Apple introduced the feature called Activation Lock integrated into the Find My app (then Find My iPhone/iPad) since iOS 7. It’s a powerful security feature intended to stop perpetrators from being able to use a stolen iOS or iPadOS device.
If the Activation Lock is enabled by turning on Find My [Device], it prevents users to restore their device or turn off Activation Lock unless they authenticate themselves with the password of the iCloud account it is linked with. In other words, Activation Lock associates the iPhone or iPad to the owner’s Apple ID.
Although this feature provides strong protection, it has been a problem for many users, especially resellers, second-hand iPhone or iPad owners, and, in general, users who have lost access to their associated iCloud accounts.
If you cannot log in to your Apple ID, you can try to reset your password by following the official Apple Support page. If that doesn’t help you, you could contact Apple Support and seek help getting back into your account. Do note that you may need to produce a valid purchase proof for the iPhone or iPad, along with its Serial Number and IMEI.
Note: If you’ve got an Activation locked iPhone or iPad from a friend, family, or a reseller, ask them to factory reset or remote erase the device and remove it from their iCloud account. Once the erase operation is completed and the device is removed from the previous Apple ID, the iPhone or iPad can be set up as new without any previous iCloud account association.
Bypass and Unlock iOS Activation Lock with third-party tools [Unofficial Method]
If you’re still stuck with an activation-locked iPhone or iPad without any access to the associated Apple ID or iCloud account, there is still a way to regain access to the iOS or iPadOS device (with some limitations) using third-party solutions. In this article, we are going to take the example of one such solution called Tenorshare 4MeKey Activation Unlocker.
4MeKey is a macOS and Windows-based utility that lets you connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer and run an automated process. Once the process completes successfully, your Activation Lock will be bypassed, and you would be able to use the device with some limited functionality.
To start the process of bypassing iCloud Activation Lock on iPhone or iPad, follow the below steps:
- Download and install 4MeKey Activation Unlocker on Mac or PC.
- Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer.
- Launch the 4MeKey app and wait for it to detect your iPhone or iPad.
- Follow the on-screen instructions in the 4MeKey app to download the jailbreak utility, jailbreak your iOS or iPadOS device, and proceed to bypass the Activation Lock.
For more detailed instructions, refer to the official 4MeKey.
Note 1: This method will work only if checkra1n can successfully jailbreak your iOS device.
Note 2: 4MeKey uses checkra1n iOS jailbreak exploit to bypass the Activation Lock on your iPhone or iPad. After running through the unlock process, your device would be jailbroken until the next restart.
Note 3: During the process, you might see a warning notifying you that attempting to jailbreak might brick your iPhone or iPad. You can ignore this warning; if you’re not able to use an iPhone or iPad because of Activation Lock and/or the Device Passcode, and unable to disable the Activation Lock, it’s essentially as good as bricked already. It’s worthwhile to risk the jailbreak to gain at least limited access to the device.
Advantages of bypassing iOS Activation Lock using 4MeKey Unlocker
Once the tool has successfully jailbroken your device and bypassed Activation Lock, here are some of the advantages:
- Download and install apps from the App Store by logging into a new Apple ID via the App Store or iTunes & App Store in Settings to download apps over Wi-Fi.
- Bypass Activation Lock without any dependency of the previous owner.
Limitations of bypassing iOS Activation Lock using 4MeKey Unlocker
Of course, bypassing the Activation Lock unofficially does not come without its shortcomings. Here are the limitations:
- It uses a jailbreak tool (checkra1n) to bypass the Activation Lock. This operation will jailbreak your iOS device until the next restart. Some users may not want to jailbreak their devices.
- Some features, including phone, messages, or iCloud linked with a new Apple ID, will not be accessible.
- The Activation Lock bypass only works for the current session; it’ll revert to the locked state on the next restart.
4MeKey Activation Unlocker uses the checkra1n iOS jailbreak exploit. Thus, it is supported on all devices that checkra1n currently supports – iPhone 5s through iPhone X; iOS 12.0 up to iOS 14.
- iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7. iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X
- iPad mini: iPad mini 2 (2013), iPad mini 3 (2014), iPad mini 4 (2015) iPad Air: iPad Air (2013), iPad Air 2 (2014) iPad Pro: 12.9-inch 1st Generation iPad Pro (2015), 12.9-inch 2nd Generation
- iPad Pro (2017), 9.7-inch iPad Pro (2016), 10.5-inch iPad Pro (2017)
iPod touch 6, iPod touch 7
Note: This list is not exhaustive. The developers of the exploit are continuously working to add new devices. Refer to 4MeKey or checkra1n websites for current device compatibility support.
On rare occasions, even if your device qualifies for checkra1n support, you might still face issues or be unsuccessful in jailbreaking your device.
4MeKey Activation Unlocker Pricing
You can download 4MeKey Activation Unlocker for free from the official website. The tool allows you to download the jailbreak utility and attempt jailbreaking your device for free. This should help you test and ensure whether you’ll be able to bypass Activation Lock on your iPhone or iPad.
The tool, however, will ask you to purchase a license to complete bypassing the Activation Lock. The full version of 4MeKey Activation Unlocker costs $39.95 per month for unlocking up to 5 iOS and iPadOS devices on 1 Mac or PC. If you want to purchase the 1-year plan, it will cost you $59.95. The lifetime plan is available for $69.95. More pricing options can be found on the official 4MeKey.
4MeKey Activation Unlocker may not be the perfect solution to bypass iOS Activation Lock, but it does manage to make an essentially bricked iPhone or iPad usable. Apart from apps and features that deal with cellular data, you can perform everything else on a device with bypassed Activation Lock. And in certain situations, you might be able to use it as a dedicated device for specific purposes like a smart home dashboard, secondary monitor, etc.