With the release of iOS 7, we were introduced to Activation Lock, which was aimed at preventing iPhones and other iDevices from being stolen. The way it works, is once Find My iPhone is turned on, it lockes that iDevice to the user’s Apple ID. This resulted in stolen iDevices being rendered useless, since the original buyer’s Apple ID and password was required to activate the device for use, even after a full wipe.
This helped a lot with the amount of iDevices being stolen, but still not 100%. There are a lot of iPhones on Ebay, other sites,and even locally in your own city for sale, that are probably stolen and iCloud locked. Buying a second hand iPhone can be a real hassle since you’re never sure if it is iCloud locked or not unless you have physical access to the device before purchasing it.
Apple has created a tool to solve this problem by checking the Activation Lock Status, and it can be found here. It’s a tool specifically designed to let you check whether a device is iCloud locked, by just entering the IMEI. This way, you can ask a seller to provide you with the IMEI of the device for sale, after which, you can then enter it on the website and see whether it is Activation Locked or not.
If a device is not locked, the tool will state that it wil NOT require a password to activate and begin using.
However, if the device IS Activation Locked, it will clearly state that it is. It will also provide you with steps to follow whether you’re the buyer or seller, to ensure that the device is suitable and ready to be sold or bought. This can mean contacting the previous owner of the device before the current seller as well.
Anyone about to purchase a second hand iDevice, should find this tool extremely useful, as it makes the transaction much safer. Never buy an iCloud locked second hand iDevice again!