Activation Lock prevents anyone who illegally acquires your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Watch from making it their own. Even after a device is wiped, Activation Lock requires the person setting up the device to enter the password for the associated Apple ID that enabled Find My.
However, when you were planning to sell or give away a device, or you bought or received one that you were entitled to, it can be quite frustrating. There’s an easy fix, as long as the hardware owner keeps access to their Apple ID account — and if you’re not, whether you can reach them.
Apple lets you disable Activation Lock via Find My via the iOS/iPadOS and macOS app or via Find My iPhone on iCloud.com. (It’s Find My Device, really, but labeled “iPhone” on the site.) It’s an indirect operation: you won’t find a label that says Disable Activation Lock. Instead, select your device and set it to wipe.
In iOS/iPad in the Find My app:
Select your device in the Devices list.
Tap Delete this device.
On the Wipe device screen, tap Get on.
Skip entering your phone number as this is not part of a process to return your device to you.
Tap To clear and confirm.
In macOS in the Find My app:
Control-click or right-click your device in the Devices list left.
To elect Delete this device.
Click Get on.
Skip entering your phone number.
Click To clear and confirm.
To use iCloud.com:
Go to the Find My iPhone page.
Enter your iCloud.com password when prompted.
Choose your device from the All devices menu in the top center of the page.
In the device information window that appears, click Clear Device.
Confirm by clicking To clear.
Once you’ve chosen to wipe a device, the next time it has an internet connection, the device will receive the command and wipe itself. You will receive a notification. To remove Activation Lock, go back to a Find My app or iCloud.com and remove the device from your Apple ID linked hardware:
iOS/iPadOS: Go to Settings > Account name > Device name and tap Remove from account.
In macOS Mojave and earlier: Go to System Preferences > iCloud > Devicesselect the device and click Remove from account.
In macOS Catalina via Monterey: Go to System Preferences > Apple IDselect the device in the left list and click Remove from account.
In the upcoming macOS Ventura: Go to System settings > Account nameselect your device in the panel under the Devices label and click Remove from account.
On the Apple ID site: Go to the Apple ID site, click Login and authenticate, click on the Devices link in the left list, select your device and click ‘Remove from account’.
Follow the confirmation prompts to complete the removal of your device. Only then is the activation lock disabled.
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