Activation Lock


'Activation Lock' Articles

Apple's Activation Lock Website Played Key Role in Hack, Perhaps Explaining its Removal

Apple recently removed the Activation Lock status checker from its website, giving no explanation as to why a seemingly useful tool was eliminated. The Activation Lock website was designed to make sure a used device being purchased wasn't locked with Activation Lock, rendering it unusable. As it turns out, the Activation Lock website was a vital part of a bypass hack used to unlock devices bricked by Activation Lock, perhaps hinting at why Apple shelved it. The process is demonstrated in the video below. By changing one or two characters of an invalid serial number, hackers are able to generate a valid serial number, using the Activation Lock tool for verification purposes to make sure it's functional. That valid number, which belongs to a legitimate device owner, can then be used to unlock a previously non-functional iPhone or iPad. Activation Lock website verification starts at 5:25 in the video The Activation Lock scheme that steals valid serial numbers from existing iOS users potentially explains a mysterious Apple ID bug that's been plaguing iPhone owners for months. When attempting to activate a new or recently restored device, some iPhone owners have found their devices inexplicably locked to another Apple ID account - one with an unknown name and password. The problem has been affecting iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7, and 7 Plus models since September and can only be fixed by Apple. Apple has not confirmed that the hack shown in the video is related to the Apple ID Activation Lock bug, but as the hack uses valid serial numbers from existing owners, it's a

Apple Removes Tool to Check if an iPhone or iPad is Activation Locked

Apple has removed its Activation Lock status checker on iCloud.com at some point in the past few days. The tool enabled users to enter the serial number or IMEI of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and find out if the device is secured with Activation Lock, helping buyers avoid purchasing a device locked to another user. An individual purchasing a used iPhone on eBay or another website, for example, was able to request the device's serial number and use Apple's tool to verify that Activation Lock had been turned off. If the device was still locked, or if the seller refused to provide the serial number, then it was likely lost or stolen. The iCloud page where the tool was available now returns a "Not Found" page aka 404 error. Apple also removed the following reference to the tool from a related Find My iPhone support document earlier this week:How do I check for Activation Lock before purchasing a used device? When you buy an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch from someone other than Apple or an authorized Apple reseller, it is up to you to ensure that the device is erased and no longer linked to the previous owner’s account. You can check the current Activation Lock status of a device when you visit icloud.com/activationlock from any Mac or PC.Apple has not explained why it removed the page. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Activation Lock, enabled automatically when you turn on Find My iPhone, is designed to prevent anyone else from using your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch if it is ever lost or stolen. A

Users Report Some iPhone 7 and 6s Models Activation Locked With Wrong Apple IDs

An increasing number of iPhone users are experiencing an Activation Lock issue in which the device is linked to an Apple ID email address that does not belong to them, according to crowdsourced information from MacRumors and Twitter. MacRumors reader Balders, who recently purchased an iPhone 7 Plus, explained in our discussion forums:Just received my brand new 256GB Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus. Looks immaculate, screen is perfect, machining all fine… Only problem is, it appears someone has already used it as the iPhone is asking for the account used to activate it — o.....@icloud.com. Apple say it needs replacing […] Now got to wait for an expedited replacement iPhone once I've returned this one.With the wrong Apple ID being displayed, users cannot sign in and are therefore unable to proceed with setting up the iPhone. The issue has primarily affected new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models upon being turned on for the first time, and iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models upon being restored to default settings, although older models appear to be affected to a lesser extent. MacRumors user TheKricket said his iPhone 6s suddenly became activation locked:I purchased an iPhone 6s full-price and outright directly from an Apple Store in September 2015. The phone was unlocked (I switched from T-Mobile to Verizon after I purchased it without issue). I recently purchased an iPhone 7 Plus and after that phone was activated on Verizon's network, the iPhone 6s now indicates that it has an "Activation Lock." It is also linked to some unknown iCloud account (not the account I activated

