Due to the high demand and rising costs of mobile devices, we live in a world where stealing smartphones has become a lucrative business for thieves. However, we are getting closer to the point where stealing someone else’s phone will be useless for a thief. For quite some time now, we have had the ability to lock, track on a map/GPS, and even wipe the data from a stolen smartphone. Fortunately, this has helped to deter someone from stealing a phone.
Apple has recently released a new feature that will benefit the used cell phone marketplace. Let’s say you are buying a used iPhone or iPad on Craigslist. If you’ve read everything on this blog, you already know to inspect every corner of the device. You know to check that the Find My Iphone setting has been turned off. You also know to check the ESN number.
Now you can also check if the Apple device has been locked down remotely by its rightful owner. Just plug in the IMEI or serial number into Apple’s iCloud tool to find out the status. I recommend doing this before meeting the seller in person, so simply ask them for the serial number over email. After you check the serial number, Apple will tell you if the device is activation locked or ready for a new Apple ID to sign in. This is also helpful for online marketplaces such as Ebay and Swappa. Just message the seller to confirm it’s a clean phone. If someone refuses to give you the serial you can assume that the phone is stolen.
Make sure that you also double check the serial number when you meet in person and verify that the number you were provided over email matches what is on the phone. This is to ensure the seller didn’t give you a clean serial number from a substitute phone. In iOS, tap settings > General > About to see the device’s serial number and IMEI. For some models, you can also find the numbers engraved on the back of the device.
To try out this tool, visit Apples iCloud website.