Be Sure to Turn Off ‘Find My iPhone’ Activation Lock Before Buying or Selling an iPhone

(Last Updated On: August 23, 2020)

iOS 7 is now equipped with additional security feature that prevents unauthorized activation of iPhone. This is important for you to know if you plan to buy a used iPhone.

UPDATE: If you have no way of getting the Apple ID, consider removing it here.

iPhone is a popular device and thousands of them go missing or get stolen worldwide each year. In recent times, carriers or service providers are able to blacklist iPhone’s IMEI to prevent them for being used. However, that doesn’t prevent the iPhone from being restored and used as an iPod or exported to another country. Even if the IMEI is blacklisted in USA for example, the iPhone can still be used in another country’s network as the blacklist is only localized.

Apple recently added another security feature in iOS 7 which is called the Find My iPhone’s Activation Lock. If this is enabled, the iPhone can only be activated by the original owner who has the username and password for his/her iCloud account. For example, if the iPhone is stolen, once a full iTunes restore is done, if Activation Lock is enabled, iTunes will not allow the iPhone to be activated. This means you cannot even get to the Home screen to use it as an iPod; truly making the iPhone as a “brick.” I’ve written this article when iOS 7 was just released.

There are two ways of turning on/off activation lock:

1. How to Turn On/Off Find My iPhone Activation Lock on iPhone

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone and go to the iCloud section
  • Scroll down until you see a Find My iPhone, then toggle the turn on/off button
  • When you turn it off, iOS will ask you for your iCloud password. After entering, tap “Turn Off” and you should have both Find My iPhone as well as Activation Lock turned off.
  • If you have no access to the password or forgot the password, see here.

2. How to Turn On/Off Find My iPhone Activation Lock on iCloud

  • Go to and login with your username and password.
  • Open “Find my iPhone”, and click on the “Devices” then you will find a list of all devices tied to your Apple ID.
  • Select the device which you want to enable/disable Find My iPhone, and click the ‘x’ button next to it to remove the association with your Apple ID. Click “Remove” to confirm.

Before selling or getting a used iPhone, do everyone a favor by turning this feature off. This would make sure that your buyer will not have any issue activating the iPhone later on. Trade-in shops will not accept iPhones if this feature is on. If you are buying a used iPhone, it is also important that you check with the seller that this has been switched off.

If your iPhone is stolen or missing, you might want to turn this on via iCloud as it may help you relocate your missing iPhone. This will also wreck havoc to whoever has your iPhone as he/she may not able to use your iPhone. If you’re buying a used iPhone from a third party seller, you can use this service to check whether Activation Lock is turned on or off. If you already bought it and stuck on the activation screen, you can remove the password here.

Share these tips with your friends who intend to sell or buy iPhones, I’m sure they will appreciate it.


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