I'm getting started with iOS development and I need a test device to test my apps. I thought of buying an ipod but then I thought buying an icloud locked iphone 5s might be more convenient (affordable) as it will basically do the same thing as the ipod.

I have a question though. Can I install apps on a device locked to a specific icloud account?

  • If it's activation locked, you can't use it. iTunes can restore an OS if it's in recovery mode, but you can't tap the "trust" to allow USB connections and you can't join networks/use the multitouch until it's unlocked.
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:15
  • And what about BAD ESN if I may ask? OR it has nothing to do with icloud lock, it is an sim-lock?
    – ryanew
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:28
  • Please edit the post to explain precisely what error you are getting. You can post a screen shot or a reference to the specific lock you need to understand. Basically, are you working from a specific device or looking on how to get educated to then make a buying decision? This could be reopened with some detail to make it clear you're not running up to activation lock which is the main/primary/lowest level roadblock. Nothing else matters if you can't get past activation lock since both USB and multitouch functionality are denied to you by that one lock.
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:43
  • Hello, I am seeing some cheaper iphones that are icloud locked. That's why I am asking for this.
    – ryanew
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:48
  • They are dirt cheap for a reason. Caveat emptor.
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


A phone that is activation locked denies you all functionality around the USB port while the iOS runs as well as all functionality of the multitouch screen other than being able to connect to a network or make an emergency phone call.

You can put the device into restore mode and re-load an iOS version on iTunes if that version is currently signed by apple, but after that, you are still denied the USB and multitouch functionality needed to complete the setup assistant screens or connect the device over USB to a computer for meaningful work.

See How can I bypass Activation Lock? for details on why Activation Lock is hard to bypass.

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