Having trouble with a locked iOS device? Follow along for how to get around Activation Lock on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

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

  1. If you can’t remember your Apple ID email, look it up here
  2. If you can’t remember your Apple ID password, reset it here
  3. 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
  4. 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:

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author