The activation lock on the home screen is by far Apple’s most popular and effective security feature. Known in earlier models as the Killswitch, the activation lock is a feature designed to prevent anyone from using your iPhone.
The activation lock prevents your phone from being reactivated and also allows you to remotely erase your phone in case of theft. The activation lock works by linking your Apple ID with your device and requires a password when trying to reactivate or erase your device.
While the activation lock can secure your device by protecting against unauthorized usage, it also presents challenges when transferring ownership of the device. If you’re planning to buy a used iPhone, the first thing you must verify is that the activation lock is turned off on the device. It’s easy to do this by verifying the iPhone’s IMEI number on iCloud.
Before you sell your iPhone, make sure that your data has been erased and the activation lock has been turned off. Your personal data such as contacts, calendar and documents shouldn’t be deleted while you’re signed into iCloud with your Apple ID. Doing so will result in your data getting deleted from the iCloud servers.
Follow these steps to turn off activation lock before you hand over the device to someone else:
This will turn off the Find My iPhone feature and the activation lock. Once turned off, the new owner can activate the iPhone again for normal use.
If you were using iCloud on your iPhone, the Activation Lock can be removed even if the phone is no longer with you. Here’s how:
If you’ve purchased an iPhone that still has the activation lock on, the only option is to contact the previous owner to remove the lock. It is easy if the previous owner used iCloud; you can ask them to login and remove the lock using the above steps. But if not, you’ll have to get the previous owner’s Apple ID and password to unlock the phone, which could be turn out to be a tricky situation.
If you’re planning to purchase a used iPhone, the best option is to look for certified phones. Purchasing a phone certified by an independent party such as PhoneCheck gives you the confidence that the device has been inspected. With PhoneCheck, you can review multiple phone’s to see if they are functioning correctly in all aspects. You can also verify whether the phone is lost or stolen, which may be a reason for a still intact activation lock. Don’t be stuck with a phone you can’t use, look for a PhoneCheck verification when you shop for used devices!