With so many companies as well as individuals now beginning to count the cost of the recent riots across the UK, it’s impossible to overlook the one product that seemed to be most popular amongst those looting — smartphones.

Apple’s iPhone was one of those to see huge numbers begin appearing on Cragislist and other online marketplaces. Macworld UK went to the major carriers and asked just what would become of the stolen handsets.

The answer? They’re worthless…

As Macworld points out, once stores have checked their inventory and discovered which handsets are missing, they will be able to inform carriers to add their IMEI numbers to an Equipment Identity Register. This will stop any of that network’s SIM cards working in the handset within 24 hours.

From here, the IMEI will be added to the Central Equipment Identity Register which stops any network’s SIM card from working in a stolen handset, with a 48 hour window.

Now, the only way to use such a phone would be to ship them abroad, which we somehow doubt your average knucklehead looter will be willing to do.

There’s another consideration here, too. If a SIM card that is attached to a contract is used in a stolen phone, the user then runs the risk of giving authorities a heads-up as to who they are and where they live.

Wouldn’t that be a shame.

  • Ken

    At least they can use these iphones as ipod touch.

    • Bhavin

      Exactlyyyy :))

  • However, everyone knows that it is possible to change one iPhone’s IMEI. Even though that’s not a nice thing to do, there are people out there that do that. The best way to avoid this is never to discuss how it’s actually done on forums & stuff but somehow people do insist on teaching these stuff…

  • Yeah, I guess they’d just be ipods… But hypothetically, wouldn’t the minute they connect to a WiFi the device would be traceable by ‘Find my iPhone”? Apple should be able to locate them once they’re on the grid.

    • The free APPLE service only works if LOCATION is on/activated – on any iDevice – JailBroken or Not!
      So all they do is turn off the LOCATION service and then connect to WiFi.
      I’ve tested this with a JailBroken iPad2 + iPod Touch 4th Gen and Non JailBroken iDevices and it works! It’s a fact the moment they turn on LOCATION it’s a dead giveaway!

      • Simon

        No… It’s perfectly possible to triangulate a phone’s position from the 3 nearest mobile masts. The police have been doing this for years.

  • Alex

    @ Flá Sozzi It’s not possible to change the IMEI on an iPhone except with a baseband bootrom exploit. As in not since the 2G days and maybe 3G IIRC. Nice try. That and the fact that it’s blatantly illegal.

    • James210

      Hmm do you think someone who stole the phone in the 1st place cares of it’s blatanly illegal?

  • Jared floyd

    Just an expensive iPod

  • rdqronos

    What does the article mean “with a 48 hour window”

    • Hussain1Zak

      It means within 2 days the phone will be blocked after the IMEI has been registered with the authorities.

  • Applesostoopid

    Jailbreak it , download exselise into Cydia, an download UDID Faker it’s a wrap apple looses 1more time to the jailbreaking comunity !

    • brian

      but again, as soon as they connect it to the Internet in anyway, they would be traced. the only way around that would be to download and install your own bundle and install and run it with it built in to the ipsw. and thats still slightly risky.

    • Brian

      UDID != IMEI
      UDID is used by apps and as an ID for Apple’s use, IMEI are used by carriers.

  • zikki

    i can buy some loot stuff.lolz

  • Ethan

    I guess you will find those iPhones somewhere in China by next week.

  • Amit

    Gevey is the option??

  • Hick

    Just sell them to al-quaida and them Taliban that’s alls you do.

  • babeh

    so there will super locked then :p
    i dont think so.

  • jsdillion

    they will apply alqaeda break on it and they will kick their boots in a room

  • ic0edx

    Will it only be for Uk carriers. If you put a US sim will it work?

    • John

      Why do u want to know?

  • Me

    I doubt the people selling these really care whether they are useless or not. They’ll still sell them, and it’ll be the buyer that finds this out the hard way. And given the type that were looting and sell stolen goods on public e-markets, I’m guessing the buyer won’t be too hasty about complaining and asking for a refund.

    Well, not if they like the use of 2 unbroken legs, anyways.

  • AM

    lol it’s a good idea to ship them out of europe if there’s a good deal of them(at leadt ten i guess…)
    probably to US/CA/CHINA…..ppl can easily figure out ways to avoid the inconviences