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I bought a used iPhone 4. The previous owner re-set the phone, but did not remove the device from their iCloud. It is asking me for their iCloud information when I try to set-up the phone. I don't have contact with the previous owner anymore. Is there a way to remove the device from their iCloud so I can use a new one?

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3 Answers 3

Officially Remove Activation Lock

There is only one, true way to remove iCloud Activation Lock: You will need to make an appointment at an Apple Store and provide the Genius on-hand proof of purchase (to show you're the authorized owner) along with proof of identity and they will reset Activation Lock, giving you access to the device.

If you bought it second hand, then you will need the seller, in person with you when you take it to Apple. The seller will need to show proof of purchase, etc. They will then transfer the device to your account or simply disable Activation Lock.

If you're purchasing a second hand iPhone, visit https://www.icloud.com/activationlock/ to check the status of the device.

A Dead End

What you can't (and never will) do is bypass it yourself or through some online service advertising it can. The device's identifier is seared into Apple's servers. They will, effectively, chase that iPod or iPhone till the end of time. Someone may be able to bypass it once, but once Apple's servers see it pop up on their grid, it's going to get bricked again.

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maybe it'll get bricked again... but a lot of people have purchased phones second hand in a legal manner only to find this horrible activation..i don't think they'll ever purchase an iphone ever again..and if iphone users can't sell their phones on when they upgrade, I think it's only a matter of time before android REALLY dominate the market.... –  user72071 Mar 4 at 22:02
@sam What if by cutting off the value of stolen phones, the value of legitimate used devices goes up as supply drops? Also, when "buying speakers from guys in a white van" some of the responsibility is on the buyer's shoulder, don't you agree? –  bmike Mar 4 at 23:00

You can't.

The very nature of Activation Lock is that it is impassible so that the device can still be tracked by the owner if it is lost/stolen. You can't bypass it — the only way to remove it is by deleting the device from Find my iPhone on iCloud.com or logging in using the Apple ID that was used to set up Find my iPhone.

You can read more about bypassing (or not) Activation Lock in the following question:

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I'm interested in your thoughts on meta: meta.apple.stackexchange.com/questions/1943/… I think this might be one of the ones we should keep open and close others against. Your flag on another question might need to be revisited as I dismissed it and have second thoughts now. –  bmike Feb 11 at 19:24

You cannot do anything technically to get past it. Your only method is to get back to the seller. If they have disappeared, then perhaps you might want to entertain the possibility that you have been sold a stolen iPad

In this instance, then rather than have a very expensive paperweight, you might want to report it to the Police. There is a slim chance that it has been reported as stolen, and they may be able to reunite it with it's true owner, in which case there is also a chance that they may reward you in some way to make up for your loss, or (perfect scenario) they will have already replaced it on insurance, and will simply unlock it for you and let you keep it.

To confirm, there is only a human solution to this problem, by getting the owner of the registered Apple ID to unlock it.

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