iCloud Removes iPhone Activation Lock Search Tool

Posted by at 10:17 am on January 31, 2017

Apple has removed a tool within iCloud that allowed people to easily check the Activation Lock status of iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

Activation Lock was introduced as a part of iOS 7’s Find My iPhone feature in 2014. Any iPhone owner who activates Find My iPhone automatically locks the device to their Apple ID.

The idea behind Activation Lock is to make it so stolen iPhones can’t be activated on new accounts without first disassociating them from the original owner’s account. iPhones with Activation Lock still in place are unusable with new Apple IDs, and thus not worth stealing in the first place.

Until recently, iCloud provided an easy tool that allowed potential iPhone purchasers to check the Activation Lock status of a device by entering the IMEI or serial number. The tool is no longer available within iCloud, and the former web site returns a 404 error.

Moreover, Apple has removed the language associated with the Activation Lock search tool from its support documents.

Instead, Apple suggests potential buyers and sellers work together to ensure iPhones, iPads, and iPods are properly unlocked and erased before any sale or transfer takes place. This approach may work between legitimate transactions, but doesn’t help people who’ve purchased stolen devices.

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