HomeTechnologyNewsHow to factory reset an iPhone without Apple ID password

How to factory reset an iPhone without Apple ID password

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Hannah Stryker / Instructional Geek

You can reset an iPhone to factory settings using recovery mode and a Mac or Windows PC with iTunes. However, you will still need the owner’s Apple ID password to remove Activation Lock before you can use the iPhone.

When you try to reset an iPhone to factory settings, in most cases you will be prompted for an Apple ID password before the iPhone is erased. If you don’t know the password, you can try to recover it. That is how.

Why is your iPhone asking for a password?

Every time you try to erase your iPhone using Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Erase All Content and Settings, you’ll be asked for your Apple ID password to turn off Find My (and by extension, Activation Lock).

Activation Lock is a security measure put in place to prevent a stolen iPhone from being reactivated without the express consent of the previous owner. Entering your Apple ID password as part of the reset process removes the device from your account, disables the Find My service, which allows you to track lost devices, and makes it possible for a new owner to activate iPhone.

Find My iPhone enabled in iOS 16

You will need to remove Activation Lock from iPhone before you can use it. You can do this with the password, by asking the previous owner to remove the device from their account, or by proving to Apple that you own the iPhone and submitting an Activation Lock support request.

Forgot your Apple ID password? reset it before deleting

Assuming the iPhone is yours and locked to your own account, solving a password problem should be straightforward. If you don’t know your Apple ID password, you can retrieve it using iforgot.apple.com.

Set a password you know or record the password securely with a password manager. Your Apple devices may ask you for your new password after you have reset it. You can enter your new passcode the next time you try to reset your iPhone to turn off Find My (and Activation Lock).

Erase your iPhone without password on Mac or Windows

You can also reset your iPhone to factory settings without a password using a Mac or Windows PC, but this will not remove Activation Lock. This requires the use of recovery mode, a protection that allows you to update or restore the iPhone’s firmware in case something goes wrong.

Even once you’ve erased your iPhone using recovery mode, you won’t be able to use it unless you enter the password associated with the Apple ID the iPhone was locked to. When you reboot the device, you will be prompted to activate it by entering the password.

If you understand this and still want to continue, learn how to put your iPhone in recovery mode and how to restore or update the software.

If you bought or were given an iPhone that has Activation Lock turned on and you can’t use it without the passcode, you’ll need to contact the previous owner and ask them to remove the device from your account.

To do this, ask them to sign in with their Apple ID credentials at iCloud.com/find and then select the iPhone in question from the “All Devices” dropdown followed by the “Remove from Account” option.

Remove iPhone from Apple ID using iCloud Find My

Making sure Activation Lock is disabled is one of the many important things to check when buying a used iPhone.


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