Yesterday, Apple made another webpage available to assist users with iOS security.
This time, the website lets users verify the status of an iOS device’s Activation Lock feature.
Available since iOS 7, Activation Lock is a bolt on to the Find my iPhone service, protecting lost or stolen iOS devices by locking out users who do not know the Apple ID and password registered to that device.
Once activated, without knowing the Apple ID credentials, a user cannot disable Find My iPhone, perform any data wipe or reactivate the device under a different name.
This new tool is primarily aimed at assisting those purchasing a second-hand iOS device who want to make sure they will be able to access the device without chasing the seller for deactivation of Find My iPhone.
This new web-based iCloud tool is accessible here, as shown below:
You will need to know your iOS device’s IMEI, (International Mobile Equipment Identity) or the serial number and then enter a CAPTCHA phrase:
The iOS device identifier will then be checked against an Apple internal database to confirm if Activation Lock is active or disabled:
Certainly if you are purchasing a second-hand iOS device, perhaps from an online selling site such as eBay, or even from a work colleague, friend or family member, this tool could be useful to ensure that the Activation Lock feature is disabled prior to purchase so you can gain full access to the device.
Obviously, a second-hand phone could potentially get locked by the seller AFTER you have checked the status, but before you receive the phone, but this is still better than nothing!
I would say that this is more useful to know that if you are buying a second-hand iOS device and this tool states that Activation Lock is ON. If you then contact the seller and they deactivate it, then by the seller having the ability to deactivate the Activation Lock feature, they should be the legal owner of the device and within their right to sell it to you.
If a device is stolen that has Activation Lock enabled, an illegal seller of that device would not be able to deactivate this feature.