Apple has closed its iCloud activation lock check with a possible reason to prevent a bypass method that allowed stolen devices to be reactivated at the expense of legitimate devices.
The iCloud Activation Lock occurs when an iOS device undergoes user factory reset and re-activated when it is stolen or registered to the previous owner, a popular iOS security measure that renders these devices unusable unless the registered owner’s Apple ID and password are entered. This lock is also known as the iCloud issue – a term you will hear when buying used iOS devices.
This popular feature of iOS is being shuttered down without formal explanation from Apple. However, the speculations leads to probably the Apple’s response to a reckless activation lock workaround method reported by MacRumors that allowed users to modify hardware chips for stolen activation-restricted Apple devices.
An example of the hack that they call the “Activation Lock scheme” is below:
The hack pinches a legitimate serial number from Apple users and applies it to the modified chip, allowing the activation process to continue. However, the hack resulted to some legitimate users being locked on their devices because their serial numbers are attached to someone else’s Apple ID.
It is not clear if the tampering method is behind Apple’s closure of the activation lock feature, but user reports have surfaced recently that legitimate iPhones and iPads have been inexplicably activation locked to other users’ accounts.
Lastly, to those who buy second-hand or used iOS devices, this removal doesn’t make your lives easier. Instead, it makes your lives harder because iCloud lock is still there, unless you do the hack. And to those who sells stolen devices, you are not lucky either.
However, buyers wishing to check the activation lock status of second-hand Apple devices can still do so provided they have physical access to the units through this link HERE.
We’re still waiting for Apple’s formal explanation about the shut down of their great anti-theft feature.