The recent reports revealed that, before buying a used iPhone, iPad or iPod, you can now check with the Apple’s online tool that either it’s been locked down by the former owner, which signifies that it was in fact stolen or lost.
You can easily access the service on iCloud website as it doesn’t need any authentication. It enables users to enter the IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) or serial number of iOS device in order to check the Activation lock status.
However, the Activation Lock feature is firstly launched on iOS 7 as part of the Find Mi iPhone service available on iCloud. If it is turned on once, the iOS is locked down and then user has to enter the Apple ID and the password connected with to be able to use it again.
This is supposed to work, but hackers find out another way to avoid this locking mechanism by using alternative iCloud server and then tricking into the locked devices. Apple introduces its new online tool which could help prospective buyers to determine if the device was stolen or lost even. It also tracks down if the device was unlocked with un-official tools, because the IMEI/Serial Number check is done against Apple’s real Activation Lock database.
In iOS 7 Activation Lock was optional, but apple turned it on by default in iOS 8. Law enforcement agencies says that, Activation Lock have a prevention effect for phone theft.
In San Francisco thefts of iPhones dropped by 38% in the first six months after iOS 7 and Activation Lock were launched in September 2013. In New York City the number of similar incidents dropped by 19% in the first five months of this year.