Contacting AppleCare to unlock work-owned iCloud-locked iPhones
I recently had a situation where I was asked to figure out a way to get a work-owned iCloud-locked phone’s activation lock removed. After doing some research, I was able to find a way to do this and was able to go from having an activation-locked iPhone to having a ready-for-activation iPhone.
If you have a work-owned iPhone that has been activation-locked with an Apple ID, it is possible to contact AppleCare and get the activation lock removed. The key is to be able to provide to Apple a clear chain of ownership of the iPhone by your company, school or institution, usually through providing an electronic copy of the invoice or other proof of purchase. If you can’t prove that your company, school or institution owns the specific iPhone in question, Apple will not unlock it.
Assuming that your work has purchased the activation-locked iPhone directly from Apple, or via a business account with one of the mobile carriers, you should be able to contact the vendor to get proof of purchase.
Here’s the procedure I used to get from an activation-locked iPhone to a ready-for-activation iPhone:
Note: Getting the lock lifted may take a few business days from the time that the request is submitted.
1. Get the IMEI of the iPhone. If possible, also get the serial number and phone number. See the link below for Apple’s KBase article on how to find this information:
2. If needed, have one of your workplace’s authorized contacts work with the vendor who sold the iPhone to your company, school or institution and get an electronic copy of the proof of purchase.
The reason to get the proof of purchase is that it will be needed to establish that your company, school or institution purchased and has ownership of the iPhone.
3. Once you have the proof of purchase available to you, verify that it has the following information:
iPhone serial number (may be the same as the IMEI)
iPhone phone number
4. With the proof of purchase readily available for reference, call the relevant AppleCare line for your company, school or institution. See the link below for AppleCare’s contact numbers.
5. If asked about the device you need support for, say “iPhone“.
6. When connected to the support rep, explain that you have an iCloud-locked phone and that you would like to submit a request to have it unlocked.
7. Tell them that you have the IMEI for the iPhone in question and provide it when asked.
8. Apple may ask you for the invoice number, serial number and/or phone number of the iPhone to help them look it up on their end and verify ownership.
9. Once the Apple rep has provisionally established that your company, school or institution has ownership of the iPhone, they will send you an email with instructions on how to contact the group that handles unlocks of iCloud-locked phones.
10. Follow the instructions in the email and make sure to provide an electronic copy of the proof of purchase.
If all goes well, Apple should unlock the activation-locked work-owned iPhone within a few business days and notify the person who submitted the request to have the lock removed.