Activation Lock appeared in 2013 in iOS 7 as a way to deter iPhone theft. With Find My enabled in iCloud settings, a device can’t be reused just by being erased–someone with the device also has to have the password for the Apple ID used to enable Find My to unlock it. Apple started with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and later added Activation Lock to watchOS and to Intel Macs with a T2 Security Chip and all M-series Apple silicon Macs.
But there’s another activation lock Apple employs that gets less attention. When you pair an AirTag to your iPhone or iPad, or any third-party device that uses Apple’s Find My network, Apple engages what it now calls the “Find My Lock.” (The company previously termed it “Pair Lock.”)
Find My Lock can only be removed when the AirTag or Find My item is in Bluetooth proximity to the original iPhone or iPad with which it was paired.
How to unpair an AirTag
It’s easy enough to remove the AirTag in those cases:
Open the Find My app on the paired iPhone or iPad.
Swipe up to see a list of Find My items.
Select the AirTag or other item.
Tap Remove Item.
Tap Remove to confirm.
Except for this method, there’s no other way to disable the Find My Lock. If you purchase a Find My item, immediately check that it’s ready for pairing—if not, you need to return it to the owner for unlocking.
If you sell one or give one away, ensure you have disabled pairing before doing so. Otherwise, these items are just so much ornamentation.
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