I am frequently asked about activating used iPhones — so many times, in fact, that I almost have both the question and answer memorized. The query usually goes something like this: “I bought a used iPhone, but I can’t activate it because it is still connected to the previous owner’s account. What can I do?”

Apple introduced a security measure called Activation Lock to iOS devices a few years ago. This includes iPhones, iPads and iPods, but for brevity’s sake, I’ll just use “iPhones” for the remainder of this article. Unfortunately, many people new to the Apple ecosystem aren’t familiar with Activation Lock, and learning about it is sometimes a tough lesson.

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