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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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2 Answers

Officially Remove Activation Lock

There is a way to remove iCloud Activation Lock.

You will need to make an appointment at an Apple Store. Provide the Genius on hand proof of purchase (to show you're the authorized owner) and 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 remove Activation Lock.

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.... –  sam 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
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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
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protected by Community Mar 4 at 22:38

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