How to Turn off Activation Lock on a Device You Already Sold or Gave Away

Activation Lock is designed to keep your private data safe in the event that your iPhone, iPad, or other Apple device gets stolen or lost. If you’ve sold or gifted the device, however, you’ll need to remove the lock to make sure the new owner can use it.

It's important to turn off Activation Lock when you give away or sell your iPhone, iPod, or other Apple device so that the person who now owns your device can use it. Activation Lock turns on automatically when Find My is activated, so you may not even realize it's enabled, which is why many users don't realize until it's too late that they haven't disabled the lock. Don't worry: even if you have already given away or sold the device, it is still possible to turn off Activation Lock remotely. We'll show you how.

Related: What to Do If Your iPhone Is Stolen or Permanently Lost

How Do I Turn Off Activation Lock?

Activation Lock is intended to prevent other people from dishonestly using your iPhone, iPad, or other Apple device if it's ever lost or stolen. However, if you've intentionally given your device away or sold it, you'll want to remove Activation Lock so that they recipient won't have any issues. Here's how:

  1. Sign in to with your Apple ID. This can be done remotely on any browser and from any device, including non-Apple devices.
  2. Go to Find iPhone.
  3. Find the device that you are trying to remove Activation Lock from. This means you're removing it from iCloud under your Apple ID. 

    Sign into Find iPhoneSelect the device you want to remove Activation Lock from
  4. Select the device and choose Erase [Device].
  5. The device will show up again for you to confirm. Select Continue.

    Select EraseSelect continue
  6. For some devices, such as Macs, you may be asked to create a lock code for when the device is ready to be reactivated.
  7. You will be asked to leave an optional message that will be shown on the device when it is turned on.

    If prompted, enter a codeIf you'd like, enter a message for the recipient to read
  8. Choose Done in the top-right corner.
  9. Finally, Select Remove from Account.

    Choose DoneSelect remove from account

Activation Lock exists to help protect the data on your Apple device. If you sell an iPhone or another device, make sure to go through this process. The new owner will not be able to add the device to their Apple account until the Activation Lock is disabled. If you buy a used device that wasn’t properly cleared, the previous owner will have to turn off Activation Lock remotely.

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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life who lives in Hawaii. With a BA in International Relations from Anglo American University, Olena traveled the world. She has lived in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, China, and the USA. Olena won an excellence award for a controversial article, got a grant to blog from a war-zone, and published a short fictional story. She hopes to publish a full-length novel and continue writing up a storm on her blog The Travel Bug Bite! When she’s not typing or flying, she is loving on animals, crafting bizarre creations, and devouring all-you-can-eat sushi.