iPhone Activation Lock

The iPhone activation lock is tricky. Most techies think they can do it, but think twice. If you purchased, traded or received an iPhone as a gift, make sure you are able to activate the iPhone first with your Apple ID. Otherwise, do not buy or accept the iPhone as a trade.

This iPhone is linked to an Apple ID

When logging into your iCloud account you get a message saying, “This iPhone is linked to an Apple ID. Enter the Apple ID and password that were used to set up this iPhone.” At that point, the only thing you can do is contact the seller or person you received the iPhone from. Ask them to login to their iCloud account and delete the iPhone they sold you from their account. Once the iPhone is removed from the seller/original owner’s iCloud account, your iPhone will be able to be activated.

iPhone Activation Lock

Unable to reach iPhone seller

If the seller of the iPhone cannot be reached or does not remember their iCloud login, you will not be able to legitimately activate your iPhone until the iPhone is removed/deleted from the original owner’s account.

I will discuss a few 3rd party software alternatives that claim to bypass the iPhone activation lock later in this article. You’ll want to read that.

Let me show you on a visual level what the seller/original owner needs to do to successfully remove the iPhone they just sold you from their iCloud account.

  • Remove iPhone activation lock for buyer

Login to your iCloud account and click on Account settings.

iPhone Activation Lock
  • Select a device to remove

Click on the device you want to “remove/delete/release” from your account.

iPhone Activation Lock
  • Click on the X and click done

After clicking on the X and then clicking done, you can be sure the device you wanted to remove from your account is fully removed.

iPhone Activation Lock

Remove iPhone Activation Lock

My experience trying to removing the iPhone activation lock. A client gave me an iPhone for a few hours of work. It was an attractive offer because the iPhone was basically new. I was able to get some use out of the iPhone for a few months, then I decided to restore it. When it came time to login I received the message, “This iPhone is linked to an Apple ID. Enter the Apple ID and password that were used to set up this iPhone.” Unfortunately my client could not remember their login.

If reaching out to the original iPhone owner fails

There are many 3rd party services to go about bypassing Apple’s iCloud Activation Lock, but after countless hours of research, it seems obtaining the original owner’s login credentials is the most secure way to go.

iCloud Activation Lock removal services are shady. They re-route calls and data through their proxy servers. This captures all your call data. Out of the iPhone iCloud Activation Lock removal services, the only one I would consider is https://iphoneimei.net. (Do your own research) They seem to be doing it right, but they have their share of negative reviews. They claim to remove the iPhone Activation Lock while holding onto all Apple services & apps you need. I say this because other companies have made similar claims, but have failed to do so.

iPhone Activation Lock


The only way to reliably unlock the iPhone is to have the original owner login to their iCloud account with their Apple ID and password or give the iPhone to you so you can do it for them.

  1. Click on settings.
  2. Look for My Devices and select the device you want to remove.
  3. Select the device that you want to remove and click done.
  4. Now turn off the device and turn it back on to begin the setup process.

Hope this helps!

Need help with other Apple products? Check here first.