Apple Shuts Down Activation Lock Checker, Makes Buying Used iPhones More Risky

Apple shuts down iPhone Activation Lock Status webpage

Apple is making it harder to tell if the used iPhone you want to buy is stolen. The company recently shut down its Check Activation Lock Status webpage, which was a handy tool for checking to see if an iPhone was open for activation and not still locked to another user’s iCloud account.

Apple shuts down iPhone Activation Lock Status webpage
Apple’s iPhone Activation Lock status webpage is just another 404 error

Check Activation Lock Status worked by checking the iPhone’s serial number or IMEI device number to see if the Find My iPhone activation lock was turned off. If so, the phone can be set up as a new device on someone else’s iCloud. If the seller refused to provide the IMEI or serial number, there’s a good chance the iPhone was stolen.

The company’s advice for used iPhone buyers now is to check with the seller to make sure the device has been reset and all contents erased, and that it has been unlinked from Find My iPhone.

You can take care of all three requirements by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings on the iPhone you’re planning to sell. You’ll have to authenticate with your iPhone passcode to complete the process. Alternately, you can login to your iCloud account and unlink the phone from the Find My iPhone page.

Apple isn’t saying why it shut down the Check Activation Lock Status feature. It’s possible the company decided it was some sort of security or privacy risk, or it’s possible not enough people used the feature so Apple decided to turn it off.

Regardless of why Apple turned off Check Activation Lock Status, buying an iPhone off Ebay or Craigslist just got a little more risky because you have to trust that the seller really understands how to unlink the phone from their iCloud account. That’s a pretty big leap of faith considering how many iPhone owners don’t understand the difference between pressing the power button to lock the screen and actually turning off the device.

[Thanks to our TMO readers for the heads up]

6 thoughts on “Apple Shuts Down Activation Lock Checker, Makes Buying Used iPhones More Risky

  • Just contact the apple support, Here is what they said.

    I purchase an Apple watch from a third party website, How could I check the activation states on the watch?

    I see, did you want to check the Activation Status of the Watch? We currently do not have a way to check that on the website. What you would want to do is make sure you get a proof of sale from the seller in case there are any issues.

    So, the seller are the one I have to contact if there is an issue

    No, you can contact Apple if you receive the watch and find it has activation lock, just make sure you have proof of purchase from the seller in case that is needed.

  • I continue to be concerned about the directon I feel Apple is moving. Becoming less user friendly with such moves as this. I would not be so concerned if Steve Jobs were still at the helm. I am waiting to see what Apple will do with the price of the newest Macbook Pro line before I decide to upgrade.

  • Apple have also castrated the old website. 🙁

    You can no longer see all your registered products or un-register them so as to make it possible for a new owner to re-register them. Not only was it useful for this but it was also very helpful for documenting all your Apple product serial numbers, not just Macs but AirPort basestations, Apple TVs, even the Apple Pencil!

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