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I recently bought a new iphone se 64gb. I turned it on, signed in to my icloud account and selected my previous iphone's backup from icloud. After this, a screen displayed a message: Setting up your apple id. The screen after this message, displayed a prompt for password of an unknown email account that I have never used or known! This prompt suggested me to :

Enter the Apple ID password for unknown_email to use for store purchases (including the App Store, Itunes Store and iBooks Store).

I clicked the back button and switched off my new iphone se. Contacted apple via email, chat and telephone and even went to an apple store. Over telephone I was suggested to setup as a new phone and then reset it completely and then try the backup option again... the problem was still there. After that I was suggested to restore it via itunes. I updated it and restored it via itunes, and still the problem remained.

I had bought this iphone via Amazon India and I tried returning this iphone via the amazon website and was told to contact the apple support number for returns.

Please could anyone recommend me what I should do?

  • 2
    You have most likely bought a stolen phone. – At0mic Aug 28 '16 at 13:10
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    When you call Amazon support - ask them to provide the original sales receipt. If you bought from Amazin they can do that. If you bought from a reseller, that will clue them in you may have a legitimate return or reseller problem for them to deal with. – bmike Aug 28 '16 at 13:42
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I remembered I had this issue when I was restoring an iPhone 5s backup to the iPhone 6 I bought at launch in 2014. I had a string of unknown email addresses pop-up asking for passwords to enable store purchases. Obviously the phone could not have been used or stolen as I received it on launch day directly from Apple.

The issue is that content originally purchased from an iTunes store was obtained from other people and on your prior device at the time of backup, such as music, eBooks or videos.

In turn, when you make a backup of your device, for purchased content iTunes/iCloud doesn't store the content directly in the backup. It simply logs (essentially) the content ID and the account used to purchase it. When you restore a backup, it prompts you to login to each account that the backup knows about so it can re-download the purchased content.

If you bypass that password screen for the unknown email, you will simply get an error message stating:

Some items could not be downloaded. If they are on your computer, you can restore them by syncing with iTunes.

After the restore is completed, sync with iTunes to add the content back directly from your computer.

The device is not stolen or compromised, nor is your Apple ID.

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Activation Lock would explain your inability to set up a phone new to you:

In it there is a section on what to do before paying for a device:

What you do depends on the serial number / lock status of your device.

What if I purchase a device that is still linked to the previous owner's account?

Contact the previous owner as soon as possible and ask them to erase the device and remove it from their account. Learn how to remove a device from a previous owner's account.

If yours is locked or the sale didn't clearly indicate you were buying a locked/disabled iPhone, save a printout of the lock status report page and contact the seller to arrange a refund of your money.


If yours is not locked then Amazon is correct. You'll need to work out your Apple ID.

Erase the device and set up as new. When you sign in to iCloud make sure you can get to the app store and download a free app with the AppleID you use. If you are part of a family plan - look that over to get a list of all the AppleID you expect to be attached to any purchases in your backup.

Then erase the phone and repeat the restore from backup. All the extra AppleID are due to downloading an app from another AppleID - either when you signed in to a second ID to download an app or synced it via iTunes or it's a family purchased app.

You'll have to either get the password or cancel the install of each app that's not tied directly to your Apple ID.

  • The icloud.com/activationlock page says that the device is not locked. It's only the appstore purchases that the prompt mentions for password, nothing else. That too after selecting the backup! Backup doesn't get downloaded to the new iphone, and this step also has a skip button, but I didn't select the skip button. The phone is working fine with a fresh setup as new iphone option, but only the backup option has this problem... – mk117 Aug 28 '16 at 13:59
  • Wow - then you do have a new iPhone with an odd situation on the App store. Amazon service was correct - this is an Apple ID / account issue and not a locked device. @mk117 Do you want to start a second question with saying that you have a device you know is not activation locked (show the link) and then we can focus that or would you like me to add a second option to this already long answer? – bmike Aug 28 '16 at 14:17
  • Could you please add a second option? Thanks! – mk117 Aug 28 '16 at 14:32
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You only get this prompt after restoring from backup? Did you ever get it (or similar) when pushing updates before? If anyone installed an app into your phone, using another Apple ID, it would want that ID before updating that app. I used to see this when my wife updated her phone, and an app I had purchased was installed (before Family Sharing, that is).

  • I've never known this person before! How could this person install an app to my iphone then? Is there any way to find how many or which appleid's are connected to an iphone device? – mk117 Aug 28 '16 at 17:48
  • This will happen for music too, not just apps. Have you possibly obtained copies of music tied to another person's Apple ID? Can happen if you have a friend who shared files, obtained in turn from someone you don't know. Delete any apps or music you know YOU didn't buy, prompt should go away. – dr.nixon Aug 29 '16 at 17:22

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