. You’ll see a screen like the image above asking for the Apple ID email and password if you’re having trouble with Activation Lock.
How to get around Activation Lock on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
- If you can’t remember your Apple ID email, look it up here
- If you can’t remember your Apple ID password, reset it here
- If you can’t remember your security questions to reset your Apple ID password, call 800-APL-CARE (800-275-2273) to see if there are any other options to recover your account
- If all of the above fail, visit an Apple Store with proof of purchase where they can usually remove the Activation Lock, but the device will be erased in the process
Outside of the steps above, there aren’t really any ways to get around Activation Lock on iPhone and iPad. There are instances of third-party companies popping up who offer iOS device unlocking services like GrayShift. However, these options are usually cost thousands of dollars, are often intended for law enforcement, and Apple can render the exploits useless with a software update.
One exception is DriveSavers, who claims to have a consumer focused unlocking service for Apple devices. However, no pricing is listed on the website, and we can’t vouch for it in any way. Keep in mind most other third-party “unlocking services” will either be scams or temporary fixes.
The best solution is to work through the four steps above to recover your Apple ID and get around the Activation Lock legitimately.
To read more about Activation Lock, check out Apple’s support doc here.
For more help getting the most out of your Apple devices, check out our how to guide as well as the following articles:
- How to quickly pair your AirPods with your Mac
- How to pay for Spotify Premium in the iOS app
- How to improve hearing by turning iPhone and AirPods into remote microphones
- How to disable Siri when iPhone is locked
- How to find out what USB ports are on your Apple devices and other electronics
- How to rotate iPhone and iPad videos taken in the wrong orientation
- How to rotate a photo in the Photos app on iPhone and iPad
- How to shuffle or repeat songs in Apple Music on iPhone and iPad