In Short: The only way to unlock your iCloud account is to have an industry insider reset your iCloud lock status in their computer systems. Unless you know someone on the inside, you will need to pay a third-party provider to do this.
After more than 45 hours research scouring through a dozen high-authority review sites and testing 3 providers, I can confidently say that the best iCloud unlock provider is Apple iPhone Unlock.
My Pick: Apple iPhone Unlock
Positives: Only 100% successful unlock provider, great pricing, fast
Negatives: Website is a little difficult to navigate
Apple iPhone Unlock is the only iCloud unlock service I recommend because they’re the only company that actually unlocked all four iCloud accounts we paid for! Shocking, I know…
Whilst that would be enough to put them in the #1 spot, when you add in the fact that they’re also the cheapest AND the fastest of all providers, then they’re definitely my #1 choice.
The only negative to their service was that their website was a little clunky to access, but it’s only a slight negative when you consider they were the only company to deliver 100% on their promise.
If you need to unlock your iCloud account, go to Apple iPhone Unlock.
Runner-Up: IMEI Doctor
Positives: Solid customer service and 75% success rate
Negatives: 75% success rate
If for some reason, you can’t access Apple iPhone Unlock, the only other service I would consider using is IMEI Doctor. Whilst they weren’t successful all four iCloud accounts, three out of four isn’t bad, especially when they very quickly refunded our payment for the fourth device.
This wasn’t surprising as their customer service was responsive, helpful, and polite throughout every conversation we had (even when I intentionally asked dumb questions to see how nice they really were).
If you can’t access Apple iPhone Unlock, you can check out IMEI Doctor here.
- Why you should trust me
- Why this is necessary
- Who should do this
- How I picked
- How I tested
- My Pick
- The Competition
Why You Should Trust Me
I spent 8 years sitting behind the desk of my smartphone repair store helping people with all kinds of iPhone issues. iCloud account locking wasn’t a ‘thing’ back then, but even though I sold that business, I’m still the person my friends turn to whenever they have an issue with their iPhone. This keeps me well versed with all iPhone issues and has resulted in me removing more than two dozen iCloud locks.
To make sure that I kept my test results as unbiased as possible, I’ve recruited the new owner of my former business and 3 other owners of smartphone repair shops to advise on their experiences and strategies for removing Apple iCloud passwords.
Why This is Necessary
At the start of 2014, Apple added a slight wrinkle to their iPhone activation process – a tricky little safety feature called an iCloud activation lock (or just iCloud lock).
This little pain-in-the-behind allowed users to lock their iPhone remotely using their iCloud account details and was designed to provide an additional layer of safety and security to their beloved and adoring fans.
In reality, what it really did was create a massive headache for roughly 3% of users who buy their iPhones secondhand.
Instead of being able to get your ‘new’ iPhone, slip your sim card in, and start your new life, you now need ensure that the original owner has removed their iCloud account password from the iPhone because if they haven’t, your ‘new’ iPhone is nothing more than an expensive paperweight – locked to their account and forever in their control.
Who Should Do this
Unlocking your iCloud account is for anyone who has an iPhone that is locked to an iCloud account. Pretty simple, eh? 🙂
There are a number of ways this could happen with the most common one being buying a second-hand iPhone from eBay or some other service only to find that it’s locked to an iCloud account and have the former owner demand money to unlock it.
There are other more sinister situations where this can be necessary but I’m going to assume you’re a fine, upstanding citizen of this great country.
How I Picked
Picking the winner started with an easy one: did they actually unlock all iCloud accounts and remove the old owners password? Given that only one company did this, it wasn’t exactly a tough test. Others came close, but really, close enough isn’t good enough when it comes to being able to use your iPhone!
If there was more than one winner, I would have used these criteria:
- Success – was the unlock successful?
- Price – how much did the unlock cost?
- Speed – how long did the unlock take?
- Support – did anyone answer my questions?
- Ease – how easy was the process?
But I didn’t need to. I just needed to look at the success rate and the winner was clear.
How I Tested The Services
The testing process involved three stages:
Stage 1: Eliminate unreliable solutions
There are a number of potential ways to unlock iCloud accounts listed on various websites that claim you can do it without having access to the Apple database.
I tested all these methods and consulted with the owners of the smartphone repair shops who’re helping with this review and they all confirmed that these are not only completely ineffective, they can actually damage your iPhone.
They’ve had to help customers who’ve changed settings in their phones without knowing exactly what they’re doing and have managed to disable important phone features that required a skilled and experienced tech to fix (at a price, of course).
Stage 2: Eliminate scammers
The next step was to eliminate obvious scammers who were going to take my money and not deliver on their promises. I did this in two stages.
Firstly, I eliminated all providers who had websites that showed obvious signs of being scams – key signs being only accepting non-traceable payments (like Western Union) and making obviously false claims (Remove your iCloud account password in 30 seconds for free!).
The second stage was combing through hundreds of reviews on most high-authority review websites and eliminating sites that have clearly been reviewed as scam sites.
