Occasionally we have employees supplied with company equipment that leave on less than favorable terms. Some of those devices the employees have locked to their own Apple accounts somehow, which leaves us unable to reset them the normal way. Is there a procedure somewhere that we can restore these to factory (I assume that it would require some kind of vetting process with Apple to confirm the iPad not stolen of course). So, what's the procedure for this type of enterprise iPad equipment recovery (if any, perhaps they're just bricks now)?


I use three avenues to prevent hurt feelings all around.

  • First the policy for employee use of equipment spells out that it's their responsibility to turn in their company equipment and assets. For iOS devices, that means that they remove iCloud activation lock and return the hardware in working order. The financial consequence of failing to do both is explained when the hardware is issued. HR can then choose to deduct that amount from any final pay check as appropriate should the employee choose not to return company property.

  • Apple is very helpful in unlocking equipment that was bought through their channel or that you have a purchase receipt with serial numbers included proving original ownership. Any genius bar or web/phone Apple epmployee can get you started with unlocking one or several devices should you have them but not control of them.

  • MDM solutions such as JAMF casper suite or Configuration profiles to enable remote wipe and/or iOS policies that prevent iCloud usage in the first place if desired and/or allow wiping them to a known original configuration.

  • We'll dig out the paperwork and contact our local Apple store. We do have an MDM solution, but apparently a couple devices (bought for early adopters) were missed. – Brian Knoblauch Oct 1 '14 at 11:13
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    @BrianKnoblauch The MDM solutions are so poor in general, I almost left them out. The locking down of iCloud has big downsides, so we rarely exercise it except for in educational and uniform imaging situations like labs or when the iPads are really interchangeable as opposed to personal and locked down. – bmike Oct 1 '14 at 13:39
  • Update: The Apple Geniuses said it's impossible to unlock the equipment, even with all our paperwork in order. So far, we've eventually (sometimes taking months) been able to get the ex-employees to supply the codes. – Brian Knoblauch Nov 9 '15 at 20:48
  • @BrianKnoblauch Bummer - Yours is the first I've heard of Apple denying an unlock to someone with (potentially) original purchase receipts showing the serial number. I'm curious, did you purchase these from Apple or a reseller and what was the deficiency in the process? The rejections I have heard of are where the serial numbers and/or identity of the original purchaser could not be documented. – bmike Nov 9 '15 at 20:51

I believe you have to contact apple and submit the device serial numbers so that apple can unlock the devices. I would start by calling applecare and i'm sure they can point you in the right direction.

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