Activation lock 101

Apr 6, 2021

What is it?

Activation lock is a feature designed to secure and protect your personal data if your device becomes lost or stolen. When you start the initial setup of a device, it will contact the manufacturer’s activation server to verify the device is eligible for activation. If the device previously had an iCloud account (for Apple devices) or Google account (for Android devices) signed in, then the device will not allow you to proceed past the initial setup screens – rendering the device unusable. This means that even if a device is wiped by a bad actor, it is secured via the activation lock..

The activation lock problem

Activation lock is a great anti-theft feature, however, it can end up causing unnecessary chaos, especially for companies seeking to recycle devices or reconfigure them for others to use. You might think that because your company owns the phone, you shouldn’t have to deal with the problem, but sadly, you do. Phones from departed employees will still be locked with the previous user’s specific account information. If access to the account information is not readily available, you may think you’re stuck but there is actually a way to remove the activation lock. The steps are tedious and time-consuming (taking an average of 7-14 days), but it is absolutely possible.

Note that once unlocked, the device will have to be factory reset. The data on the device cannot be recovered.

Our Tech Team at LINQ has been committed to helping ease this headache for our clients for years. Whether your company has a box full of locked phones or just one or two that need to be unlocked, we have the tools to help you eliminate this daunting task.

Although we offer these services, there’s always the option to tackle the process yourself. Here are the steps for both Android and Apple:

The process

Android process:

  1. Call the device’s carrier to acquire proof of purchase/receipt.
  2. Call the manufacturer to initiate an unlock request. They should provide you a case number.
  3. Email the proof of purchase with that case number to an address specified by the manufacturer.
  4. They will send you a shipping label to have the device physically shipped in. Turn-around time in our experience has been 2-4 weeks after the device is shipped out.
  5. They will return the device factory reset but unlocked.

Apple process:

  1. Call the device’s carrier to acquire proof of purchase/receipt
  2. Call Apple Enterprise Support (866-752-7753) to initiate an unlock request. They will send a secure web form to your email.
  3. Login with an Apple ID associated with a company email.
  4. Fill in the requested information and upload the proof of purchase. Turn-around time in our experience has been 2-5 business days.
  5. Apple will provide confirmation with instructions to factory reset the device.

If all of this seems time consuming and frustrating, you’re right, it is!

For more information about how our tech team can help ease this headache for your company, please contact [email protected].

LINQ Tech Team

Keep the carrier. Lose the headache.

Let LINQ handle all your enterprise mobile management needs so you can focus on what you do best.

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