Stage 3: Test the rest, find the best
The final stage in the testing process is to put the remaining serivce providers who made it through the previous stage to the test.
The test ended up consisting of 4 iCloud unlocks for each of the three providers.
iCloud Unlock Test Results
After testing each of the three remaining service providers with 4 iCloud unlocks each, here are our recommendations:
Best iCloud Unlock Service: Apple iCloud Unlock
My #1 choice for unlocking your iCloud account is Apple iCloud Unlock.
There are a few reasons I could have put them #1 (like price and unlock speed), but the simple fact that they were the only provider with a 100% success rate (4 out of 4) means that those other points are irrelevant in my selection. In saying that, those other points are worth mentioning because they all add up to a very pleasant shopping experience.
My first interaction with Apple iCloud Unlock wasn’t purchasing the four unlocks, it was testing their customer support. I wanted to pepper their team with questions that were already clearly answered on their website to test how polite, accommodating, and helpful they really were. Turns out, the answer is: very.
I asked about delivery times and prices for an iPhone 7 (both of which are clearly displayed during the checkout process) and they responded quickly, politely and efficiently.
I went through their relatively simple (though could be simpler with a few minor tweaks) checkout process and signed up for four iCloud unlocks (iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7 and iPhone X).
I received payment confirmation emails within 5 minutes informing me that it would take 48 hours to complete the process.
24 hours later I emailed their support team to once again test their patience and politeness 🙂 They passed again. I received a response in 3 hours letting me know that they were in process and I will hear back within the next 24 hours.
I received the unlock confirmation email for the iPhone X 31 hours after paying, the iPhone 6s 33 hours after paying, the iPhone 6 34 hours after paying, and lastly, the iPhone 7 unlock confirmation email 41 hours after paying.
All in all, the process was simple, straightforward, and stress-free. When you add in that their prices are the cheapest of all the providers we tested and they actually delivered on all their promises, they’re the clear #1 choice.
If you need an iCloud unlock head to Apple iCloud Unlock now.
The Runner-Up: IMEI Doctor
If Apple iCloud Unlock isn’t available for some reason, my second recommendation is IMEI Doctor. They were only able to unlock three of the four iCloud accounts (which is obviously less than ideal) but had great support and sent through a fast refund without too much prompting.
As with Apple iCloud Unlock, my first interaction with IMEI Doctor was through their customer support. And to be honest, their support was even more helpful than Apple iCloud Unlock. Not only were they polite and courteous, they went out of their way to answer my questions, but did it in a personal, caring, and friendly manner.
I was extremely impressed with this. I’ve spent a lot of time communicating with various unlock companies and this was the best customer support experience I’ve had.
I purchased four iCloud unlocks (iPhone XR, Apple Watch Series 4, iPhone XS Max, and an iPhone 5s) and received my payment confirmation emails with 3-5 minutes.
My followup email 24 hours later was received with the same friendly, polite and helpful response and was told that my unlock confirmation emails would be coming soon.
Unfortunately, the results weren’t exactly what I wanted.
The iPhone XR and the Apple Watch Series 4 were both unlocked 26 hours after paying and the iCloud lock iPhone XS Max was removed 29 hours after paying, but the iPhone 5s just stuck around like a bad smell.
IMEI Doctor emailed me 48 hours after paying to inform me there was an issue and they needed another 24 hours. When the 24 hours was up, they emailed me again saying it was still stuck in the system and I could either give them another 48 hours or get a refund. I chose the refund and had the money in my account in 4 days.
Even though they only delivered on three out of the four iCloud accounts, my experience with them was pleasant and efficient, and that’s why they’re my runner up.
If Apple iCloud Unlock is unavailable for any reason, you could do far worse than using IMEI Doctor.
Using the title ‘The Competition’ feels a little inaccurate in this instance. Not because the third provider I tested didn’t offer iCloud unlocks, but because they didn’t fulfill any iCloud unlocks.
iCloud Unlock Buddy has a nice looking website and makes all the promises in the world, but I should have trusted my gut instinct with them.
Their ‘Remove activation lock with 1-click’ should have been a giveaway that they were a scam, but I decided to test them because none of the repair shop owners had used them yet.
The test started the same way – with an email to their customer support. Their response was short and to the point, letting me know where on the site the information I was looking for could be found. Not really polite or friendly, but they answered my questions.
I purchased four iCloud account unlocks (iPhone XR, Apple Watch Series 3, iPhone 6s, and an iPad 5th Gen) and waited. The confirmation emails came through quickly, but that was really the last thing they did well.
They didn’t respond to my 24-hour followup email and it was nearly a week before I heard anything back. That was after my third email. Their response simply told me to wait. Same thing a week later.
I followed up asking, and then demanding a refund, and eventually had to file chargebacks. That review process is still underway with the banks but I’m confident my money will be refunded.
Definitely, don’t use iCloud Unlock Buddy.
If your iCloud account is locked and you need a way out, the best provider to use is Apple iCloud Unlock. They’re fast, polite, and cheap, and most importantly of all, they will actually deliver on their promises.
Unlock your iCloud account here: Apple iCloud Unlock.