Min menu


What is Apple's activation lock feature and how do you help secure your devices when they're lost?


If you lose your iPhone or any other Apple device, or you think it's been stolen, the first step you can take to find it is to use Apple's Find My app, which combines the built-in GPS system on your iPhone with other features provided by iCloud, where the app helps you locate your devices on the map.

Additionally, for more insurance, Apple offers a security feature within the location application features called Activation Lock that does automatically after activating the option (highlight as missing) in the location application.

Activation Lock locks your device's screen with an access code and lets you display a custom message using your phone number to help you restore it, and you can also remotely scan your device's data if needed, and your custom message will continue to be displayed even after your device data is cleared.

According to Apple: "Activation Lock helps you keep your device safe, even if it's in unsafe hands, because it increases your chances of getting it back, and if you remotely erase your device's data, the feature will continue to prevent anyone from reactivating your device without your permission."

How to activate the feature when I lose your device?

First, you have to do when you lose your device or make sure it's stolen, use the Find My app to find it, then activate the Mark As Lost option in the app, and to do so, follow the following steps:

  • Open the Find My app, or visit icloud.com/find.
  • Tap the Devices tab, and then choose your missing device.
  • Scroll down, and under the Mark As Lost (Highlight) section, choose Activate.
  • Follow the steps on the screen if you want to view your phone number on the missing device screen or if you want to enter a custom message asking who found your missing device to contact you.
  • Click on the Activate option.


While the Activation Lock feature works in the background to make it difficult for anyone to use or sell your lost phone, the message you attach or phone number to anyone who finds your device makes it clear that the device is still yours and cannot be reactivated without your password.

Note: Activation lock also works with the iPad tablet, Apple WatchOS 2 or any later version, and MacOS Catalina computers with Apple's T2 Security chip.

Activation Lock is designed to keep your device and your information safe in case your device is stolen or lost, but if you decide to sell your device, and you scan its data without first logging out of iCloud, it will still be protected by Activation Lock.

Whether you scan your device's data or purchase a device from someone else, you can turn off Activation Lock by entering the correct Apple ID and password.
Notes you should pay attention to to disable the activation lock feature in your device before selling it:

  • If you don't remember the Apple ID email, you can visit this page to learn how to recover it.
  • If you forget your Apple ID password, you can visit this page to explore how to reset it.
  • If you don't remember security questions to reset your Apple ID password, you can visit the Apple Support page to see if there are other options to recover your account.
  • Visit the official Apple Store in your area and highlight the proof of purchase of the device, it may be possible to remove the activation lock but the device data will be cleared.

For this, before purchasing an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from someone other than Apple or an Apple authorized vendor, make sure to erase your device data and remove its link to the previous owner's account.

Note: Apple offers no other method or authorizes third parties to disable the activation lock feature in its devices.