Apple’s Activation Lock: Things you must know

Apple’s Activation Lock is a security feature for devices using the Find My iPhone functionality. The feature is available on devices running iOS 7 and higher. This feature makes it difficult for unauthorized persons to use a stolen or lost device and access personal information. 

When the Activation Lock functionality is enabled, a user’s Apple ID and password are required to unlock the device if the device is factory reset or wiped, including via the DFU mode. For this feature to work, users must set up Find My for their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. 

How to turn on Find My?

You can turn on Find My for your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch by going to Settings > tap your name > tap Find My > tap on Turn on Share My Location if you want your family and friends to know where you are > tap Find My [device] > tap turn on Find My [device]. 

You can turn on Find My Network to see your device even when it is offline. Turn on Send Last Location to have the location of your device sent to Apple when your device battery is low. 

How does the Apple Activation Lock work?

When Find My is enabled on your Apple device, Apple registers your device by linking your Apple ID to the device ID on its activation servers. Here on, your device is protected. Even if your device gets stolen, the thief cannot enter your device without your correct Apple ID password or passcode because the iCloud Lock is enabled. 

Even if your lost or stolen device has been reset through DFU mode, they still will not be able to reactivate and use your device without removing the Activation Lock. 

How to bypass the Activation Lock?

With the Activation Lock enabled on your device, your device’s hardware is rendered useless to whoever steals or finds your device. Therefore, your device is protected. However, you might face a situation where you have forgotten your Activation Lock credentials or the screen isn’t responding. Whatever the reason is, you would be happy to know that the Activation Lock can be bypassed. 

If you wonder how to get passed Activation Lock on iPad or iPhone, here are some ways. 

  • Turn on your device and follow the on-screen instructions to set up the device. 
  • Enter the device owner’s credentials when you see the Sign In With Apple ID screen. 
  • The setup process will continue if you have entered the correct credentials. 

Alternatively, you can enter the passcode and set up your device without Apple ID. When your device has finished setting up, you can sign out of the current iCloud account and create another one. Then, log into it. 

How to remove iCloud Lock?

If you have the original purchase receipt and are the first owner of the iPhone/iPad, you can visit a nearby Apple Store to remove the iCloud Lock from your device. But if you have bought a second-hand device or received one as a gift and don’t have the original purchase receipt, you need to resort to other ways of removing this Lock.

For instance, if your device is in Lost Mode, you can follow these instructions to turn off this mode. 

  • Log into Find My with your Apple ID. 
  • Tap the device in Lost Mode and Actions, then tap Lost Mode. 
  • Tap Turn Off Lost Mode. 

If your device is offline and switching off lost mode isn’t working, you can attempt to unlock your device with your passcode. But this might not always work because your device might be locked due to the number of incorrect passcode attempts. In that case, you may see the iPhone is disabled. Connect to the iTunes message on the screen. The obvious way forward would be to connect your phone to the computer and try to restore your device through iTunes. 

If you have forgotten your Apple ID/iCloud password, you must follow these instructions to remove the Activation Lock. For the steps to work, the prerequisites are:

  • You have forgotten your Apple ID password or iCloud password
  • There is no outstanding remote erase request or remote lock request
  • The device does not have a password, or you don’t know the passcode

The objective is to change the Apple ID and password and disable iCloud Lock without erasing the content. 

The steps you need to follow are:

  • Create a passcode if there’s none by tapping on Settings > iCloud > Apple ID > Password & Security > tap Change Password > enter new device passcode > enter and confirm the new Apple ID password > tap Find My iPhone slider to disable iCloud Lock> enter your newly set Apple ID and tap Confirm. 

The Bottom Line

Activation Lock is a fantastic Apple security feature that can safeguard your device and ensure the safety of your data. Ensure it is enabled so that your device is always safe.

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