Apple releases iCloud tool to check device Activation Lock status

Posted:
in iCloud edited December 2014
Adding to its collection of Web-based security tools, Apple on Wednesday published a webpage that allows users to check a device's Activation Lock status, ensuring safe and smooth transfer of ownership for used iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models.




The new iCloud tool, first spotted by iDownloadBlog, is part of Apple's Find My iPhone service and comes presented as a dedicated page on the company's iCloud.com website.

Users are asked to enter an iOS device's International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) or serial number, which is then cross-checked against an internal database to ensure Activation Lock is not currently turned on for that unit. The process is useful for those purchasing secondhand iPhones, iPads or iPod touches, who need the security feature disabled to gain access to the device.

As a side note, Apple has opted to use a CAPTCHA phrase to protect the site from bots.

Introduced as part of iOS 7, Activation Lock prevents theft and protects lost iOS devices by locking out users who do not know the Apple ID and password registered to that specific device. When activated, the feature prevents nefarious users from disabling Find My iPhone, performing a data wipe or reactivating the device under a different name.

Metropolitan law enforcement agencies have lauded the security feature, saying its implementation contributed to a noticeable drop in iPhone thefts over the first five months of 2014.

As a precautionary measure, Activation Lock is turned on by default with Apple's latest iOS 8, as is a new feature called "Send Last Location," which pushes out an iPhone or iPad's last known coordinates before its battery dies.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Nice of them to add this, but these lookup pages are all over the web. I think most of the carriers have a lookup page as well.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    yoyo2222yoyo2222 Posts: 107member
    True but most of them want $$ before they will tell you the status.
  • Reply 3 of 25
    Now only if Apple could do the same for SIM-lock status checking.
  • Reply 4 of 25
    Not sure who would use this. When you're checking out a used device all you have to do is see if Find My iPhone is turned off. If it's disabled you're good to go. If it's on then ask the seller to turn it off. If they can't, then run away.
  • Reply 5 of 25
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,542member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BobSchlob View Post

    Nice of them to add this, but these lookup pages are all over the web. I think most of the carriers have a lookup page as well.

    No they are not.

    This doesn’t check to see if the phone is blacklisted with the cell carriers.

    It checks Apple’s database to see if the iPhone Activation lock/FindMyiPhone has been turned off.

  • Reply 6 of 25
    This makes no sense to me. What true value does this tool provide? Couldn't a phone get locked in between the time I check the status of it and the time I receive the phone from the seller?
  • Reply 7 of 25
    scotty321 wrote: »
    This makes no sense to me. What true value does this tool provide? Couldn't a phone get locked in between the time I check the status of it and the time I receive the phone from the seller?

    The benefit would be in knowing the seller actually has the ability to turn off the activation lock. If they stole the device they wouldn't be able to turn off the lock at all.
  • Reply 8 of 25
    Not sure who would use this. When you're checking out a used device all you have to do is see if Find My iPhone is turned off. If it's disabled you're good to go. If it's on then ask the seller to turn it off. If they can't, then run away.

    Sure if you were buying from someone in person you wouldn't need to use it but if you were buying online you would. This is a tool that really should have been available when Activation Lock first rolled out.
  • Reply 9 of 25
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lolliver View Post





    Sure if you were buying from someone in person you wouldn't need to use it but if you were buying online you would. This is a tool that really should have been available when Activation Lock first rolled out.

     

    Who in their right mind would buy a used iPhone without actually seeing it work first?

  • Reply 10 of 25
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,542member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

    Who in their right mind would buy a used iPhone without actually seeing it work first?


    Likely hundreds (thousands?) do it on eBay and similar sites all the time…]

  • Reply 11 of 25
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Now only if Apple could do the same for SIM-lock status checking.

    I don't follow. As far as I know SIM locking takes place solely on the device in the baseband components, whereas Apple's activation locking requires access to Apple's servers for authentication.
  • Reply 12 of 25

    Actually, wireless carriers that authorize a SIM-unlock send the information to Apple where it gets unlocked through the iTunes app, so Apple does have a database that knows what iPhones are locked and unlocked to a specific carrier.

     

  • Reply 13 of 25
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    Breaking Apple rumor!

     

    According to Chinese website Feng, the three carriers registered 2 million iPhone pre-orders in just 6 hours. 

     

    That sounds insane!

     

    And I just happened to pick up some AAPL today, let's see it rise tomorrow! Oh yeah!

     

    http://www.phonearena.com/news/2-million-iPhone-6-units-already-pre-ordered-in-China-in-just-6-hours_id61273

  • Reply 14 of 25

    Yuck, captcha. There must be a better way, Apple.

  • Reply 15 of 25
    lolliver wrote: »
    The benefit would be in knowing the seller actually has the ability to turn off the activation lock. If they stole the device they wouldn't be able to turn off the lock at all.

    Okay, but if you don't have the phone in your hands, you don't even know if the serial # given to you is the actual serial # of the phone being shipped to you. This whole tool just seems rather silly and pointless to me.
  • Reply 16 of 25
    lolliverlolliver Posts: 291member
    scotty321 wrote: »
    Okay, but if you don't have the phone in your hands, you don't even know if the serial # given to you is the actual serial # of the phone being shipped to you. This whole tool just seems rather silly and pointless to me.

    Wow, I can't believe I hadn't thought of that. You're right. If someone's going to try and sell you a stolen iPhone they will have no issues providing you with a serial number for a different phone. Of course they would need to have access to a serial number for a phone that has the activation lock turned off but that's certainly possible.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    lolliver wrote: »
    scotty321 wrote: »
    Okay, but if you don't have the phone in your hands, you don't even know if the serial # given to you is the actual serial # of the phone being shipped to you. This whole tool just seems rather silly and pointless to me.
    Wow, I can't believe I hadn't thought of that. You're right. If someone's going to try and sell you a stolen iPhone they will have no issues providing you with a serial number for a different phone. Of course they would need to have access to a serial number for a phone that has the activation lock turned off but that's certainly possible.

    How is this sale going to go down? Sure, they can give you a fake serial number but that serial number will need to match the unit you want to buy and, assuming you buy it from a place like eBay and not some underground marketplace (which should already send up red flags) you can check out their sale history and leave your own bad feedback if you get screwed. You could also get screwed by receiving a lump of coal instead of the phone. Either way you're not getting what you want.

    From what I've seen it's the local sales where someone might check out a great looking but stolen device and not realize until it's too late that it's stolen. As always it's education that needs to be done. People buying a used iDevice need to be educated more than anything else. Apple can only do so much.
  • Reply 18 of 25
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lolliver View Post



    The benefit would be in knowing the seller actually has the ability to turn off the activation lock. If they stole the device they wouldn't be able to turn off the lock at all.




    Okay, but if you don't have the phone in your hands, you don't even know if the serial # given to you is the actual serial # of the phone being shipped to you. This whole tool just seems rather silly and pointless to me.

    No what's silly is buying a phone that doesn't list the serial number or EMEI number. If they don't list it; then the phone is 'hot', or seller is clueless.

  • Reply 19 of 25
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    bobschlob wrote: »
    No what's silly is buying a phone that doesn't list the serial number or EMEI number. If they don't list it; then the phone is 'hot', or seller is clueless.

    I can't say I've ever previously bought any used CE after first looking at their SN or IEMI to verify it's hasn't been stolen. Where would I have used that information previously to verify it was legitimate? Because of that I don't think you can say it's silly or the seller is clueless when this is now just becoming a feasible option that all iPhone owners and buyers should get very familiar with. In fact, previously removing the SN from an image has been commonplace.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,714member

    That fact that this doesn't work in Mobile Safari is all kinds of fail.  :no:

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