Apple Confirms Activation Lock Safety Feature for watchOS 2

Following today's big WWDC keynote address in San Francisco, a few new details and confirmations have been made about the Apple Watch, specifically regarding a crucial security feature for the wearable. Activation Lock, previously available for iPhones and iPads, was confirmed to be coming to Apple Watch with watchOS 2. The feature lets users secure their Apple Watch with their Apple ID, preventing malicious users from wiping or activating the wearable device if it gets lost or stolen. In the days and weeks following the Apple Watch launch, many users questioned the device's security due to its inherent requiring of the iPhone to perform most of its tasks. With only a simple four-digit passcode protecting the wearable, it was discovered in early May that that code could be entirely bypassed with a simple settings wipe able to be performed by anyone who came into contact with your personal Apple Watch. With today's confirmation of Activation Lock for the Apple Watch, users concerned about losing or having the new Apple wearable stolen from them can no doubt feel a bit more at ease with the security of the device. Registered developers will be able to gain access to watchOS 2 starting today, with a wide public release coming sometime this

Apple Watch Vulnerable to Theft With No Activation Lock

Our iPhones and iPads are protected by Activation Lock, a security feature that prevents thieves from wiping and using a stolen Apple device with a new account, but the recently released Apple Watch has no similar security feature. As pointed out by iDownloadBlog in a detailed post on the security of the Apple Watch, there is nothing that stops a lost or stolen Apple Watch from being wiped and paired with a new iPhone. The Apple Watch has a passcode option that requires a sequence of numbers to be entered every time it's removed from a wrist, but the passcode protects only data. The passcode is also easily bypassed with a reset. Pressing down on the side button of the Apple Watch brings up the power down options and a force press on this screen brings up an option to Erase All content and Settings. Erasing the Apple Watch in this manner erases the passcode and allows the Apple Watch to be paired with a new device, with no hint of the original owner's information available. Because there's no Activation Lock and because the Apple Watch is reliant on the iPhone, there's also no Find My iPhone option to locate a lost or stolen Apple Watch. Due to this lack of security, it's possible the Apple Watch will become a major target for thieves. It's an expensive device (especially the higher-end Edition versions), it's compact, it's highly desirable, it has a high resale value like all of Apple's products, and it's easily visible on a wrist rather than hidden away in a bag or pocket like an iPhone. In short, it's an easy target for muggers. iPhone theft in major

iPhone Theft Continues to Drop in Three Major Cities Thanks to Activation Lock

Authorities from two major U.S. cities and London on Tuesday reported (via Reuters) that smartphone theft has dropped drastically since the release of remote-access "kill-switches" that allow users to lock their missing smartphone before any crucial information is stolen. Specifically, the number of stolen iPhones dropped 25 percent in New York, 40 percent in San Francisco, and 50 percent in London. The study was based on the 12 months following the launch of Activation Lock in September 2013 as part of iOS 7. These numbers have jumped up slightly from a similar report released last summer that saw iPhone thefts in each city fall by 19 percent, 38 percent, and 24 percent, respectively. According to Reuters, officials from each of the three cities - London Mayor Boris Johnson, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, and New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman - were each lobbying for laws that required the implementation of remote kill switches into every smartphone sold. "We have made real progress in tackling the smartphone theft epidemic that was affecting many major cities just two years ago," said London Mayor Boris Johnson. From data collected by the National Consumers League, Reuters reports that 1.6 million Americans reported stolen handheld devices in 2012. And in California alone - specifically San Francisco, Oakland, and a few other cities - smartphone theft accounts for more than half of all crimes perpetrated in each city. “The wireless industry continues to roll out sophisticated new features, but preventing their own customers

Apple Creates Tool to Check Activation Lock Status on iOS Devices

Apple has released a new Activation Lock Status tool (via iDownloadBlog) that will make it easier for people buying a used iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to avoid getting a device that is locked to another user. Accessible via iCloud.com, the Activation Lock Status Checker allows users to enter a Device IMEI or Serial number to check whether a device has Activation Lock turned on. Activation Lock was introduced alongside iOS 7 and is designed to prevent iPhones and iPads from being stolen. When Find My iPhone is enabled, it effectively locks an iOS device to a user's Apple ID account, and even when wiped, the device will require the original Apple ID and password. Activation Lock has cut down on iPhone-related thefts in major cities, but it has also affected users who purchase an iOS device used. If Activation Lock is enabled, a used iOS device will be entirely useless until unlocked by the original owner. If an iOS device does have Activation Lock enabled, Apple's tool will give users a clear warning that an Apple ID and password will be required before another user can activate the device. It also provides instructions on how to remove Activation Lock from a used device, which requires contacting the previous owner. Anyone who is purchasing or selling a used iOS device should find Apple's new tool very useful, as it can be used before a transaction takes place to ensure the iOS device will be usable by the new

