Apple Debuts iCloud Feature to Help Identify Stolen Devices

Posted by at 1:46 pm on October 2, 2014

Smartphone theft is on the rise; nearly 3.1 million Americans had their smartphones stolen from them in 2013, and many of those stolen devices are sold to unsuspecting buyers. Today, Apple released an iCloud feature that helps you identify if the used iPhone you’re buying is stolen.

The company posted a “Check Activation Lock Status” page on its website that allows users to enter the serial number or IMEI of an iPhone, iPad or iPod and see if the activation lock of that devicehas been enabled or disabled. In order for a new user to fully access the device, the original owner must disable the activation lock.


If you buy a used iPhone and the activation lock hasn’t been disabled, that means the owner likely did not authorize the device to be sold, and you could have a stolen device on your hands.

The activation lock feature was introduced along with iOS 7, but as a precautionary measure, all devices that come with iOS 8 installed have activation lock already enabled. It’s a useful securityfeature to have activated by default, because it prevents potential thieves from disabling Find My iPhone, wiping the device or reactivating the device under another name. The feature also helps buyers identify “doulCi” devices, which bypass iCloud and let someone activate a device with a new account, but won’t enable cell service.

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