How to turn off Find My iPhone remotely and bypass Activation Lock

How to turn of Find My iPhone remotely and bypass Activation Lock

If you're running iOS 7 or higher on your iPhone or iPad, Find My iPhone now comes with a feature called Activation Lock that prevents someone from wiping and using your device without your authorization. While it's a great theft deterrent, it can create a problem if you sell or get rid of a device before disabling Find My iPhone First. Most commonly the problem comes up with second hand iPhones that have been bought, sold, or traded. Luckily, the previous owner can deactivate Find My iPhone remotely which should then, in turn, allow you to bypass Activation Lock.

What you need to know first

Before beginning, please note that the original owner of the device will need to know the iCloud email address and password that is currently tied to the device. Without that, there is no way to bypass Activation Lock or Find My iPhone. The original owner will need to perform the following steps, unless you know their iCloud info and can do it yourself.

How to remove a device from an iCloud account using iCloud.com

  1. Turn the iPhone or iPad in question Off or put it in airplane mode. If the device is on and Find My iPhone has an active location, it will not allow you to delete it from your account. If someone else has the device, advise them to power it down.
  2. From a desktop computer, go to www.icloud.com/#find and sign in using the iCloud ID that is currently tied to the iPhone or iPad in question.
  3. You should immediately be taken to Find My iPhone, but if you aren't, just click on Find My iPhone from the Home menu.
  4. Click on All Devices at the top of the Find My iPhone screen.
  5. Find the device in question in the list and click on it — it must show up as Offline in order for you to be able to remove it.
  6. On the info screen, click on Remove from Account.
  7. One more popup will come up asking you to confirm. Click on Remove.

That's all there is to it! The new owner should now be able to restore the device and activate it just as they could if it were a brand new device. They can then link it up to their own iCloud account.

Note: Originally published, December 2013. Updated, October 2014.

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to turn off Find My iPhone remotely and bypass Activation Lock

50 Comments

I never thought about it until you posted this, but that theft deterrent feature could make using a pre-used [iOS 7+] iPhone/iPad tough to use. Thank you for the heads up, Ally.

Allyson, good article.
Personally, before I buy an iPhone (bought three different ones via eBay), I make sure the seller erases everything first. Wouldn't that wipe out all iCloud settings?

You still need to remove the find my iPhone or they can't register the device.

Sold my old iPhone that I wiped/restored and the buyer contacted me saying they couldn't register the find my iPhone app saying it's already registered on another account.

If they didn't turn off find my iPhone prior to restoring no. You will be stuck at activation without their icloud ID

Sent from the iMore App

Hello every one ...can anyone help me out of icloud id activation?? I dnt have owners user id or password?? Plzzz some one help me!!

Even after removing iphone 5 from icloud its ask to turn off Find My Phone to restore...
i forgot my passcode..
PLZZZZ Help...!!!!!! Thanks in Advance

This is really helpful. I can only imagine the frustration of those legit buyers when they find out they can't use their phone without the original owners authorization. Thank you for sharing this information.

Sent from the iMore App

Another great article Ally, thanks!

On another note you have some really cool wallpapers, can you please share the secret of where they can be found?!!

Sent from the iMore App

Hi, I bought a pre-used 5th gen ipod touch for my son, and it is still linked to old user, I have no way of contacted who I got it from, so what can I do now??????

This is his facebook if there's anything you know to do ( I tracked him down through an invite he received as a past user through google- it was hard to find) www.facebook.com/deniz.kuelhan
I personally emailed paypal, and told them that if they collect a lot of reports on this user, they should act. You can email, and you will be one more, maybe they'll do something on his account

hi thesharing-project-elizabeth

I opened a case with pay pal and lost !!! Can't believe it they said

"We've denied your claim because you purchased a virtual, digital or
intangible item, which isn't covered by our Buyer Protection. We only cover
claims involving physical items that can be sent by post and tracked.

We encourage you to work directly with the seller to resolve the problem.
You'll find their contact details on the Transaction Details page"

I'm shocked really as he will continue scamming people he must make 1000s

I also have the same problem as u guys, bought a second hand iphone, and im stuck in the activation lock, im really frustrated by that. i cant contact the guy who sold me the phone, there is a way to unlock it????

Please help I bought an iPhone 4s and now the guy will not return emails and changed his number... I do not have any of his iCloud info so as of now I have a nice expensive paperweight is there anything we can do to get passed this..I bought it for my son with special needs to use face time cause he can't spell.... Any help would be great... I can't afford to go buy a new iPhone 4s now!!!!

hi guys
i have iphone 4, anybody can help me how to get download software (activate lock bypasser v1.0)
please help me it is very urgent

hey Apple,
would it be too much to ask for you to add a feature to the emergency call screen?
simply press "send icloud removal request to current icloud account associated with this device"
i notice you have options that allow access or not for camera when phone is locked

if you send the notice..
that would not be giving general public the email address or info of previous owner
and maintain security
while possibly adding to your bottom line

gaining consumers that cannot afford brand new device
and must buy a second hand or last generation device.

This just popped up again, so I'm replying to your comment, even though it's six months later.

Think about your suggestion from the POV of the person who had their iPhone stolen:

"I paid hundreds for an iPhone, and some ***-hat stole it. Now they're asking me to unlock it so they can use it? More harassment? Doesn't that mean they know where the thief is? I'll send the cops. Better yet, I'll go there with a group of my friends, and a baseball bat. Wait, they won't tell me where the 'person' is? Well, why in the heck would I let them use it?"

Even after removing iphone 5 from icloud its ask to turn off Find My Phone to restore...
i forgot my passcode..
PLZZZZ Help...!!!!!! Thanks in Advance

My friend gave me her iphone 4s. The phone and line have been shut off. I went to verizon but they said the phone is still active. What should i do? Help!!

Good information for people. My iPad mini 2 was stolen last year just a couple days after I bought it. I refuse to remove it from my account because I am NOT going to let the thief ever use it and hope they think twice about stealing iOS devices in the future.

If your device is stolen, I recommend you do the same so we can create a dead black market for stolen iOS devices.

Sent from the iMore App

Dont blaim you, I had the same issue when someone stole my iphone from my locker at the swimming baths but are there not ways to get around it now? check techkid's video to see what i mean https://vimeo.com/107363391 not sure if its still possible i hope not as i dont think thiefs should be able to just spend 5 minutes searching to be able to disable the icloud lock

Maybe it's me, but the title seems click-baity. Most people will read it as "omfg! I can bypass Activation Lock on the device I stole!" not "I/(the person from craigstlist) can remove the activation lock from iCloud.com if I'm/they're the original owner."