Used iPhone Activation: Steps & Solutions





The iPhone brings in excitement whether bought brand-new or as a used one. The features that iPhone holds are unique, consistent, and meant to ensure safety and security for their users but sometimes features that are meant to help burden us with problems!

When dealing with a used phone, one of the common problems faced is its activation. One must always check ‘activation lock status’ before buying a used iPhone to prevent future issues. The general steps to activate the old iPhone are simple if the previous owner has logged out of the iCloud account, if not then check out the steps to solve your issue. 

To activate a used iPhone, it must be free from the old device’s activation. To check this slide to unlock, and if it asks for Apple ID and Passcode instead of ‘Set up your iPhone’ then don’t accept it. This means that the phone is still linked with the previous owner’s account or the device isn’t erased. 

Ways to activate a used iPhone

Check out the steps to follow after contacting the previous owner.

If the previous owner can be contacted then ask for the – Apple ID, Password to remove the device from their account, by:

1. For iOS 10.2 and earlier versions:

Open iCloud and iTunes > Settings > Sign out > Delete from My iPhone by entering your ID.

2. For iOS 10.3 and later versions:

Open iCloud and iTunes > Settings > Sign out > Enter ID and Password > Turn off

3. To erase all contents and settings:

Settings > Reset > Type passcode (If Find My iPhone is turned on) > Erase 

Removing a device from the previous owner’s account

Another method is to ask the previous owner to remove the iPhone from their iCloud account in the phone to be used by you as the new owner. For removing a device from a previous owner’s account stick to the following steps:

  • Open > Sign in with their account linked to your iPhone > Select Find My option > All devices > Choose iPhone > Remove account
  • Once this is done successfully, your device would be free from activation lock and you can activate a used iPhone just like a new one.

Remove activation lock without previous owner 

Want to activate a used iPhone but a screen asking for ‘Apple ID’ and ‘Password’ and cannot contact the previous owner? Do not worry, here are a few suggestions for you on how to remove the activation lock without a previous owner.

There are a few methods that help us to remove activation lock without a previous owner for free of cost whereas some are paid services. However, all these methods wouldn’t be as easy as getting the information directly from the previous owner.

Tenorshare 4MeKey

This is a paid solution to jailbreak into your iPhone (from iPhone 5s to iPhone X) to bypass or overrule the locking system of the iCloud account. You can try the free trial version of Tenorshare 4MeKey but ultimately to unlock your iPhone you require the paid features.

Steps involved in jailbreaking your iPhone using this solution are:
  1. Download the software on your computer.
  2. Upon installing, it would download the ‘Apple Driver’ (if not previously present) and accept their terms and conditions.
  3. Connect your iPhone to the computer using a USB cable.
  4. Further, you can jailbreak your device (Tutorial available) and then click ‘Next’.
  5. On successful completion, the iCloud lock would be removed and you can access Appstore with your new Apple ID.

Using this you can temporarily remove the activation lock without the previous owner as the factory setting after successful lock removal will lock the device again.

Dr. Fone

This is a simple and effective solution to remove all types of iPhone lock screen, by-pass iCloud for all iOS 14 compatible or earlier versioned devices. 

  • The steps are easy to follow and it is supported in both Mac and Windows.
  • The device’s Apple ID can be unlocked such that the previously stored data is completely wiped out.
  • Successful removal of activation lock using Dr.Fone is easy and several articles and FAQs are answered on their official website.

Apple iPhone Unlock

Unlike the previously mentioned solutions, Apple iPhone Unlock is a service provider who can unlock your devices in a short period of 24 hours itself. 

  • It asks for a few details about your iPhone like IMEI number, your country, network provider, etc.
  • The steps involved to use this service are:
    1. Open Apple iPhone Unlock page.
    2. Fill in the details as asked in the respective dialog boxes.
    3. Select – iCloud Unlock.
    4. After accepting their terms and conditions, you can choose the mode of payment and finish the process.
    5. There is a ‘Fastrack’ option available for quicker completion of work.

The most likeable feature is that you can have your device to yourself during the entire process while several Apple product experts would be working on removing the activation lock!

Some similar solutions are listed below:
  • ApowerUnlock (Unlocks screen lock without passcode)
  • iMyFone iBypasser (Remove iCloud Activation code)

Apart from the assured paid services or software as mentioned above, there are a few other methods by which you can bypass the activation lock of the iPhone without the previous owner, for free!


It is a technical method of by-passing the activation lock which involves changing the DNS (Domain Name System) settings of your Wi-Fi network. In this, the activation path is changed and the authentication is sent from the original Apple server to the iCloud bypass DNS server.

The steps involved in this process are
  • Ensure that your device consists of a SIM card.
  • Factory reset the device and begin iOS set up.
  • On reaching the Wi-Fi settings page, instead of connecting to any network click on ‘i’ option in the corner to open Wi-Fi network settings.
  • Select – Configure DNS option > Manual.
  • For DNS addresses use the IP addresses from the list based on your country:
  1. Europe:
  2. North America:
  3. South America:
  4. Asia:
  5. Australia:
  • Connect to the Wi-Fi network with your device. Instead of directly connecting to the Apple server, go back and unlock the features you want and proceed.

Note: This method neither assures unlocking for every device and applies to iOS 8 to 10 only.

Other free techniques include

  • Asking help to Apple, with proper documents which prove you to be the owner.
  • Replacing the hardware to bypass activation lock by attaching a new motherboard (This method is not recommended for all as it involves technical knowledge requirements).

Hope this article was useful to understand the various methods used to activate a used iPhone even at a time of crisis where you have to deal with a locked iPhone and no credentials from the previous owner!

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