How to check Activation Lock Status before buying used iPhone or iPad to confirm it’s not a lost or stolen device

BY Jason

Published 2 Oct 2014

In iOS 7, Apple added an anti-theft feature called Activation Lock to the Find My iPhone service, which ties your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with your Apple ID so that your lost or stolen iOS device cannot be used or restored without the login credentials.

If you’re planning to buy a second hand or used iPhone or iPad running on iOS 7 or later then one of the things you should do is to check its Activation Lock Status to ensure that the Find My iPhone Activation Lock is turned off and the device is ready to use.

This is important as you won’t be able to use a device that has Activation Lock turned on, unless you know the Apple ID login details, and it is important to ensure that the device is not a stolen or lost device. Apple has launched a new service, which allows users to check the Activation Lock status of a device.

You can follow this guide to find out how to check the Activation Lock Status:

  • Click on this link to go to the webpage where you can check the Activation Lock status. [Note: For some strange reason this webpage works only on the desktop]

Check Activation Lock Status

  • Enter the Serial Number or the IMEI of the device you had found in the previous step.
  • Then enter the code in the image.
  • And then press Continue.
  • If you get the message informing you that the Activation Lock is on like the one seen below then you should inform the seller that they should erase the device and remove it from their account.

Activation Lock on

  • If the seller or previous owner is with you then you can ask them to enter their Apple ID and password on the Activate screen to remove the device from their account.
  • If the seller or previous owner is not present, then you can ask them to follow our guide on how to turn off Activation Lock remotely.
  • If you get the message that the Activation Lock is ‘Off’ then the device is ready to use.

Activation Lock off

This method is not completely foolproof as the seller who may have stolen or found the lost device can always give you the wrong serial number of IMEI or Serial number if you’re buying it online. So it is recommended to meet the seller in person so you can do the verification, before buying the device.

Let me know how it goes, and let me know if you’ve any questions.