How to bypass Activation Lock on iPhone and more - 9to5Mac

Having trouble with a locked Apple device? Follow the procedure to bypass Activation Lock on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Apple Watch. We'll be looking at several milestones, including an Apple Activation Lock web tool, new for 2021.

Activation Lock is a security feature that is activated when Find My is activated. Here's how Apple describes it:

Activation Lock helps protect your device, even if it's in the wrong hands, and may improve your chances of getting it back. Even if you wipe your device remotely, Activation Lock may still deter anyone from reactivating your device without your permission. All you have to do is keep Find My [device] activated and remember your Apple ID and password.

This is different from the password of an iOS device / Apple Watch or the password of your Mac. You will see a screen like the image above asking for the Apple ID email address and password if you are having trouble with Activation Lock.

How to bypass Activation Lock on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, etc.

  1. If you don'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) or contact via to see if it exists. other options to recover your account
  4. If you are in the US there is a new Activation Lock web tool towards the bottom of the landing page, there is an option to "Start an Activation Lock support request." Here are the conditions:
    • You must be the owner of the device - Proof of ownership is required. Proof of ownership must include the product serial number, IMEI or MEID.
    • Your data on the device will be erased - If Apple unlocks Activation Lock on your device, all files and data stored on your device will be permanently erased. Please note that restoring your device from a local backup will re-enable Activation Lock.
    • We cannot unlock a managed device - If your device is owned by a business or educational institution, please contact your IT department or manager. We also do not accept bulk requests.
    • Your device should not be in lost mode.
  5. In countries where the new Activation Lock tool is not available, visit an Apple Store with proof of purchase, it may be possible to remove the Activation Lock, but the device will be erased during the process.

Other than the steps above, there really is no way to turn Activation Lock off on Apple devices. There are examples of third-party companies offering device unlocking services like GrayShift. However, these options typically cost thousands of dollars, are often targeted at law enforcement, and Apple can make exploits unnecessary with a software update.

One exception is DriveSavers, which claims to have a consumer-focused unlocking service for Apple devices. However, no prices are listed on the website and we cannot guarantee this in any way. Keep in mind that most other third party "unlocking services" will be scams or temporary fixes.

The best solution is to follow the above four steps to recover your Apple ID and deactivate Activation Lock legitimately.

To learn more about Activation Lock, see Apple's support document here.

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