It’s unfortunate when it does, but finding out that an iPhone you bought on eBay or Craigslist was stolen at some point isn’t the best news you want to hear. But a new tool released by Apple checks if an iPhone you’re about to buy from someone has been stolen from someone else at some point.
When Apple released iOS 7 it released a feature called Activation Lock. This essentially prevents iOS devices from being stolen, or at least deters thieves from doing other things with an iPhone after stealing it.
When Find My iPhone is enabled on an iPhone, it locks that iPhone to that user’s Apple ID account. This means that even if the iPhone was wiped at the factory, the device would still need its original Apple ID and password before anyone else could use it for themselves, and would turn it into a paperweight if stolen.
However, when you buy an iPhone from eBay, Craigslist, or other used marketplaces, you never know if the iPhone you bought was stolen at some point, until you find out that you can’t activate it with your own Apple ID. because the account is already locked to the original owner’s account.
Apple’s new Activation Lock search tool aims to help buyers with this issue and allows users considering buying a used iPhone to see if Activation Lock is enabled. If it does, it’s safe to say that the iPhone was most likely stolen.
Here’s how to use Apple’s new tool to find out if the iPhone you’re about to buy on eBay has been stolen.
How To Check If An iPhone Has Been Stolen
You can access Apple’s new Activation Lock search tool by going to: icloud.com/activationlock, and you don’t even have to sign in to your iCloud account to access it. It is completely free and available to everyone.
After entering the web page, you will be asked to enter the serial number or IMEI number of the iPhone; both will be available in the app by going to . You will also need to enter the CAPTCHA code just below that.
Instantly Apple will tell you if the iPhone still has Activation Lock enabled. One thing to note, if Activation Lock is still on, it doesn’t necessarily mean the device was stolen. Actually, it could also mean that the user could have easily forgotten to turn off Activation Lock, but you need to contact the current owner of the iPhone to find out which one, which brings us to the next step. my name.
Contacting the Owner
When we say “owner” here, we are talking about the person who currently owns the iPhone in question. So if the iPhone was stolen, then the “owner” is the person who will be the thief currently in possession of the iPhone.
In any case, if Apple’s online tool says the Activation Lock is still active for the iPhone you’re going to buy, you’ll want to contact the “owner” to have it turned off before paying any cash. Do this by asking them to disable and wipe the device.
This action will require the password of the Apple ID account associated with the iPhone. If the “owner” says they can’t do it, it most likely means that the iPhone is stolen goods and you should look elsewhere for a used iPhone.
Sure, there were ways to see if an iPhone has been stolen in the past, but the new Activation Lock tool allows users to check and see if an iPhone has been stolen before they even consider buying it. Not only is this handy, it can also save you a ton of headaches down the road.
You can even use Apple’s Activation Lock tool yourself to see if you actually wiped your iPhone properly before selling it. To do this, you’ll want to make sure you disable Find My iPhone before erasing the iPhone. Then simply enter the device’s IMEI number or serial number into the tool to see if you have deleted it correctly. If so, it’s ready for its next owner.