How to Activate A Used iPhone Bound to Another Account

This guide will show you how to activate a used iPhone, including the method to activate a used iPhone bound to another account.


By Lena / Updated on June 6, 2023

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How to Activate A Used iPhone 13

Recently I have purchased a second hand iPhone 13. Now I'm stuck in activation of the phone with the message that says: The phone is linked to an Apple ID. Enter the Apple ID and password that were used to set up this iPhone. How can I activate the iPhone?

- Question from Apple Community

Are you experiencing the same problem as this user? Trying to set up a used iPhone but the Activation Lock prevents you from doing it smoothly. Don’t worry too much, this guide will tell you every detail about how to set up a used iPhone, including the method to activate a used iPhone bound to another account.

Common Steps to Activate A Used iPhone 

Here are the steps to activate a used iPhone. If you want to activate a used iPad, you can skip step 1.

Step 1. Insert the SIM card into the iPhone

  • The SIM card needs to have already been activated by the same carrier that you are going to use the phone with.
  • If you want to use the iPhone with a different carrier, you should contact the current carrier to unlock the phone. Most major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Boost Mobile offer the unlocking service.
  • If you want to activate a used iPhone on Version, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, you can go to the website of that service, sign in with your account and choose Activate Phone or something like that to make it.

SIM Card

Step 2. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up iPhone

All settings can be set later. If you want to bypass all settings, just choose Set Up Later in Settings option.

  • Choose your language and your location.
  • Select Set Up Manually and choose to use Cellular or Wi-Fi
  • Set up Apple ID or Touch ID.
  • On the Apps & Data screen, choose to transfer data from an iPhone or Android. Or choose Don't Transfer Apps & Data to continue.
  • Enter the Apple ID and passcode or create a new one.
  • Set up Siri, Screen Time, display options, etc.
  • Tap Get Started and that’s it.

How to Activate A Used iPhone Bound to Another Account

Activating a used iPhone is not complicated, as long as it has been reset and is not connected to the previous owner's account. However, what if the iPhone is not completely reset? Read to see how to activate a used iPhone bound to another account.

Way 1. Contact the Previous Owner or Seller

The Activation Lock is an anti-theft feature of the Find My iPhone service. It helps protect information when the iPhone is lost. Data on the iPhone cannot be accessed unless the original Apple ID is entered.

When the previous owner forgets to delete the device from iCloud, you will see an activation lock screen that asks you to enter your Apple ID and password. You can contact the seller or previous owner to unlock the iPhone.

If you are not far away, you can let him/her personally enter the Apple ID and password on the iPhone to unlock the device.

Or you can ask the previous owner to change the Apple ID password to a temporary one and share it with you so you can log in and turn off the lock.

→ If the previous owner can’t access the iPhone or isn’t willing to share her/his information, you can ask her/him to remove the device from

1. Open a browser and go to

2. Sign in with the Apple ID and password.

3. Select All Devices and select the iPhone.

4. Choose Erase iPhone option > Click Erase to confirm.

5. Then select Remove from Account to delete iPhone from that iCloud.

Remove from Account

With that done, you can restore the iPhone and continue with the activation process.

 Way 2. Contact Apple to Unlock iPhone

Chances are that you can’t contact the previous owner or she/him has forgotten the Apple ID, in these cases, how to activate used iPhone without Apple ID and password? You can ask the previous owner to find the Apple ID or ask Apple to remove the lock from iPhone.

Prepare something that can prove that you are the legal owner of the device, a purchase record, a receipt, or an email from the previous owner, then go to Apple Support page to send an email or make a phone call and explain the situation.

Contact Apple Support

Bonus Tip: Get An Professional Tool to Manage Your iPhone Data

Once the iPhone has been successfully activated, you can start transferring the data you need to it. If you prefer an easy way to transfer photos, videos, songs, contacts, etc., you can use FoneTool. It is one professional iOS data manager for Windows PCs, which supports data transfer between iPhone and computer, between iPhone and another iPhone/iPad.

You can rely on the PC to iPhone function to add needed data to iPhone. If you want to transfer data from Android to iPhone, you can first export Android data to computer and then transfer them to iPhone.

Transfer to iPhone

In addition, you can let the iPhone to PC feature transfer data from iPhone to computer without effort.

For more features, you can click the download button to get FoneTool and explore more by yourself.

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Final Words

That’s all about how to activate a used iPhone. If the iPhone has not been deleted from the previous account, you may need to contact the previous owner or ask Apple to remove the Activation Lock.

For more queries, feedback, or suggestions, please feel free to contact us.

Lena · Editor
Lena is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She takes most of time with her family when she is not working.