How to secure your iPhone and iPad with Activation Lock

iPhones and iPads are stolen on a daily basis and while you can't always keep it from happening, you can make sure that a thief can't simply disable Find My iPhone leaving you without a way to track it by using Activation Lock. Not only that, it can also keep them from being able to restore your iPhone or iPad as new without your Apple ID, rendering it pretty much useless to them. Here's how:

How to enable Activation Lock on your iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 7 or higher.
  2. Tap on iCloud.
  3. Scroll down and make sure Find My iPhone is turned to On.

That's it. Find my iPhone can not be disabled without the person knowing your iCloud password. As of iOS 7, anyone who wipes an iPhone or iPad needs the Apple ID it's tied to in order to activate the device. This is why it's important to disable Find my iPhone before selling your device to someone else.

Keep in mind that for this to work you need to not only be running iOS 7 or higher, you also need to have an iCloud ID set up on your iPhone or iPad. If you aren't sure what iCloud is or how to get started with it, you can check out our guide on everything iCloud:

Once you're done, come back here and make sure you enable Find My iPhone.

See also:

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • If buying an iDevice from someone - make particular note of Ally's "See Also" link on how to un-do application lock - and make the seller demonstrate activation lock has been deactivated before you give them any money.
  • Does this also prevent someone from jailbreaking an iOS 7 devices as well?
    I think this makes a great theft deterrent; My curiosity is for those out there who'll say, "Yeah, but if I do "this hack" to your phone I can still make it mine anyways".
  • no
  • Yes. Cause you have to gain access to the phone in order to jailbreak. If the person can't gain access to your home screen they can't jailbreak it. Sent from the iMore App
  • Great guide - i still can't believe they haven't implemented a method where the device can't be powered down from the lockscreen. If I'm an iphone thief my first step is to power it down to kill the device tracking. seems like a no brainer but what do i know
  • I'd rather render it useless which is pretty much what AL does. They can't restore it and actually use it and if they are going to use it with your crap on it, they can't disable find my iPhone with AL. So what good is a powered down iPhone? Did they steal it just to look at it?
  • You always need to be able to reboot or reset in case of system crash or freeze. But totally shut down a device, if it could be done safely, a password would be nice. Sent from the iMore App
  • What version of iOS 7 is that? I don't have the vertical white lines in the green area of the on/off toggles?
  • Settings, General, accessible, on/off labels
  • Thanks for sharing! This is something everyone should be aware of.