Some months ago, an old friend of mine gave me an Iphone 4 that she no longer uses. I don't have much experience with Apple products, so I wasn't expecting to see that the device was locked with her iCloud account. As a way to mitigate this problem, I decided to factory reset using iTunes. But at the end, I was greeted by the activation lock.

Before continuing my question, I want to add something: I know what an activation lock is, how it works, and why it is important. I am not trying bypass it, break it, or gain any profit from this device.

What I am trying to do, and the reason I took this device, is to recycle it or reuse it somehow. After all, it is a very old device, but it was still functional.

Now, let's continue the story. The device locked, asking SIM and password. I tried to contact with my friend to ask the password, but she said she haven't used the device for years and now has no idea about her credential. Which just leaves me hopeless with this nice looking shiny brick.

Fast forward to now, this brick was sitting in one of my drawers until I recently discovered it again. As I said before, the device was working flawless, except the crack on its screen. Which leads me to wonder:

What can I do with it know? This device is now essentially an e-waste. Or is it? As I said before, I am not trying to gain any profit from this device. Can I use its parts? But a better question: Is there a way to make it got recycled? I think I heard that you can just drop it off at an Apple store. What other ways do you know I can try to recycle/reuse this old Iphone 4? As I said, I don't have much experience with Apple.

  • 1
    Sure you can recycle it, it's re-use you're having problems with.
    – JCRM
    Sep 5, 2023 at 12:55

2 Answers 2


To make the device useable again, ask your friend to reset their AppleID credentials on https://iforgot.apple.com.

If she doesn't want to do that, or doesn't remember enough details, you are left with a piece of hardware you can either bring to your local electronics recycle center or disassemble yourself. There is a secondary market for old iPhone parts, not sure how active it still is for iPhone4 models though. Depending on your technical knowledge you could also try to reuse the display in a DIY project (even though it's probably easier to use something built to work with Arduinos or Raspberrys).

  • 2
    Hmm, very interesting. Using the parts in a DIY project sounds cool. I have done bunch of disassemblies, but never really thought about using the screens. Might give it a try.
    – degD
    Sep 3, 2023 at 9:49

As you say: you can drop it off at an Apple Store. They usually ask you for an email address, to supply a receipt; but you don't have to give one.

Other than that, there will surely be local recycling facilities near you.

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