How to Unlock iCloud Locked iPhone

If your iPhone shows an Activation Lock error message, then you are going to have to learn how to unlock iCloud locked iPhone as your iPhone is locked. There are several ways to unlock your device and the following guide describes those ways for you.

Joy Taylor Last Updated: Jul. 03, 2020

If you prefer the safety and security of your data over anything else, the iPhone is a great device for you. It comes with some of the extremely secure and strong security features that it is really impossible to break into it and steal your data. Its security features are indeed effective and they do not let anyone get unauthorized access to your data.

Often when you buy a second-hand iOS device such as an iPhone or iPad, the device shows a message that it is iCloud locked. It basically means, whoever owned the device before you, need to authorize it for you to use it. They first need to remove their account completely from the device before you can link yours.

Here we would introduce a few possible methods for you to unlock your iCloud locked iPhone.

Part 1. How to Tell an iPhone is iCloud Locked iPhone

An iCloud locked iPhone is the iPhone used Activation Lock, which is a feature Apple introduced from iOS 7 to keep device and information safe. Activation Lock is included in Find My. That is, Activation Lock turns on automatically when you turn on Find My.

And if you see an onscreen message that says Activation Lock as below, the iPhone/iPad is iCloud locked after erased. So you need the original Apple ID and password to set up and unlock it.

Activation Lock

Activation Lock

And there are some reasons to tell an iPhone is iCloud locked:

So if you’re planning to buy a second-hand iPhone, make sure that Activation Lock is disabled. And if your own iPhone is iCloud locked, then you can try some possible solutions as below.

Part 2. 3 Methods to Unlock iCloud Locked iPhone

Depending on your circumstances, you need to follow one of the following methods to remove the iCloud lock from your iPhone. Regardless of what method you use, it will provide you with the same result and will unlock your device for you.

Method 1. Use Your Apple ID Credentials to Unlock iPhone

If you are the owner of the device and you see your device showing Activation Lock message, it is likely you erased your device without first signing out of Find My iPhone and iCloud on your iPhone or iPad. When that happens, your phone will not let you proceed until you enter your login details.

If you plan to use another iCloud account of yours with your device, the previous account must first be removed properly. Failing to do so will lead to Activation Lock on your device.

The following are the steps on how you can get past the iCloud lock on your iPhone and then remove your account if required.

Step 1. On the Activation Lock screen, your phone will ask you to enter your Apple ID username and password. Only upon entering the correct details will you be provided access to the device.

Unlock iCloud locked iPhone

Unlock iCloud locked iPhone

Step 2. If you have forgotten your Apple account details, you will need to reset them first before you unlock your iPhone. Resetting can be done from the official Apple website without needing an iPhone.

Step 3. Once you are past the Activation Lock screen, you can remove your account from your device. To do it, open the Settings app, tap on your name banner at the top, and select Sign Out.

Sign out of iCloud on the iPhone

Sign out of iCloud on the iPhone

Step 4. Enter your account details again to proceed with the sign out process.

Step 5. When you are signed out, you need to reset your device. Head to Settings, tap on General, tap on Reset, and select Erase All Content and Settings.

Reset the iPhone

Reset the iPhone

Step 6. You can then set up your device from scratch with a new Apple account.

Method 2. Use The Seller’s iCloud Logins to Unlock the iPhone

If you have bought your iPhone from someone and it keeps on saying Activation Lock, you are actually going to have to ask the seller to put in their login details to unlock your device. It is because, since they owned the device, only they will be able to unlock it for you. Their account is linked to your device without which your phone cannot be unlocked.

It can be done pretty easily if you the seller is around and you can ask them for their logins, or if they can enter them for you on your phone.

Step 1. When the Activation Lock screen appears, ask the seller to enter their Apple username and password. This will unlock the device.

Step 2. When the device is unlocked, you will want to remove their account from the device so that it does not ask for it the next time you erase your phone. To do it, open the Settings app, tap on your name banner at the top, select iCloud, tap on Find My iPhone, and turn the toggle for Find My iPhone to the off position.

Disable Find My iPhone

Disable Find My iPhone

Step 3. You will likely be asked to enter your seller’s iCloud logins. Enter it and continue.

Step 4. The seller now needs to log out of their iCloud account on your device. To do it, open the Settings app, tap on your name at the top, and select Sign Out.

Log out of iCloud on the iPhone

Log out of iCloud on the iPhone

Step 5. Then head to Settings > General > Reset and tap on Erase All Content and Settings to reset your device.

Reset the iPhone to the factory settings

Reset the iPhone to the factory settings

You can then link up your own Apple account with your iPhone.

Method 3. Remove iCloud Lock on Your iPhone from the iCloud Website

If you bought the phone from somewhere and you are no longer there and it is not possible to meet the seller in-person, you can still get rid of the Activation Lock from your iPhone. It can be done by using Apple’s cloud service called iCloud.

If you have ever used the service, you probably know it has a feature called Find My iPhone that lets you find and access your iPhones without actually having them with you. You can even erase your iPhone using this service no matter where your iPhone is located.

So, what you can do is you can ask the seller to remotely remove their account from your locked iPhone. Once their data is erased and the account is removed, your iPhone will no longer remain iCloud locked. You should then be able to set it up with your own iCloud account.

The following are the steps that need to be followed to do it.

Step 1. Ask the seller to head over to the iCloud website and log-in to their account if they are not already.

Step 2. Once they are logged in, they need to click on the option that says Find iPhone. It will let them remotely manage the iPhone that is currently with you.

Access Find My iPhone on iCloud

Access Find iPhone on iCloud

Step 3. Click on the All Devices option at the top and select the iPhone from the list.

Select your iPhone

Select your iPhone

Step 4. When the iPhone appears, click on the option that says Erase iPhone.

Erase the iPhone

Erase the iPhone

Step 5. Click on the Remove from Account option to remove the seller’s account from the iPhone.

That is all there is to it. Their account should be removed and you should be able to set up your own account with the device.

Bonus Tip. How to Remove Apple ID without Password using Unlocking Tool

If you want to remove iCloud directly, you can try this unlock tool – AnyUnlock. With the help of it, you can remove the iCloud account from iOS device in just a few simple clicks. Some of its main features are listed below:

Now you can follow the steps below to remove iCloud account with AnyUnlock:

Step 1: Download AnyUnlock on your computer.

Free Download

Free Download

* 100% Clean & Safe

Step 2: Launch AnyUnlock and select “Unlock Apple ID” option to get started.

Click Unlock Apple ID from the Homepage

Click Unlock Apple ID from the Homepage

Step 3: Connect your iPhone with computer via USB cable. And click Unlock Now button from the interface below.

Click Unlock Now Button

Click Unlock Now Button

Step 4: Then AnyUnlock will remove Apple ID automatically. Please do not disconnect your device until it restarts. Meanwhile, please don’t use your device or launch iTunes during removing.

AnyUnlock is Removing Apple ID

AnyUnlock is Removing Apple ID

Step 5: When the removing process is completed, you will see the interface as below.

Apple ID Removed Successfully

Apple ID Removed Successfully

After the Apple ID gets removed successfully, please DO NOT “Erase All Content and Settings” on the device or restore the device with iTunes/iCloud.

Further ReadingHow to Access and View iCloud Backups >

The Bottom Line

If your iPhone will not let you go beyond the Activation Lock screen, it is iCloud locked and you need to first remove iCloud lock from the iPhone before you can use it. As shown above, there are some possible ways that you can try, and hopefully one of them is useful for you to unlock your device.

Joy Taylor

Member of iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS & Android related issues.