I bought a used iPhone 5 today. When I insert a Nano SIM and try to activate it, it says the previous user has locked the phone and that I need to insert a number to get it unlocked.

I bought the phone through an online site olx.com so I am not able to get in touch with the person to get it unlocked.

I hope that the phone was not stolen and sold to me. I have the bill of the phone, the charger, and knowledge that the device is still under warranty.

Any idea on how I can gain access to the device?


1 Answer 1


Activation Lock has no documented bypass, so your primary course of action will be to file a claim with whomever received your payment to reverse the transaction if they cannot locate the person who has the lock on the device.

The Apple ID that has the lock can simply log into the web interface at iCloud and remove that device - so this is purely a contract law / human engineering issue where you will need to expend some effort to recoup your costs, get the seller (or agent that processed the funds) to reverse things.

Depending on how you paid and your local laws, a chargeback for false sale might be relatively straight forward for you.

Ideally, sellers read the first article and buyers the parts of the second that cover purchasing a used iOS 7 device. You might find something in these articles to help build your claim if needed to the bank or seller if the ad you responded to was factually incorrect, misleading or otherwise false.

  • damn :( should never buy seconds :(
    – Harsha M V
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 5:16
  • Have a look here - one of the linked questions has someone reporting that Genius Bar may assist. I think you might need an original purchase receipt, but it might be worth a try... meta.apple.stackexchange.com/questions/1943/…
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 11:53
  • is there anyway i can get in touch with the previous owner. i dont have the receipt :(
    – Harsha M V
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 18:04
  • Unlikely. What exact state is the phone - pass code lock, lost mode, erased and showing get started to activate? You can edit that into the main question where it says "please the number and get it unlocked"
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 18:27

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .