Apple removes iCloud Activation Lock status tool from website

Posted:
in iCloud edited January 28
For reasons unknown, Apple has taken down the iCloud Activation Lock status page on its website, which used to offer a convenient method of determining whether a used iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Apple Watch was stolen.




An Apple support document that pointed people to the page was updated on Jan. 24 to remove any reference, and the direct link has stopped working in the past day. The status system let users enter an IMEI or serial number.

The updated support document suggests that people buying a device test Activation Lock hands-on, and have the seller help (in person or otherwise) if it's still in effect. In many cases this is impractical, such as when buying online from someone in another city.

The change could potentially help the black market or even increase thefts, given that sellers have a better chance at pulling off scams.

Activation Lock has been on available on Apple devices since iOS 7, and more recently watchOS 2, meaning that many people buying a used Watch or iOS device run the risk of getting non-functional hardware.

Cities like New York City and San Francisco have regularly had to cope with robbers snatching devices off of unsuspecting victims.

In rarer cases Apple stores themselves have become targets, assaulted in smash-and-grab raids made possible by the company's preference for glass facades.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 16,455member
    Odd move by Apple. Pretty much everyone buying in person rely on the online AL test tool to ensure the phone is unlocked before organising a real-world meet.
    edited January 28 GeorgeBMacjbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 53
    EvetsEvets Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    Bad move by Apple. Making it difficult if not impossible to determine if an iOS device is activation locked. I hope to hell that they have something better planned that will roll out soon.
    6toecatGeorgeBMaccornchipnetmagejbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 53
    adamcadamc Posts: 542member
    Evets said:
    Bad move by Apple. Making it difficult if not impossible to determine if an iOS device is activation locked. I hope to hell that they have something better planned that will roll out soon.
    No need to sound so offended, judging for your comment you don't own an Apple product. Even with this feature there is no way to know if the device is locked when you buy it from someone on Craigslist.
  • Reply 4 of 53
    Guess many of you haven't seen this video:

    https://youtu.be/AYETzuYlEjE

    Con artists in China were using this to get around activation lock likely in an attempt to re-sell stolen goods.

    More than likely Apple got wind of it and had no choice to shut it down immediately.

    The majority and law-abiding citizen suffers yet again. Thanks China!
    wonkothesanerepressthis6toecatdjkfisherdysamoriaanton zuykovlostkiwielijahgmacpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 53
    We need to find real reason why Apple removed such important tool. When buying used iphone, I always use these two tools/sites provided by Apple https://checkcoverage.apple.com/ and https://www.icloud.com/activationlock/# This tool was excellent for helping buyers of used iphones not getting screwed by shady sellers on Craiglist and similar sites. Such tool saves time and agony for both buyer and seller. With IMEI and such tool, one can easily check/avoid lost/stolen iphone on market with icloud lock and also the one Apple will not service because the returned iphone somehow got back on market. So, not sure why Apple would remove it unless replace with better
    edited January 28 repressthiswatto_cobranetmagejbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 53
    holyoneholyone Posts: 254member
    Too funny Freethinking :D but probably true, but at least not out of character though, classic Apple, never used that thing before so wouldn't know the usefullness, but I think they must have found a seriouse security flaw and Apple is unlikely to publicly admitt something like that, so its a wait and see, like that thirdparty find my Air Pods app now Firstparty feature
  • Reply 7 of 53
    Guess many of you haven't seen this video:

    https://youtu.be/AYETzuYlEjE

    Con artists in China were using this to get around activation lock likely in an attempt to re-sell stolen goods.
    That's kind of impressive though. I'm always fascinated by the effort and ingenuity that people will go to. For most of us in the west the risk/effort/reward involved would be so much worse than just getting an iPad legitimately.
    GeorgeBMaclostkiwiwatto_cobraargonautSpamSandwich
  • Reply 8 of 53
    Johan.GJohan.G Posts: 7unconfirmed, member
    This move makes sense, since you can no longer wipe an iDevice without logging out of Find My iPhone first. 
    New credo is "if it's not wiped, don't buy it".
    markbyrnwatto_cobraSpamSandwich
  • Reply 9 of 53
    About the video, pretty interesting work, This is no different than similar like cyber breach where dark side keep trying to profit from good side and win. But good side have to keep finding ways to defeat them. So, design products where such circumventing is next to impossible. Often, people from inside Apple repair chain knows enough about product tech on how to circumvent so called fool-proof measures in place. Than, use it outside Apple for stolen goods.

    edited January 29
  • Reply 10 of 53
    Very strange move. I used to work in gadget insurance and before the device was sent to the repairers we had to ensure that FMI was turned off as they needed to factory restores etc - we used this tool!
    This is going to have a big knock on effect on these companies as well as individuals purchasing a second hand phone.
    netmage
  • Reply 11 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 16,455member

    Dougie.S said:
    Very strange move. I used to work in gadget insurance and before the device was sent to the repairers we had to ensure that FMI was turned off as they needed to factory restores etc - we used this tool!
    This is going to have a big knock on effect on these companies as well as individuals purchasing a second hand phone.
    It is, but as you can see by the video "the whole country of China" put together, this activation tool is no longer trustworthy and something new now needs to be built to ensure users are buying a new and/or unstolen device.
    edited January 29 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 53
    http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/01/27/apple-ceo-tim-cook-meets-with-sen-orrin-hatch-lunches-with-ivanka-trump-and-jared-kushner

    "During today's meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook, we discussed ways to grow the economy and our tech industry"

    I asked Apple last year why an owner could not turn on the S/N or IMEI lock remotely if a phone was stolen, or even if Apple could once a police report of a theft was available, without a reasonable answer... If iCloud (location) tracking was not 'freely' given, there was no 'return favour' of protection...

