How to unlock an iOS device when you’ve forgotten your password or changed your account

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Apple’s use of an Apple ID on iPads is something Apple does
towards keeping your device secure. But it can also be
problematic, especially if you have multiple Apple IDs and
can’t remember the user names or passwords for them all.

Macworld reader Mae ran into an Apple ID problem when using her
iPad. An Activation Lock suddenly appeared on screen.

Now I am not sure on what Apple ID I used to set up the iPad.
I also forgot its password, because I’m using a different
Apple ID. The message that appears is “This iPad is linked to
an Apple ID. Enter the Apple ID and password that were used
to set up this iPad,” followed by the email address.

I have a variety of bad news:

  • Activation Lock only appears if someone erased an iOS
    device.
  • Without the password to that account, the iPad will be
    unusable forever. That’s the point of Activation Lock.

However, as long as you still have access to either the email
address associated with that Apple ID or any trusted device
associated with that account, you should be able to reset the
password and log in: follow Apple’s instructions.

ios11 find my iphone ipad watch activiation lock heroApple

Activation Lock protects your device after its been erased. But
you might be locked out forever if you lose access to your
Apple ID-associated email accounts.

As to why the iPad was erased? There’s apparently a wave of
blackmail going around that involves using weak passwords
revealed in password database cracks elsewhere. Many people
employ short and easily guessed or cracked passwords, and use
them at multiple sites. I’ve heard wind that some people’s Macs
are being locked with a messages to pay a fee to obtain the
unlock code.

With iOS, you can’t lock a device in such a way that it’s owner
can’t unlock it with the device password. But you can erase it,
which seems like vandalism instead of blackmail.

If your Apple ID or iCloud password is only eight characters or
so long or is very simple (like a word and one piece of
punctuation), I recommend picking a better one immediately,
even if you don’t know that your account information might have
been revealed in the breach of another site.

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