Why Activation Lock is no longer checkable via iCloud

Dave Mark, writing for The Loop, on the removal of Apple's online iCloud Activation Lock tool:

[Here's] a video that shows how to unlock an iPad by cloning the iPad drive and changing the serial number to a valid unlocked serial number, one checked/validated using the Apple activation lock tool (about 5:28 into the video).

My guess is it'll get replaced with a more secure system, though I'm not sure how such a system could be made available to the general public the way the iCloud tool was without suffering from the same abuse.

In the meantime, if you're in the process of buying an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, make sure you verify they've removed Activation Lock in person before completing your transaction or stick to buying from a reputable service with a return policy in case of errors.

How to sell and buy an iPhone

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Presumably they would use anti-bot technology like Captcha? These kind of exploits generally hinge on being able to spam hundreds or thousands of potential codes to find the ones that meet your need. ETA: I see they already use Captcha! That does indeed make it a bit more tricky to add a further layer of security.
  • I have some problems on my iPhone 7, please any suggestions how to unlocked my iPhone locked on iCloud lock.
  • I would hope anyone caught unlocking them like this would be arrested. There is no legit reason you can not get in to the iPad. I used to work for AppleCare. There are ways to get it removed for legit customers. Send in a receipt. Get some form of proof you bought it. The people who legit forget their info must be 1 in 10000. Maybe I'm jaded, but it's hard when in most cases, I *know* who has the person's iPad, but I can't contact the authorities. Had a woman call in once to try to find her iPad. We do not in any way shape or form, know where your iPad is from the GPS (at least tech support doesn't, can't speak for Tim Cook). We don't track that. I told her this. *BUT* I saw chat logs from the thief asking for it to be unlocked. He tried 4 times. First: Thief: I forgot my password, I need the iPad unlocked
    Chat: What is the email address?
    Thief: I forgot that too
    Chat: Do you have a receipt?
    Thief: disconnects Second same as first Third:
    Thief: I need it unlocked because the original owner died
    Chat: Do you have a death certificate?
    Thief: No <disconnect> Fourth:
    Thief: I *need* this iPad unlocked
    Chat: You must either know the email+questions, or have a receipt
    Thief: My house burned down, I forgot all of that
    Chat: No other way
    Thief: <disconnect> Thing is, I saw his address from the system we used. I *knew* where he lived. I wouldn't tell her for safety (her life is worth way more than an iPad), but I couldn't notify the police near him, nor the police she called. I just had to tell her "Tell your local police to try calling in with their special number, they may be able to subpoena us". So, yes, I am jaded, but in 4.5 years there, I hadn't had one call about this that sounded legit.