How to bypass Activation Lock on iPhone iPad

8 min read

If someone besides you gets hold of your device, the Activation Lock iPad and iPhone have built in ensure your hardware is useless to whomever has it.

A positive side effect is this has helped to curb theft of iOS and iPadOS devices. The iPad Activation Lock is especially useful as more people are using their tablets as computers and housing more data on devices and in the cloud. 

Still, there are times you may want to know how to get around Activation Lock on iPad and how to get past Activation Lock on iPhone. Maybe you forgot your Activation Lock credentials, or the screen is not responsive. Most often, a phone is sold or gifted, but the original owner forgets to disassociate it from their iCloud account. Whatever your needs may be, we’ll walk you through how to bypass Activation Lock on iPad and iPhone, as well as mention how to do it on Mac and Apple Watch.  

What is Activation Lock?

Plainly put, Activation Lock is a feature Apple designed to lock a device in the event it’s lost or stolen. With Activation Lock enabled, you can lock a device remotely via iCloud.

Activation Lock keeps iPads and iPhones secure, and tracks your device to help improve your chances of recovering it. If someone has your device and it registers on a known WiFi network, Apple can track its whereabouts. 

In the most drastic scenarios, Activation Lock allows you to erase all data remotely, all but guaranteeing whoever has your iPhone or iPad will never see your pictures, read your messages, or see any documents you have saved to iCloud. 

Activation lock is also available on the Apple Watch (watchOS 2 or later) and Mac (T2 security chip devices only).

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

For an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch Activation Lock bypass, you’ll need a few important bits of data:

  • The user’s Apple ID email and password. If you want to know how to bypass Activation Lock on iPhone or iPad, it’s often as simple as logging into the device. That said, you have to have the credentials of the person whom the device is registered to. 
  • The user’s four- or six-digit lock screen code. If a device isn’t erased, you may see the passcode screen, rather than the Activation Lock screen.

iphone activation lock

Here’s how to bypass Activation Lock on iPad, iPhone, Mac, or Apple Watch:  

  1. Turn on your device
  2. Follow the on-screen prompts to set up the device (language selection, WiFi network, etc.)
  3. When you see the “Sign In with Apple ID” screen, enter the owner’s credentials
  4. With the correct details provided, the setup process can continue.  

Alternatively, if you see the passcode screen, you can type the passcode and set up the device without using Apple ID.  

With the device fully set up, access your device’s Settings and sign out of the current iCloud account. You can now create another account and log into it.  

Bypass the Activation Lock via iCloud

iPhone or iPad Activation Lock removal can also be done via iCloud. This is handy when the owner of an iPhone isn’t with you and can’t log into their own iCloud account. You’ll still need their Apple ID credentials, and they may need to verify the account activity via a separate device, but iCloud is a great option for remotely removing a device from a user’s Apple ID account. Here’s how to get Activation Lock off iPhone or iPad using iCloud: 

  1. Visit using any browser
  2. Sign in with the owner’s Apple ID credentials (Note: At this point, the user may need to verify your login is legitimate via an iPhone or iPad associated with their account)
  3. Select the “Find iPhone” icon (Note: This is the “Find My” service; Apple hasn’t updated the name on, but it works for all Apple devices)
  4. On the map, select the blue dot associated with the iPhone or iPad you need to log into
  5. Select “Erase [device]”
  6. Choose “Remove from account.”

icloud activation ipad

If you’re the owner of the device you’re selling or giving away, there may be precious documents stored on the device you would no longer have access to once it’s erased. Important data and captured memories – lost forever. Instead of relying on iCloud to back your info up, choose Dropshare


Dropshare for iOS is a quick and simple file sharing tool that connects to popular cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box. Dropshare also has its own cloud service if you’d rather not link it to the third-party ones. 

With Dropshare on your iPhone, uploading photos and files is a snap. Simply open the app, select the “plus” icon at the bottom of the screen, select the file you want to upload to the cloud via Dropshare, and select “Upload.” It’s really that simple! The Dropshare app even lets you access the last picture taken, or the camera directly, for even faster uploading and sharing of images. 

Bypass iCloud Activation Lock on iPhone/iPad via DNS

This method is quite tricky, but not difficult. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. On setup of the device, choose the country you’re in
  2. On the WiFi selection screen, tap the “i” 
  3. Select “More WiFi Settings” (Note: You can’t be connected to the internet while performing these steps, and the device’s SIM card must be installed.)
  4. Select the “i” option again
  5. Enter one of the following IP addresses under the “DNS” section:

North America:



South America:


  1. Select the ‘back’ option on the top left of the screen
  2. Choose your WiFi network from the available options
  3. Enter your WiFi password
  4. On the next screen, select “Back.” 

The next screen that appears is the iCloud bypass screen. 

dns server configuration

Ask Apple to bypass the Activation Lock

This one is fairly tricky, as it’s at the discretion of an Apple employee to help you bypass Activation Lock on an iPhone or iPad. For this, you’ll need the following: 

Proof of purchase. The original receipt with the date, time, serial number, and purchaser’s name is what you’re looking for. 

Proof you now own the device. An email, iMessage, or other documentation from the original owner is helpful. Similarly, if you purchased the device from an online marketplace, being able to show you purchased it legally may help your case. In either scenario, be sure you can verify the full details of the device, like its serial number.

Keep in mind all of this information can technically be spoofed, so don’t expect an Apple Store employee to help you. Even if you’re legitimately trying to get a device activated via honest means, Apple Store staff are unlikely to help you. 

Bonus tip: declutter up your iOS device

CleanMy®Phone for iOS focuses on finding duplicate and similar images on your device and in your iCloud storage to help you quickly and easily reduce the amount of storage space your unwanted images take up. Over time, you take screenshots or snap burst photos, using what you need and ignoring what’s left. CleanMy®Phone finds those unnecessary files, and offers you the ability to bulk delete them from your device. It’s the smartest app for those who need to delete tons of images before selling or gifting an iPhone.

  1. Open the app
  2. Select the category you’d like to manage (CleanMy®Phone has duplicates, videos, screenshots, blurred images, etc.)
  3. Choose the images you want to delete
  4. Tap the “delete all” button. It’s really that simple! 

Grab essential iOS apps on Setapp

Activation Lock for iOS and iPadOS is a security feature you should consider before trying to bypass. Failing too often on a single device can lock it for good, which is the worst case scenario. Your best bet is to follow the appropriate steps to remove a device from iCloud before selling or gifting it – or ensuring those steps have been done if someone is selling or giving a device to you. 

Whether you’re sending or receiving the iPhone or iPad in question, you’ll love using CleanMy®Phone and Dropshare on your devices. They keep your iCloud storage thin and file transfer a breeze. Best of all, they’re available for free during a seven-day trial of Setapp, the world’s largest and most complete suite of apps for your iOS and Mac devices. Alongside these three incredible apps, you’ll have unlimited access to the entire Setapp catalog of over 240 apps for the full week your trial runs. 


What happens when Apple bypasses the Activation Lock?

Your access to your iCloud account will be restored. If you couldn’t access it because you had forgotten or lost your credentials, you should now set up a new account and log into it. 

How to skip Activation Lock on iPad?

If your iPad wasn’t erased, you might see the passcode screen instead of the Activation Lock screen. That means, if you know the passcode, you will restore your access without going through the Activation Lock bypass flow. 

What information do I need to remove the iPad Activation Lock using Apple support?

We recommend that you collect any information that proves you’re the iPad owner. This includes receipts, device information, messages or emails that show you’re the owner, etc. Still, there’s no guarantee that Apple will help you with bypassing the Activation Lock. 

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