Ubuntu - Activate your brand new iPAD without iTunes



This article will explain how to activate a brand new iPad without the help of iTunes.

First question : why do you want to do such weird thing ?

Just because nowadays some places do not get any proprietary operating system anymore ... neither Windows, nor OSX. So no iTunes.

And, when you get an iPad in hand, you can not get anything out of it before it has been activated. This process is supposed to be done thru iTunes.

So here is the process to be able to use your iPad with the help of a Ubuntu workstation and of fantastic pieces of software called libimobiledevice & ideviceactivate.

Following this procedure, you will get a working iPad, not even knowing what iTunes means  :-)

As iDevices protocols are changing fast with hardware and iOS version, this guide will compile all the iDevice specific tools from git repositories.
This will maximimize the chances for this procedure to work with your brand new device.

This activation process has been tested on an iPad 1 under iOS 3.2.1 and iOS 4.3.1. I've been told that this activation procedure has been followed with sucess on an iPad 2. Even if I've not tested it, it should also work on an iPhone ...

If you get any success on these devices, just let me know (see email address below) your device and iOS version so that I can add it to the list.

IPad activation screen

Lets start.

1. Install the packages needed to handle iDevices

Before starting the compilation process, we will install the default packages to be able to handle iDevices.

# sudo apt-get install libimobiledevice-utils nautilus-ideviceinfo libplist++1

First thing to do is to install the compilation environment with all the needed compilation chain :

# sudo aptitude install build-essential git

We also need to install some developpement libraries

# sudo aptitude install libglib2.0-dev libc6-dev libcurl4-gnutls-dev libplist++-dev python2.6-dev
# sudo aptitude install libplist-dev libusbmuxd-dev
# sudo aptitude install automake libtool swig

2. Compile & Install LibiMobileDevice library and tools

We then need to compile the libraries and utilities allowing access to iDevices (iPod, iPhone & iPad).
These librairies are available from

Note that compilation process of these libraries and utils needs python development files, installed earlier.
Sources will be recovered from the GIT repository.

# cd ~
# git clone git://
# cd libimobiledevice
# ./ --prefix=/usr
# make
# sudo make install

Now, you just need to plug your iPAD to your Ubuntu workstation.

If everything has gone fine, you can get a lot of info from your new device :

# ideviceinfo
ActivationState: Unactivated
BasebandBootloaderVersion: 6.4_M3S2
ProductType: iPad1,1
ProductVersion: 4.3

You can see here that your iPad is Unactivated ...

3. Compile & Install iDeviceActivate

As all the needed libraries are operationnal, we now need to compile the activation software from its GIT repository.

# cd ~
# git clone git://
# cd ideviceactivate
# make
# sudo make install

4. Activate your iPAD

You can now launch the activation process :

# ideviceactivate
Creating activation request

Activating device...



Bingo !

Your iPAD is now activated. You can start to enjoy using it.

At this stage, to be able to install apps, you just need to create an AppleStore account

Hope it helps ...

Signature Technoblog

This article is published "as is", without any warranty that it will work for your specific need.
If you think this article needs some complement, or simply if you think it saved you lots of time & trouble,
just let me know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Cheers !

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