Can you bypass iPhone security lock?

Apple iPhones are known for their security features that protect user data. The Find My iPhone service allows users to remotely lock or erase data on a lost or stolen device. While this is useful for protecting privacy, it can also be frustrating if you obtain a used iPhone that is locked with the previous owner’s Apple ID. Is there any way to bypass the activation lock without the original owner’s credentials?

What is Activation Lock?

Activation Lock is an iPhone security feature that links the device to the owner’s Apple ID. It prevents anyone else from using or activating the iPhone if it is ever lost or stolen.

Here’s how it works:

  • When you activate a new iPhone, you must enter your Apple ID and password.
  • This links the device to your Apple ID account.
  • Activation Lock is automatically enabled.
  • If the iPhone is ever wiped, the Activation Lock will still be in place.
  • To use the iPhone again, you must enter the previously associated Apple ID and password.

This makes it very difficult for someone else to use the iPhone, even if they wipe it and try to reactivate it. The device will remain locked to your Apple account.

Bypassing Activation Lock

Unfortunately, there is no easy way for the average user to bypass Activation Lock without the original owner’s Apple ID and password. Here are some things that will not work:

  • Factory resetting the device through Settings.
  • Wiping the device and restoring it through iTunes.
  • Jailbreaking the iPhone.
  • Removing the SIM card.
  • Modifying iOS system files.

Apple designed Activation Lock to be very secure. The only reliable ways to bypass it are through Apple themselves, with proof of ownership or legal authority.

Apple Support

If you obtain an iPhone that is activation locked, you can contact Apple Support for assistance. You will need to provide proof that you are the rightful owner of the device.

Valid proof includes:

  • The original purchase receipt with your name on it.
  • A document from the previous carrier showing you own the iPhone.
  • A police report stating the device was stolen from you.

Apple will unlock the iPhone from the previous owner’s account once you provide the required documentation.

However, this process can take days or weeks. Apple Support is often overloaded with these types of requests.

Legal Route

If you purchased a used iPhone through something like Craigslist, and the seller never removed their Apple ID, you may need to take legal action.

You can take the original owner to small claims court and sue for financial damages. The judge may then order the owner to remove Activation Lock so you can use the iPhone you paid for.

This is also a lengthy process and success is not guaranteed. The original owner may no longer be reachable or able to assist.

Preventing Activation Lock Issues

To avoid problems with Activation Lock when selling or giving away an iPhone, the original owner needs to correctly prepare the device beforehand:

  • Turn off Find My iPhone – This removes the device from your iCloud account.
  • Sign out of iCloud and the App Store – Confirm no personal accounts remain signed in.
  • Factory reset – Fully erase all contents and settings.

Following these steps will allow the new owner to activate and use the iPhone without any problems.

Using a Locked iPhone

If you obtain an iPhone locked with Activation Lock, there are still some things you can do:

  • Connect it to WiFi for internet access.
  • Make emergency calls on the Phone app.
  • Listen to music stored on the device.
  • Use iPhone apps that do not require an Apple ID.
  • Restore the device through iTunes in recovery mode to wipe it.

However, you will not be able to fully use and activate the iPhone unless you gain access to the previous owner’s Apple account.

Forgotten Apple ID

In some cases, the original owner may have forgotten the Apple ID they used to activate the iPhone. This can occur:

  • If the owner had an old Apple ID they no longer remember.
  • With company-owned devices set up with a generic Apple ID.
  • If the owner passed away and family members do not know the Apple ID.

If you are the rightful owner and have simply forgotten your Apple ID, you can use Apple’s account recovery options to regain access:

  • Reset your password if you remember the email address used.
  • Answer security questions to prove your identity.
  • Use trusted phone numbers and devices to receive verification codes.
  • Have Apple send an account recovery key to a trusted device.

This will allow you to sign in to your Apple account and remove Activation Lock from your iPhone.

Professional Unlocking Services

There are companies that offer professional iOS unlocking services for iPhones. They use proprietary software and techniques to bypass Activation Lock.

However, this is not an authorized or recommended method. It violates Apple’s terms of service and warranty. There are also many scam services that take your money without delivering on promised results.

Check IMEI Before Buying Used

When purchasing a used iPhone from an individual seller, it is important to verify the device’s IMEI number first.

You can check it against global GSMA databases to see if the Activation Lock status has been reported as on or off. This IMEI check can help you avoid buying an iPhone that ends up being permanently locked.

Some places to check the IMEI number include:

  • GSMA Central Registry –
  • Carrier databases – Contact or visit your carrier’s site.
  • IMEI tracking sites – or

Looking up the status beforehand provides protection if the seller fails to mention an existing activation lock.


Activation Lock is an important iPhone security feature, but it can cause problems if you obtain a device still linked to the previous owner’s account. There is no easy way to bypass Activation Lock without the original user’s credentials. Contacting Apple Support with proof of ownership or taking legal action are the only effective solutions. To avoid issues, check the IMEI number before purchasing a used iPhone. With proper diligence, you can avoid the hassle of an activation locked device.