Why you should turn off Activation Lock when selling your AirPods

Why you should turn off Activation Lock when selling your AirPods


How to turn off Activation Lock when selling your AirPods. And Why.
You must turn off Activation Lock when you sell your AirPods. Here’s why, and how.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple added Find My to AirPods in 2021, and it’s causing problems for resellers of these wireless headphones. Many people are unaware that their AirPods now support Activation Lock, which means they are locked to their user’s Apple ID. This must be deactivated when selling or giving the devices away or no one else can use them.

Here’s how to turn off Activation Lock on your AirPods.

Apple Activation Lock for AirPods is both good and bad

Because most types of AirPods now support Find My tracking, users can locate them even when the wireless earbuds are not connected to another Apple device. It’s a very convenient feature.

And Activation Lock comes along with Find My support, which means that a pair of stolen AirPods can’t be used by anyone but their owner.

But there’s a downside. People are selling AirPods while they are still locked to their Apple ID. Which makes them useless. A company that refurbishes these accessories has more than 30,000 unusable AirPods because they’re locked to their original owners, according to Business Insider.

So you should turn off Activation Lock — it’s easy. And it might save you hassle.  If you leave it on when selling your old AirPods to a friend, expect an irritated call when they can’t use them. If you sell them to a refurbisher while locked, the headphones will likely end up in the trash and you’ll have pointlessly contributed to the horrendous e-waste problem.

Do this before selling your AirPods

Rather than handling Activation Lock and Find My separately, all you need to do is deactivate Find My and that will disable both.

Instructions for turning off Activation Lock and Find My when selling your AirPods
Open Find My, tap the Devices tab, then your AirPods name. Hit ‘Remove’ a couple of times and you’re done.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Put your AirPods in their case so they are inactive.
  2. Open Apple’s Find My application your iPhone
  3. Tap on the Devices tab at the bottom on the screen. This will open a list with your iPhone, Mac, etc.
  4. Tap on the AirPods you’re getting rid of. This opens the Find My configuration screen for the headphones.
  5. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap on Remove This Device.
  6. On the next screen, tap on the Remove button to confirm that you want Activation Lock and Find My disabled for these AirPods.

And you’re done. You can now sell or give away the wireless headphones with the confidence that whomever gets them will be able to use them. For more help, check Apple’s instructions from its support site.

Remove Activation Lock on other Apple devices, too

AirPods aren’t the only Apple device that uses Activation Lock, of course. And you need to deactivate it on all of them when you sell them, or give them to a family member or friend that will use a different Apple ID.

But the process is different. To learn how to disable it on an iPhone, Mac, etc., read the Cult of Mac guide on how to turn off Activation Lock when selling your Apple device.