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How to Remove iPhone Activation Lock without Previous Owner

You bought a second-hand iPhone only to find that it is protected by activation lock and you can’t get in? It is stuck on the Activation Lock screen, asking for the previous owner’s Apple ID and password, and what’s frustrating is that you can’t get in touch with the previous owner? So, is there a way to remove the activation lock without the previous owner? The answer is yes. This article will show you how to do it.

activation lock on iPhone

Why does activation lock appear on iPhone?

The Activation Lock is actually a feature included in Find My iPhone designed to prevent anyone else from using the iPhone if it is lost or stolen. If you turn on Find My iPhone, activation lock is automatically enabled. But under normal circumstances, you will not be aware of the existence of the activation lock. When one resets or restores the iPhone to factory settings without turning off Find My iPhone, the device displays the activation lock. Without the original or previous owner’s Apple ID and password, the device can’t be activated and get to the Home screen.

How to remove activation lock with previous owner

First of all, it’s still recommended you try to contact the previous owner of the iPhone, as this is the best way to remove the activation lock. You can get in touch with the previous owner by phone calls, text messages, emails, social platform, etc. If you bought the device on an online platform like Amazon or eBay, then you can also contact the seller online. Anyway, try your best to get in touch with them. Once you get in touch with the previous owner, you can remove the activation lock on your iPhone in one of the following two ways.

Option 1: Remotely remove the activation lock by the previous owner

Keep your iPhone turned on and ask its previous owner to do the following.

1. Sign in to with his Apple ID. The Apple ID should be the same as the one linked to your iPhone.

sign in to iCloud with apple ID

2. After logging in, click Find iPhone in the lower right corner.

click Find iPhone

3. He will need to enter his Apple ID password again and click Sign in to sign in to the Find My iPhone page.

sign in Find My iPhone

4. After accessing the iCloud Find My iPhone page, click All Devices at the top, and then select the iPhone that needs to remove the activation lock.

select the device that needs to remove activation lock

5. When the iPhone is displayed on the page, click Erase iPhone, and then click Erase to erase the iPhone.

erase iPhone

6. After your iPhone is erased, ask the previous owner to click Remove from Account to completely remove your iPhone from his Apple ID.

remove device from account

That’s it. The activation lock has been removed from your iPhone by the previous owner remotely and you can get into your iPhone without an Apple ID or with a new Apple ID. Now it’s time to thank the previous owner.

Option 2: Remove activation lock with the device passcode

If the previous owner lost access to the Apple ID that is linked to your device, check if there is a “Unlock with Passcode” option on the Activation Lock screen. If there is, ask the previous owner for the passcode that was previously used to unlock the device. Once you know the device passcode, you can tap “Unlock with Passcode”.

tap Unlock with Passcode

Then tap "Use Device passcode” and enter the passcode. If the correct passcode is entered, the activation lock will be removed. Then you can use a new Apple ID to set up the device and get to the Home screen.

tap Use Device Passcode

If you can’t remove activation lock with the device passcode, move on to another method.

How to remove activation lock without previous owner

If you can’t get in touch with the previous owner or the previous owner can’t help, here are two options to remove the activation lock without the previous owner.

Option 1: Ask Apple to remove the activation lock

1. Find out the receipt for your legal purchase of the device or the proof that the previous owner has transferred the device to you, including emails and other transaction records.

receipt for iPhone

2. Contact Apple support and explain the situation. After Apple checks the device and your documentation, they may remove the activation lock for you.

If you have lost the evidence of legal possession of this device, or the evidence is insufficient, then Apple will likely not help. In this case, please move on to another option.

Option 2: Remove activation lock with iSumsoft iLock Refixer

Yes, due to security issues, Apple will not necessarily help remove the activation lock on an iOS device. However, even if neither the previous owner nor Apple helps, it does not mean that your device has become a brick. Here is a powerful and professional iCloud activation lock removal tool – iSumsoft iLock Refixer. It helps to easily remove activation lock on iPhone/iPad without the previous owner’s Apple ID, password, or any other information. Follow these steps.

Step 1: Find a Windows computer connected to the Internet. Then download and install iSumsoft iLock Refixer on this computer.


Step 2: Jailbreak your iPhone. This is a key step in ensuring that the activation lock can be removed.

jailbreak iPhone

Step 3: Connect the iPhone to the computer with a USB cable. You may need to get into the iPhone and tap Trust to trust this computer. Then launch iSumsoft iLock Refixer and select Bypass ID from the main interface.

select Bypass ID

Step 4: Click Start and the software will immediately start removing the activation lock from the iPhone. This will take a few minutes. Just keep the iPhone connected and wait for the removal to complete.

removing activation lock

Step 5: When “Bypassed Successfully” is displayed on the software interface, it means that the activation lock has been removed successfully from the iPhone. Then you will be able to set up the device without an Apple ID and get to the Home screen.

activation lock is removed successfully

How to avoid activation lock when buying or selling iPhone

Buying an iPhone/iPad with an activation lock can be very frustrating, especially if the previous owner can’t help remove the activation lock. So, how to avoid activation lock when buying a second-hand iPhone/iPad?

  • If you’re dealing face to face with someone, you should turn on the device and check it carefully. If the iPhone shows a screen that says Hello, it means it has been reset. You should connect the iPhone to the Internet and try to set it up. During the setting process, make sure you don’t see the Activation Lock and can access it with any Apple ID.
  • If you trade online, you should be more careful. Be sure to click any Contact Seller button to contact the seller for details about the activation lock and Find My [device]. It’s best to ask the seller to provide relevant pictures for verification.

Likewise, if you, as a seller, intend to sell your used iPhone or iPad, you should disable the activation lock before selling to avoid inconvenience to buyers or cause transaction disputes. To disable activation lock, just turn off Find My iPhone with these steps.

  • Get into the iPhone, open Settings, and then tap your name on the top of the list.
  • Tap Find My > Find My iPhone, then toggle Find My iPhone off.
  • Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off, so Find My iPhone as well as activation lock will be disabled.