How to Activate iPhone Without Apple ID (Full Guide)

by J. Robertson Macaulay D. Young iCloud Published On Jan 31, 2022 Updated On Aug 25, 2022
Table of Content

To activate your iPhone and start using its many features and data, you need to provide the device’s Apple ID and password.

Your Apple ID is also necessary when you need to access other features including Find my iPhone and iCloud Backups.

You may however find yourself in a situation where you’ve purchased a second-hand iPhone that is still linked to the previous owner’s Apple ID.

In this case, you may find it very hard to activate the iPhone. The following are just some of the steps you can take when you don’t know the Apple ID.

If It is Linked to Another Apple ID

If the iPhone you are trying to activate is connected to another Apple ID that you don’t know, your best options include the following:

Ask Previous Owner for Help

If you can contact the previous owner of the device, you can ask them to remove the device from the Apple ID using iCloud.

They can do that physically on the device or if they are not close to you, you can ask them to do that remotely using these steps:

Step 1: Go to and sign with the Apple ID and password connected to the device you want to unlock.

Step 2: Click on “Find My iPhone” and then select the iPhone under “All Devices.”

Step 3: Click on “Remove from Account” and if the device is not erased, “Erase iPhone.”

Once the device is removed from their iCloud account you shouldn’t see the iCloud Activation Lock Screen and you can easily activate it.

remove the device from the Apple ID using iCloud

Use iCloud Activation Lock Removal Tool

Unlockit is a program that you can use to activate any iPhone even if you don’t have the Apple ID and password associated with it.

It is the best solution if you purchased a second-hand iPhone and you have no way of contacting the previous owner for assistance.

The following are its main features:

  • It can remove iCloud Activation Lock on any iPhone in just a few simple steps even if you don’t have the Apple ID or password.
  • With the device unlocked, the old Apple ID cannot be used to track or erase the device.
  • It removes the Apple ID, allowing you to use your own.
  • It is also the best way to remove different types of passcodes from the device including 6-digit passcode, 4-digit passcode, Touch ID, and Face ID

Unlockit is also very easy to use. You don’t need any technical skills: just follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Install Unlockit on your computer and then open it.

Step 2: Choose “Remove iCloud Activation Lock” in the main window and then click “Start.” Connect the iPhone to the computer.

Step 3: The program will then jailbreak the device. All you have to do is click “Jailbreak” and put the device in DFU mode to start the jailbreaking process.

Step 4: When the jailbreak process is successful, click “Remove” to start unlocking the device.

In a few minutes, Unlockit will remove iCloud Activation Lock, allowing you to activate and use the device.

Bypass via DNS

Another way that you can unlock your device is to use the DNS bypass method.

This method will however only work for you if your device is running iOS 8 to iOS 10 and it will unlock a few limited features.

It is also a temporary solution as sometimes the activation screen may reappear.

Here’s how to use it:

Step 1: Set up your device as new. Choose the country and language.

Step 2: Once on the Wi-Fi screen, tap on the “I” next to the Wi-Fi network that you would like to connect to.

Step 3: Select “Configure DNS” and then select “Manual” at the top of the screen. Enter one of the following DNS servers depending on your region:

  • North America –
  • Australia and Oceania –
  • Europe –
  • Asia –
  • South America –

If It’s Your Own Phone

If the phone you are trying to activate is your own, the following are your options:

Find Your Apple ID

If you have simply forgotten the Apple ID associated with the device you are trying to activate, you can find it using these steps:

Step 1: Go to on any browser.

Forgot Apple ID or password

Step 2: Click on “Forgot Apple ID or password” and then select “look it up.”

Step 3: Enter the information requested on the next page and Apple will send you an email with a link to recover the Apple ID.

Step 4: Open the email and click on the link to find the Apple ID.

look it up

Ask Apple Store for Help

If everything you try doesn’t work, you can ask Apple for help removing an Apple ID from the device.

But Apple will only be able to help you if you can provide them with proof that you are the owner of the device.

This can be a receipt of purchase. They may also request additional information to prove you own the device before they can help you activate it.

If It’s a New iPhone

Although it is often a good idea to set up a new iPhone with an Apple ID, you can still complete the setup process without using an Apple ID.

Here’s how to activate a new device without an Apple ID:

Step 1: Turn on the device for the first time. You will see the setup screen. Choose your region and preferred language.

Step 2: Tap “Set up Manually” and connect to a Wi-Fi network. You can skip this step and use data if you have a SIM card plan.

Step 3: Set up the screen lock security you will be using. It can be Face ID, Touch ID, passcode, or PIN. You can also skip this step by tapping “Set up Later.”

Step 4: When asked to restore your data, choose “Set up as New Phone” unless you have data from an old device.

Step 5: You will then be prompted to sign in with an Apple ID. If you don’t want to use an Apple ID to activate the device, click “Forgot Password or Don’t Have an Apple ID?”

Step 6: Tap “Set up Later in Settings” to finish setting up the iPhone without the Apple ID.

Wrap Up

An Apple ID is an important part of any iOS device as it allows you to adequately protect the data and device on it.

But this doesn’t mean that you need to be locked out of your device just because you don’t know the Apple ID.

Depending on your situation, you can use one of the solutions above to activate the device even if you don’t know or have an Apple ID.

If you don’t know the Apple ID associated with a second-hand device and you’re unable to reach the previous owner, your best option is Unlockit.

J. Robertson Macaulay D. Young

Mako is a technical freelance writer with a passion for all things tech. Whether you're wondering about how to fix your iPhone or trying to get something to work in your settings, Mako is your go-to for professional help. He loves writing, testing solutions, and most of all, making sure his research is factually accurate.

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