Apple's new tool exposes stolen and locked iPhones

Apple has launched a new tool to help second-hand iPhone and iPad buyers check whether their new toy has in fact been stolen. The iCloud Activation Lock status tool allows IMEI or serial numbers from iOS devices to be run through Apple's database, and flag up whether the phone or tablet has previously been blocked.

"Before you purchase an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from somebody else," Apple writes of the new site, "make sure that Find My iPhone Activation Lock is turned off and the device is ready for you to use."

Activation Lock is a part of iCloud; if your iPhone or iPad is misplaced, or stolen, you can remotely lock it so that a new user cannot activate it themselves.

Intended to make stealing iOS devices less appealing, it has also prompted a battle with thieves and hackers to make suspect gadgets look legitimate for at least as long as it takes for buyers on eBay and Craigslist to pay for them.

A quick check in Apple's database, however, will reveal the truth, and it's probably a good rule of thumb that if whoever you're buying from won't give you the IMEI or serial number, you might want to walk away from the deal. If you're thinking of taking advantage of a killer deal on an iPhone 6 Plus and bypassing Apple's wait-list, it's just common sense.

VIA TechCrunch

SOURCE iCloud Activation Lock