What causes "Apple ID has been locked for security reasons"?

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Apple automatically lock iCloud accounts and Apple IDs that they believe are at risk of unauthorised access, and this locking is partly triggered by what they perceive may be unusual user activity. Apple ramped up locking of Apple IDs in March 2017 after a number of threats against Apple's iCloud security were made.

A number of factors can contribute to Apple ID or iCloud accounts being locked. In particular, using a variety of different tools to access iCloud data on the same account over a short period of time can often lead to this. Use of third-party tools based on open source iCloud code usually leads to accounts being locked. The open source that they are derived from is primarily used for privacy invasion, and Apple have rightly been working hard to prevent its use.

If your Apple ID has been locked, it may be helpful to review our guide on securing your Apple ID and iCloud account.

Reincubate's technology does not routinely trigger iCloud account locks. We actively monitor iCloud account and backup access with both automated and manual checks, and Reincubate iPhone Backup Extractor and our API use various sensible, sensitive techniques to avoid causing a problem with iCloud account security. In particular, each request made through our technology to Apple is uniquely identified as originating from our services, and we do not disguise our services' traffic to Apple.

iPhone Backup Extractor's iCloud login window shows the latest service status, as does iPhone Backup Extractor compatibility page. As ever, please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

About the author

Aidan Fitzpatrick founded Reincubate in 2008 after building the world's first iPhone data recovery tool, iPhone Backup Extractor. He's spoken at Google on entrepreneurship, and is a graduate of the Entrepreneurs' Organisation's Leadership Academy.

Reincubate's CEO at Buckingham Palace

Pictured above are members of Reincubate’s team meeting HM Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ at Buckingham Palace, after being awarded the UK’s highest business award for our work with Apple technology. Read our position on privacy, safety and security.

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Comments (2)

We lost my son last summer. He left behind his iPhone and my daughter needed a phone. We were able to remove what was on the phone, but we don't know his apple passcode information and would like to remove his account and add one for her. The people at the apple store say their policy prevents them from helping us. Is there anything we can do?

We're very sorry to read this. Apple have a process they can follow at the Apple Store if presented with the device, the purchase receipt, the death certificate, a certified copy of the will, and a photo ID. We've heard from customers before who have run into problems where the certificate and purchase receipt were from different countries, but persistence at the store has paid off.

Hi - I received the email below? What exactly does it mean and what shoukd I do?

Thanks, Jan

Dear jwashburn one,

Your Apple ID (jwashburn_one@sbcglobal.net) has been locked for security reasons.

Time and date: February 03, 2019, 09:45 PM UTC 

Someone just tried to long into your Apple account from a different IP address. Important to verify your identity today or your account will be disabled because of the conception we have for the safety and integrity of the Apple-Community.

Click here to verify your identity, we recommend that you go to Verify now.


TM and Copyright © 2019 Apple Inc. Hollyhill Industrial Estate, Hollyhill, Cork, Ireland.
All rights reserved / Keep Informed / Privacy Policy / Apple ID

Hi Jan, this is a phishing email. It's a fake design to try to trick you into entering your password into a site where it can be stolen. We see similar emails in our spam every now and then.

It's not from Apple. How to tell? Strange phrases like "Apple-Community" and requests like "Click here to verify your identity". Also, the sender or reply-to addresses on the email might look like they're from apple.com, but they'll be subtly different.

It's best to delete these. Here's Apple's official guidance.

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