iOS 7's Activation Lock Feature Helping Reduce iPhone Theft in Three Major Cities

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced today that Apple's Activation Lock feature in iOS 7 has led to a "significant" reduction of iPhone-related theft in New York, London, and San Francisco, reports The New York Times. Measuring crime after Apple introduced Activation Lock alongside iOS 7 last Fall, police officers in San Francisco said that iPhone robberies in the city fell 38 percent, with London experiencing a 24 percent drop. Meanwhile, the New York Police Department said that iPhone robberies dropped 19 percent, while grand larcenies including the device dropped 29 percent in the first five months of 2014 compared to the same time period last year. “The introduction of kill switches has clearly had an effect on the conduct of smartphone thieves,” Mr. Schneiderman said in an interview. “If these can be canceled like the equivalent of canceling a credit card, these are going to be the equivalent of stealing a paperweight.” Apple's Activation Lock feature, which prevents stolen phones from being reactivated without an iCloud password, has received praise from various groups since its inclusion in iOS 7. Schneiderman, along with San Francisco attorney George Gascón, spearheaded smartphone anti-theft efforts last year and called Apple's Activation Lock the "world's first attempt to implement a technological solution to the global smartphone theft epidemic." Apple also entered a voluntary agreement with a number of other smartphone makers in April to include anti-theft technology on all smartphones going on sale after July 2015. Under that

Hacker Team Claims Compromise of Apple's iCloud and Activation Lock, Possibly via SSL Bug [Updated]

A pair of hackers from the Netherlands and Morocco, identifying themselves as AquaXetine and MerrukTechnolog, claim to have compromised the security of Apple's iCloud system for locking iOS devices. The hack will unlock stolen iPhones by bypassing Activation Lock, making it possible for thieves to resell the phones easily on the black market, reports Dutch publication De Telegraaf [Google Translate]. It also may provide hackers with access to Apple ID passwords and other personal information stored in Apple's iCloud service. The hackers reportedly worked on the vulnerability for five months, studying the transmission of data between iPhone handsets and Apple's iCloud services. The pair claim to be able to unlock a locked iPhone by placing a computer between the iPhone and Apple's servers. In this configuration, the iPhone mistakenly identifies the hacker's computer as one of Apple's servers and follows instructions provided by the nefarious computer to reverse activation lock on the handset. While the hackers did not reveal precise information on how their intercepting computer can spoof Apple's iCloud activation servers, it appears that they may be taking advantage of an SSL bug that is present in iTunes for Windows, as noted by iPhone in Canada, who spoke to security researcher Mark Loman about the issue. The previously disclosed issue was fixed in iOS 7.0.6 and OS X 10.9.2, but it appears that iTunes for Windows is still affected.After looking into some claims of the jailbreak community, Mark Loman decided to do some investigating of his own and made a

Government Officials Praise 'Activation Lock' Feature of iOS 7 Following Public Release

A pair of prosecutors, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, have been pressing Apple for months over a rash of thefts of mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads. Gascón in particular had been pushing for a 'kill switch' that could permanently disable stolen iOS devices. Today, Gascón and Schneiderman praised Apple's release of the Activation Lock feature in iOS 7, calling it the "world's first attempt to implement a technological solution to the global smartphone theft epidemic". "After months of pressure from a global coalition of elected officials and law enforcement agencies, we are pleased that Apple is set to release a new mobile operating system that includes a theft deterrent feature called Activation Lock. This is an important first step towards ending the global epidemic of smartphone theft. “In the months ahead, it is our hope that Activation Lock will prove to be an effective deterrent to theft, and that the widespread use of this new system will end the victimization of iPhone users, as thieves learn that the devices have no value on the secondary market. We are particularly pleased that – because Activation Lock is a feature associated with Apple's new operating system as opposed to a new device – it will be available to consumers with older phone models who download the free upgrade.The release goes on to note that while Activation Lock is a "step forward", it is ultimately too early to tell if it will cut down on the so-called "Apple Picking"

