Can I Unlock My Apple Device from a Previous Owner’s ID?

If you are a lucky user of a used iPhone or going to buy one from a private person (not Apple), you may have problems with its activation. It is true that you won’t be able to use your device if it is still linked to a previous owner’s Apple account. We have prepared a useful guide for those who need to deal with this issue.

Things to do before you buy a used iPhone

First, make sure that you’ve checked if the Activation Lock is enabled. Remember that Find My iPhone enables it automatically. Use this website to check your device:

First of all, enter your IMEI and serial number. This is how you do it:

  • Settings > General > About (there you will find the IMEI or/and serial number of the iPhone)
  • Also, you can find this information on the rear panel
iCloud Settings

Be careful when buying a used iPhone because there are dishonest people who are trying to sell stolen devices to naive buyers. Yes, scams are everywhere so you have to be attentive, especially when someone is trying to sell you any device online. Cheaters may switch the iPhone status to off before delivery, then you confirm that the activation lock is not in use (after the deal is made). In turn, a seller changes the status back for any unknown reason. And you find yourself in a trap.

Considering this, meeting a seller in person is a better idea. In this case, you can ask them to delete the settings just in front of you. Use the following instructions to do so:

  • Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings

Make sure to proceed with setting your own personal information. It is necessary to make sure that the seller is present at that moment in case your device asks for the previous owner’s Apple ID. This will help you decide any possible problems that might occur with an account.

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These changes can be made at a distance in case your seller cannot be present. See the instructions below.

Activation lock and everything you should know about it

Activation Lock is a feature that makes it hard to use an iPhone that has been stolen. Once you start setting up your iPhone, you’ll get a message:

This iPhone is linked to an Apple ID. Enter the Apple ID and password that were used to set up this iPhone, (with login and password spaces).

In this case, you need to contact a previous user and ask for help. You won’t be able to use your device without previous owner’s assistance because Apple really cares about this nuance. You don’t have any chance even if you contact an Apple store directly – they won’t give you any information unless you are a registered iPhone owner. (Read also: Change the Root Password for MacOS Sierra)

However, even if you cannot meet a previous iPhone owner to reset the information face to face, you can ask them to do it remotely. It is simple: the previous owner has to use their Apple ID to enter their iCloud and to remove a device from the account. This will confirm that a device is no longer in their use.

  • Find the iPhone > Select the device > Remove from This Account
This is how a previous owner should remove their account

What to do if you forgot your own password or ID?

You may also need to remove Activation Lock from your iPhone if you have forgotten your account information. Use these instructions to do so:

  • Reset your ID using Apple website
  • If you cannot reset it, try calling the support team. Get ready to prove that you are an owner of the device.

So be thoughtful and attentive when buying a used iPhone and follow our advice to avoid problems.