For years, one of the great competitive advantages Apple had in their never-ending crusade against Android was a much used but little known feature called ‘Activation Lock’. Like every great Apple feature, ‘Activation Lock’ arose out of a specific need, namely that of keeping your data safe. In a very real way, Activation Lock arose from the fact that your Apple ID — the login and password that Apple asked you to set up when you first got your iPhone — is actually being used to backup a sizable portion of your data including photos, emails, texts, and notes. Luckily for you, Activation Lock is state-of-the-art theft protection which doesn’t allow your data to fall to prying eyes.
Now, you might be thinking ‘If Activation Lock is so great, why would I ever disable it?” and normally, you’d be right — in 99% of the cases there’s no real reason to ever opt for less security. That being said, Activation Lock can cause some annoyance when you’re trying to buy or sell an iPhone/iPad. Why? Because before a new Apple ID can be associated with a device — and in order for the device itself to be activated — any account that was previously associated with said device has to be removed entirely, a process which isn’t always the best explained on the internet and which might be a just a tad frustrating for more inexperienced users.
Following Steve Jobs’ recommendation that any action have three distinct ways of being accomplished in the Apple Universe, you have three options when it comes to turning off Activation Lock. Keep reading to find which path suits your experience level the best.
How to Turn off Activation Lock with the Find My iPhone App
Before continuing, it’s important to know that Activation Lock is tightly integrated to the Find my iPhone service on your iPhone or iPad device. If you’re not sure whether or not you have this app installed, just search for ‘Find my iPhone’ within the Spotlight pane which is accessible when swiping right on your iDevice’s home screen.
Once you’ve verified whether or not you have Find my iPhone, you can get down to turning off Activation Lock. Find the Settings app on your phone/tablet and tap on it in order to open up your device’s settings. Next, find the iCloud icon and tap on it in order to reach iCloud’s main menu. Once there, tap Find My iPhone. Once you’ve done so, you’ll see an option beside the icon to either turn it on or off, you’ll want to turn it off. To do so, you’ll have to enter your password to confirm the action and once you complete that, you’ll be able to tap “off”.
Turning off Activation Lock with iCloud.Com
If your iPhone or iPad isn’t around, don’t worry, you can still turn off the Activation Lock. As long as you have internet available to you, then you’ll be able to do so. To get started, open your internet browser.
On your browser, go to http://www.icloud.com. Once the page has loaded up on your browser, you’ll be able to access Find My iPhone from the website directly, regardless of whether you’re using a Mac or PC. You’ll be asked to sign into your iCloud account with your username and password. Once you’re in your account, you may not be redirected automatically to Find My iPhone, if that’s the case then you’ll want to click on the Home menu where the Find My iPhone service is located. Once you’ve clicked on it, then you’ll be taken to the Find My iPhone screen where you’ll want to click on All Devices at the top of the screen. Choose the device you want to remove. Then click on Erase on the upper right hand corner of the screen, it’ll be underneath the picture of your device. Click Erase and then wait for a confirmation, then click Remove from Account.
Disabling Activation Lock Through Apple's Customer Service Directly
Now, if these two options don’t work, and in reality, they absolutely should, you still have one last option. You’ll have to contact Apple through their phone support line or by heading on over to your local Apple Store. If you choose the former option, make sure you bring documentation proving that it’s your device. If they believe that the device is yours, a certified Apple Specialist will be able to remove the Activation Lock for you.