San Francisco District Attorney Impressed by iOS 7's Activation Lock Feature

After news that government officials would be testing the efficiency of iOS 7’s Activation Lock against thieves, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has come out in support of the feature, saying that “clear improvements” have been made to stop criminals, according to the San Francisco Examiner. Last week, Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman brought in security experts from the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center to test out Apple’s Activation Lock feature as well as Absolute Software’s Lojack service on the Samsung Galaxy S4 in order to determine how effective they are against thieves."I'm very optimistic that they came and were willing to share their technology with us," Gascón said in a statement, also noting that Microsoft and Google had not yet come forth with their plans to combat theft. Gascón did not detail how the specific features work, explaining that they were not yet finished.Both attorneys called for the tests as a part of the Secure Our Smartphone (S.O.S) program that aims to stop the theft and black market resale of stolen mobile devices. While carriers have already established a database to track stolen phones, it has proven to be largely futile. Prior to these tests, Gascón and Schneiderman called for smartphones to have a kill switch that would disable them in the event of theft. Announced at WWDC, Activation Lock is set to be included in iOS 7, which is expected to be released to consumers this

Government Officials Bring in Security Experts to Test iOS 7's Activation Lock Feature

After launching an investigation into the anti-theft practices of smartphone manufacturers like Apple, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón will today test how Apple’s Activation Lock feature holds up against determined thieves, reports CNET. First introduced at WWDC, Activation Lock is designed to prevent Find My iPhone from being deactivated, which keeps stolen iPhones from being wiped and reactivated. The feature is included in iOS 7, which is expected to be released to consumers this fall. Gascón and Schneiderman are planning to bring in security experts from the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center to attempt to bypass Activation Lock in order to gain access to an iPhone. The security team will also test the Lojack for Android software on a Samsung Galaxy S4."While we are appreciative of the efforts made by Apple and Samsung to improve security of the devices they sell, we are not going to take them at their word," Schneiderman and Gascón said in a joint statement. "Today we will assess the solutions they are proposing and see if they stand up to the tactics commonly employed by thieves."The two officials have pushed for greater anti-theft measures from cell phone manufacturers after a spike in mobile device thefts. While carriers agreed last year to develop a centralized database to track stolen phones, it has proven to be largely ineffectual. Both Gascón and Schneiderman have stated that they believe Activation Lock is an inadequate theft deterrent and Gascón has urged Apple to implement

iOS 7's 'Activation Lock' Delivers Cautious Optimism to Officials Concerned Over Mobile Device Thefts

One of the new iOS 7 features introduced by Craig Federighi at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote yesterday was Activation Lock, which aims to reduce the appeal of Apple devices to thieves by preventing stolen phones from being activated by new users.There's one feature I want to talk about in a little more detail, which is Activation Lock. So, hundreds of millions of use Find My iPhone to find our phone when it's just lost in the couch, or maybe left at Starbucks, but also when it's been stolen. And now, with Activation Lock, if a thief tries to turn off Find My iPhone, or if they even wipe the device entirely, they will not be able to reactivate it because they don't know your iCloud user name and password. We think this is going to be a really powerful theft deterrent. Apple's announcement comes just days before a summit scheduled by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón in which the officials are to meet with representatives of Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft to discuss issues related to mobile device theft. The officials have been pushing manufacturers and carriers to find ways to disable stolen devices in hopes of making them less desirable to thieves. As noted by the Associated Press, Schneiderman and Gascón released a statement yesterday addressing Apple's activation lock and noting they are cautiously optimistic about the announcement while waiting to hear more details about how it works."We are appreciative of the gesture made by Apple to address smartphone theft. We reserve judgment