by Anthony 

July 13, 2023

How To Remove Activation Lock On Apple Watch

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So I recently sold my old Apple watch on eBay. Now to be honest I thought I did everything right. Apple’s support pages actually have a section for selling your Apple Watch which says all you need to do is unpair the watch using the Apple Watch app on your phone. Here are the steps they suggest:

  • Open the app on your phone.
  • Tap ‘My Watches’ on the bottom menu.
  • Tap on ‘All Watches’, then the information icon.
  • Choose ‘Unpair Apple Watch’.

You’ll be prompted for your Apple ID and, according to Apple, this should unpair your watch. It will remove it from your account and disable Activation Lock.

Simple, right?

Well you can imagine my surprise when the person I sold it to sent me an email saying activation lock was still applied to the watch.

The problem I had now was that I no longer had access to the watch and it was no longer paired with my Apple Watch app.

So I Google'd the problem and Apple has a solution for this too. They say, ‘if you have already given your watch away', you should do the following:

  • Log into icloud.com.
  • Open the Find My iPhone app.
  • Click on 'All Devices’.
  • Choose your watch from the list and select Erase Apple Watch.

According to Apple this should do the trick; erasing the data on your watch and removing the activation lock.

However, this didn’t solve my problem either because my watch was no longer displayed in my list of devices in my iCloud account.

I couldn’t access the watch from my iCloud account and the activation lock was still enabled.

If you find yourself in this situation, where you need to remove activation lock from a watch you no longer have access to, and it no longer appears in your list of Find My devices, you have one final option and that is to contact apple.

Browse to al-support.apple.com. You’ll need to provide the receipt from when you bought the watch (which luckily was in my email from years ago) and the serial number of the device, which you can find on the back of the box.

Once you have all this information, click on ‘Get Started’ on Apple’s support site to create the ticket. Fill in the details and click Continue. You’ll be asked to upload a copy of the receipt from when you purchased the watch and a brief explanation of the situation. Once submitted you’ll receive a confirmation email and a support number.

It took Apple 3 days to get back to me, but they unlocked the watch and everything worked out fine.

One final thing to mention is, never be tempted to give your Apple ID credentials to someone you don’t know to remove the lock. Thankfully the person I sold my watch to was willing to wait but they did ask if they could use my Apple ID and password.

Just consider that you likely have your bank account and address linked to your account, together with photos, and all the other data saved to iCloud. So by giving someone your credentials they have access to all this information.

If they were malicious they could try and change your password which would lock you out of your account altogether. So I highly recommend not giving out your credentials to unlock a watch unless you trust the person to do the right thing.

So that is how to remove the activation lock on an Apple Watch.

Key Takeaways

  • Unpairing a watch using the Apple Watch app on iPhone does not remove activation lock.
  • Always keep the receipt and make a note of the serial number.
  • If you've sold the watch or bought it second hand you'll likely need to contact Apple.
  • Don't be tempted to hand over your Apple ID or account details to solve the issue.

If you found this post useful, you might also be interested in reading my favourite free Word Games and don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for lots of tips and tricks on all your favourite apps.


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