I recently received a replacement iPhone 5 from my insurance provider, sealed in Apple refurbished packaging (and they maintain that the device came directly from Apple).

After doing a factory reset, I receive the following prompt containing what I presume is the previous owners email address:

Enter the Apple ID password for *************@gmail.com (inluding the App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks Store).

I can skip this, but I think it's pretty concerning that I'm seeing their info. Out of interest I performed a few more resets (including one using my MacBook) and I still see this prompt every time the phone goes through the set up process. The phone is running iOS 9.2 and Apple support state they haven't seen this before.

It's not a show stopper, but any ideas on how this can be removed?

  • Odd - if you go to settings - what version of iOS is running on the device? You might also want to tell the insurance provider to provide explicit support or replace the device if it doesn't match Apple's out of the box screen shot sequence...
    – bmike
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 15:03
  • It's running 9.2. Unfortunately my insurance provider has stated that as it's a sealed, official, Apple refurbished unit, I need to discuss this with them.
    – Jonathan
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 15:10

2 Answers 2


You might have some oddball combination of a serial number that's still enrolled in either Apple's DEP or Apple's Activation lock.

I don't know how to check DEP other than by calling Apple support and explaining your situation and asking them to explicitly check to inform you whether that device is or is not enrolled in DEP. https://www.apple.com/business/dep/ If the device was enrolled, presumably it could be pushing that user's account credentials to your device, but that's a really a remote possibility in my experience.

Some advice:

  1. It's really your insurer's responsibility to deliver you a working phone. Even if they tell you to go to Apple - do that and then go back to the insurance company and ask for a proof of purchase. Apple requires written documentation of the original purchaser to bypass activation lock. If this device is somehow still locked - you might get locked out.

  2. Keep in mind that Apple won't divulge private information about others - so be clear you are not asking them to tell you who purchased or locked or enrolled that device - just that you are uncomfortable using the device with someone else's account in it and you need their help establishing whether it's locked in Apple's records correctly or erroneously.

  3. Get everything in writing and consider writing a letter to the insurance company so you have it documented that you had this issue and tried to resolve it.

  4. Apple refurbished products come with warranty service - so you should be able to also see when that device was purchased by contacting Apple or using this web form - https://selfsolve.apple.com/agreementWarrantyDynamic.do Then ask the insurance people when they purchased it from Apple - the dates should match.

If you wanted to power off the device, you could try wiping it from iTunes or erasing all content one last time, but it seems you already did that and clearly the device is retrieving the account information from Apple's servers during the activation phase. Good Luck and please make an answer here when you figure out what happened or if this was just a bug in Apple's records that got fixed without you needing to do anything.

  • Edited you answer to remote the iCloud activation link as that feature was removed due to hackers using it to bypass activation lock. Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 22:57

Perhaps try a DFU full restore of the phone. On an iPhone 5 this should be possible by connecting it to a computer running the latest version of iTunes. If the iPhone is powered on at this point you will need to force it into recovery mode by holding down the sleep/wake/power button at the top as well as the home button on the front of the iPhone for about 5-8 seconds. Once the iPhone turns off just keep holding down the home button. On the computer running iTunes your should hopefully see a pop up window that gives you the option to Restore the phone. Click the restore option on that and all being well the iPhone should restore (reinstall and update) iOS and the device firmware to the latest builds.

Any previous accounts linked with the phone should be disassociated unless there's an iCloud activation lock. If there is one still there then contact the insurer to provide you with a replacement iPhone that is not activation locked to an iCloud account. Otherwise you should be all good if you set up as a new device or restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup file that you can verify with your own Apple ID and password.

Hope this helps.

You must log in to answer this question.

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