Computer, Internet, iOS, Android, Smart Phones,
Microsoft Windows, MAC, Linux Tutorials, Tips and Guides

Release iOS Device from Previous Ownership


iOS device is linked with an Apple ID. To use an iOS device you have to activate it via an Apple ID. The latest builds of iOS need Apple ID from user to associate the device with. Only the owner of iOS device can erase all the data or reset the device. If you have got an iOS device from a user, you will have to take the ownership of the device before you activate it otherwise it will be pretty much useless for you unless you have the Apple ID details from the previous owner. So, here is how to remove an iOS device from previous owner’s account.

For a brand new iOS device its pretty much simple to start with. You have to activate it via your Apple ID. If you do not have an Apple ID, you can create one via iTunes or by going to My Apple ID official page. But, not everybody gets a brand new iOS device. If you get the iOS device from a user, make sure it has been released from his ownership so that you can activate it under your Apple ID. If you are not sure about the ownership of device, following tutorial will help you replace old ownership of iOS device with your ownership.

All you have to do is: remove the device from a previous owner’s Apple ID. Before we start, let’s have a look on what previous owner can do remotely by using his iCloud account.

The owner of the device can sign into iCloud account online and can lock the device by selecting ‘Lost Mode’, erase all data and settings by selecting ‘Erase *Device (iPad or iPhone)*’, select both to lock the device and erase data or he can also remove the device from his ownership.

device lost mode or erase data

[Bigger Screenshot Below – Click to enlarge]

icloud find iOS device - options

Device Has Been Erased by Owner but Still Linked to Previous Apple ID

If the device has been erased, but is still linked to the previous owner’s account, you’ll be prompted for the previous owner’s Apple ID and password during the device setup and activation process. For example: if the iPhone has been erased, you may see one of these messages on screen.

This iPhone is currently linked to an Apple ID (*email*). Sign in with the Apple ID that was used to set up this iPhone.


This iPhone was lost and erased. Sign in with the Apple ID that was used to erase this iPhone.

activate iphone screen

Ask the previous owner to enter his Apple ID and password on the Activate iPhone screen to remove the device from his account. You can then proceed through the rest of the device setup process.

If the previous owner is not present with you, contact him and ask him to go to the iCloud online, sign into his account, go to my devices by clicking his name on top and remove the device from his account.

remove ios device from icloud

After the device is removed from the previous owner’s account, turn the device off by pressing and holding the Sleep/Wake button located on the top-right side of the device. Restart the device and proceed with device setup.

That above scenario was for the device that has been erased. Now if the device has not been erased and you have the owner of device with you. You can simply ask him to reset the device and erase all data and settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Previous owner’s Apple ID and password will by required to do that. Now you can proceed with the normal setup and activation of device by using your own Apple ID.

If the previous owner is not present and the device has not been erased, contact the owner and ask him to sign in to his iCloud account and go to ‘find my iPhone’ section. He should click ‘All Devices’ to open a list of devices linked to his account, then he will select the device to be removed. He will click the erase button to erase all content and settings from the device. He will click next to erase device. When the erase is complete, he will click ‘Remove from Account’ to remove the device from the account. After the device is erased and removed from the account, you can proceed with the device setup process.

Similar Tips

About Author

The CEO of tipsNinja at your service. I spend quite enough time with computers and smart devices. I learn everyday and I like to share what I learn. You can subscribe to updates or receive updates in your email. If you have any question, or tipsNinja could not help you in any way, please ask it in Questions/Answers section.

Leave A Reply