Why does my iPhone say Activation Required? It started doing this out of nowhere. I try to unlock it and it goes to Activation Lock. It says "This iPhone is linked to an Apple ID. Enter the Apple ID and password that were used to set up this iPhone."

In the "Activation Help" link it goes to a page:

A password is required to activate this device because its owner has used Find My iPhone to link it to their Apple ID.

I never used Find My iPhone. I also had 2 factor authentication.

Why would my iPhone suddenly brick itself? It doesn't make any sense that an iPhone can just lock itself and render the whole phone useless!

4 Answers 4


Activation issues relating to the carrier are covered here:

This is also a distinct situation than when the device knows full well the servers are not reachable:

That being said, the device activation can also fail or hang for four reasons that are ranked in rough order of likelihood:

  1. Network you are connected to can't get to Apple's Servers
  2. Apple's servers are overloaded and you can wait 15 minutes to an hour and get activated without needing Customer Support to assist
  3. Apple's servers are up and running and your device record needs Customer Service to intercede and correct a typo or sold date
  4. Your device needs to be erased and restored

The first can usually be remedied by trying another WiFi network or making sure the network you are on isn't blocking traffic to Apple's Servers with filtering or firewall. The second item can also happen when your network is overloaded or there is general internet connection or routing issues.


Not sure that this is your issue if you have an iPhone 5, but some brand new iPhone 6S's and 7's have been exhibiting similar behaviour recently:


This message usually shows you some letters of the Apple ID that it needs the password for -- presumably they definitely don't match any email address you recognise?

Either way, if you need to enter the password for an Apple ID that isn't known to you, then I'm afraid it's likely only Apple can help you sort it out.

  • It did show my own email address with parts starred out. Stuff like this makes me want to go back to an Android!
    – Chloe
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 18:49

I have an answer, it actually took down the lock, go into your settings then go to your information, then go into icloud find the find my iphone tab, and tap on it and it'll ask if you'd like to disable it and then it'll ask for an apple id password and then it should be disabled, if for some reason your phone isn't letting you off the activation page, take your sim card out and it'll let you back into your home page and once you complete the above steps, put the sim back in. Good Luck


I had this too, still trying to figure out why, not used find my phone.

The suggested AppleID is similar although I think it might be a Gamil variant, e.g. if my email was z*****@g**.com it is shoqing z*****@g****.com

I was reluctant to enter anything into the phone in case it had been hacked, I connected the phone to iTunes but it would not let me baclup, instead it took me to a page giving a similar error (Activation Required) and asking for my AppleID and Password.

I figured was unlikely both phone and Laptop hacked so entered my credentials.

The phone unlocked and I was able to access my data and do a backup. I still do not know what kicked off this Activation Required, it said it was because someone had done find my phone but there was nothing about that when I logged into icloud via browser.

I gather that it might have been caused by a former owner of my phone with a different iCloud issuing a Find My Phone via there account..

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    – nohillside
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 17:45

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