    Will an 'executive' order come next...?
    Yesterday was of course Data Privacy Day: http://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/about
    Simply leaving a phone off (no data either) can help battery life (and the environment?), but probably not business...

    "...the classic dystopian novel 1984, written by George Orwell and published in 1948, is number one."
    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/25/511671118/classic-novel-1984-sales-are-up-in-the-era-of-alternative-facts

    We do also have results next week, so perhaps (here's hoping) an announcement or two may follow...
    edited January 29
  • Reply 13 of 53
    "Apple is unlikely to publicly admitt something like that," meaning unlikely to disclose a security flaw until it is fixed. Standard operating procedure for any company. "Admitt" [sic] implies shame and a desire to hide the fact. I won't project that on them before more is revealed.
  • Reply 14 of 53
    Johan.G said:
    This move makes sense, since you can no longer wipe an iDevice without logging out of Find My iPhone first. 
    New credo is "if it's not wiped, don't buy it".
    exactly and it's a fact that the site was being exploited by thieves to bypass activation lock on stolen devices and there's videos as to exactly how to do it.  I can understand the average person not thinking about this but Appleinsider is apparently outside on this subject and completely clueless.  
    anton zuykovnetmageSpamSandwich
  • Reply 15 of 53
    Johan.G said:
    This move makes sense, since you can no longer wipe an iDevice without logging out of Find My iPhone first. 
    New credo is "if it's not wiped, don't buy it".
    How exactly does this work? Last week I got locked out of my phone because it didn't like my passcode for whatever reason (I know I was entering the right one). Apple support had me use iCloud.com to erase my phone so I could set up a new passcode. When you do that does it automatically log you out of find my iPhone?
  • Reply 16 of 53
    I think this is a clear signal that Apple no longer cares about iOS and is only focusing on the Mac. FIRE TIM COOK!! /s 
    jmc54anton zuykovwatto_cobraargonautSpamSandwich
  • Reply 17 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 16,455member
    Johan.G said:
    This move makes sense, since you can no longer wipe an iDevice without logging out of Find My iPhone first. 
    New credo is "if it's not wiped, don't buy it".
    How exactly does this work? Last week I got locked out of my phone because it didn't like my passcode for whatever reason (I know I was entering the right one). Apple support had me use iCloud.com to erase my phone so I could set up a new passcode. When you do that does it automatically log you out of find my iPhone?
    You needed your iCloud Apple-ID login details to do this however. And perhaps you were not entering the right password? Did you change it recently?
    edited January 29
  • Reply 18 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 16,455member
    MacInsider
    I think this is a clear signal that Apple no longer cares about iOS and is only focusing on the Mac. FIRE TIM COOK!! /s
    T man
  • Reply 19 of 53
    Johan.GJohan.G Posts: 7unconfirmed, member
    Johan.G said:
    This move makes sense, since you can no longer wipe an iDevice without logging out of Find My iPhone first. 
    New credo is "if it's not wiped, don't buy it".
    How exactly does this work? Last week I got locked out of my phone because it didn't like my passcode for whatever reason (I know I was entering the right one). Apple support had me use iCloud.com to erase my phone so I could set up a new passcode. When you do that does it automatically log you out of find my iPhone?
    No, it doesn't automatically log you out. We're talking about buying a second-hand iPhone, aren't we? When you do:
    Hold the device, confirm it's wiped, try to activate it … either you can or you'll see the activation lock. 

    I can't really think of a way to get duped when buying in person (as opposed to online).
  • Reply 20 of 53
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,817member
    Johan.G said:
    Johan.G said:
    This move makes sense, since you can no longer wipe an iDevice without logging out of Find My iPhone first. 
    New credo is "if it's not wiped, don't buy it".
    How exactly does this work? Last week I got locked out of my phone because it didn't like my passcode for whatever reason (I know I was entering the right one). Apple support had me use iCloud.com to erase my phone so I could set up a new passcode. When you do that does it automatically log you out of find my iPhone?
    No, it doesn't automatically log you out. We're talking about buying a second-hand iPhone, aren't we? When you do:
    Hold the device, confirm it's wiped, try to activate it … either you can or you'll see the activation lock. 

    I can't really think of a way to get duped when buying in person (as opposed to online).
    That's assuming others are even aware of that and most would not be. It's been common knowledge for some time to use Apple's Activation Lock Status page before buying used phones either in person or via eBay. That's the advice you'll find over and over on the web. What you've mentioned is not what used iPhone buyers are accustomed to looking for so it will take some time to get that word out. 
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