Apple removes tool that lets you check if an iPhone has been stolen

Apple has removed an iCloud.com feature that had allowed users to check whether an iPhone had ever entered an ‘Activation Locked’ status, according to a report originally stemming from MacRumors.

The tool had allowed users to enter the serial number or IMEI of an iOS device in order to find out if its Activation Lock feature had been activated in the past. In turn, this allowed those interested in buying a second-hand iPhone or iPad to avoid inadvertently purchasing a stolen product. While most iOS users likely aren’t familiar with this feature of iCloud, it’s very popular in the grey market smartphone reselling space present primarily on Kijiji and Craigslist.

Navigating to icloud.com/activationlock leads visitors to one of Apple’s standard 404 “Note Found” page instead of the tool, which had existed for several years.

Most stores that accept used iPhones for trade-in, like EB Games for example, require current owners to disable Activation Lock being handing over their device.

It’s unclear why Apple opted to remove the feature, but it’s possible the tech giant has a opted to pull the app in preparation to eventually relaunch it with new features, a move the company frequently makes.

Update: Apple’s Activation Lock website reportedly played a significant role in a recent bypass hack used to unlock devices bricked by the lock system, perhaps hinting at why Apple shelved it.

Via: Macrumors