The owner of the business sold the business including the work mobile which has all client numbers, texts and WhatsApp communications. He did not give us the appleid or password nor do we have access to the email it was registered with and he is not in communication with us. Obviously, we can continue to use the phone but now cannot update any apps like WhatsApp so cannot now use the app.

The data is still relevant to us and we are the owners of the data.

Can we change the appleid, or do something else to allow us to update apps without losing all the data? I hope someone can suggest something. Many thanks

  • An iPhone 5 will get outdated pretty soon, wouldn't it be easier to get a new phone and transfer the contact data? – nohillside Apr 19 '19 at 9:04

Not only does the data, but all the apps & the device itself still belong to the original Apple ID.
Apple's policy isn't that anything belongs to the human holding the device, it belongs to the owner of the ID.

Without that ID/password & no way to obtain it or contact the previous owner, yet with access to the phone itself & presumably its passcode, the only option will be to transfer what data you can off it, then throw the phone away.

There are methods to gain full access to the device itself if you can prove ownership - see How can I bypass Activation Lock? - but none of these will gain you access to the existing data, merely allow you to re-purpose the phone under new credentials.

EaseUS web site has How to Transfer Contacts from iPhone to Android in 4 Easy Ways. They are, of course, trying to persuade you in the end to consider their own software, though they show a method to transfer contact data to Google, which will then give you access to the contacts as .vcf files.

I'm not certain that you can really get right through any of those methods without at some point needing the Apple ID & password.
If you hit that at any point, then your method will be reduced to typing it out by hand into another computer.

For WhatsApp, I don't know of any method that doesn't involve paid [& often quite dodgily-marketed] software, which I've never tried [& am never likely to.] You'd have to do some further research... & caveat emptor, read reviews on sites not connected to any of the software makers.


It sounds like you do have the passcode, so you can probably use iMazing to transfer all the contacts, WhatsApp messages, etc., and most other data to a computer. The software is expensive but worth it.

Depending on the iCloud configuration, you could then set reset the iPhone (again, assuming you have the passcode, and there's not an activation lock), then re-import (some) of the data you extracted from iMazing into a new iCloud account.

  • iExplorer is another option, which is $5 USD cheaper on the single license, but the same price on the other offered licenses. Note that I'm not affiliated with the developer of iExplorer, Macroplant LLC, just a satisfied user. – user3439894 Apr 19 '19 at 13:21

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