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?
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.
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:
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.
protected by Community♦ Mar 4 at 22:38
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