Activation Lock in iOS 7 is Apple’s response to mobile phone thefts

By , Jun 10, 2013

iOS 7 activation lock

For months we’ve been hearing reports of the US government calling on Apple to do something about the growing number of mobile phone thefts (particularly iPhones) in the country. And it has. Introducing one of the more interesting new features in iOS 7, Activation Lock…

Activation Lock is exactly what it sounds like. With it enabled, anyone who steals your iPhone and chooses to disable the ‘Find My iPhone’ feature won’t be able to activate the handset on a wireless carrier. The same goes if they wipe the phone—they’ll be forced to enter your Apple ID an password to activate.

It sounds like this could make a huge impact on the amount of iPhone thefts we see moving forward, barring of course someone figuring out a workaround—something those of us in the jailbreak community know is all too possible. But if nothing else, it’s a step in the right direction.

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  • Boss

    Some nerd will get away around it

    • Jackson Grong

      Currently there is no way around activation EVEN if you can jailbreak the firmware on 4S/5!

      • Gorgonphone

        lolo okay the the iPod intusty just got alot larger..lol

      • Erny Carrillo

        Thats why there are prepaid plans that do activate bad esn or stolen iphones.

      • Jonathan L. James

        No it doesn’t work that eay

    • bigzjoseph

      Don’t say that they’ll get encourage

  • Girish

    thats one hell of an idea!!!

    totaly worth praisable!!

    i just love when the crowd gave an standing ovation to IOS 7

    im very very very happi,,,THANK YOU APPLE <3

  • jose

    Damn. Lost iphone 5 last week, find my iphone took me 10 meters away… I could not retrieve it. if this was live at the time I would have screwed the thieves…. great .

    • pegger1

      If they were thieves why didn’t you call the police

      • jose

        I did , as the phone had 10 % battery it was too late because it turned off and find my iphone could not reach the device again. :(

      • Marco Urrea

        i understand you, i hate bad people :(, I would like to have them infront of me and kick their a**es

    • Bob

      Why couldn’t you retrieve it?

      You basically find out who stole it and where they live, get a couple of your friends, a getaway driver and a shotgun.

      You knock on their door. When they answer:

      You say: “Hi, I want my iPhone”

      They say: What iPhone?

      You say: “MY iPHONE, GIMME GIMME GIMME, NOW!”

      They say: F YOU

      You then take out your shotgun and aim for the head and say:

      “I TOLD YOU, I WOULD FIND YOU, I AM THE JUDGE, I AM THE JURY, I AM THE EXECUTIONER AND YOUR SENTENCE ……. DEATH!” then shoot them in the head (CHIK CHIK PSHUUUU), doesn’t have to be in this order. You have now successfully executed your iPhone thief and their brain should now be splattered everywhere.

      You then go into their house and find your iPhone, if you can’t find your phone find something of similar value. Then RUNNN to your car, then tell the getaway driver to ‘STEP ON IT’. The cops may be after you at this point so you remember to choose a good getaway driver who has sufficient experience before you go on your mission.

      Problem solved!

      • iosPixel

        GTA iPhone Wars

      • Erny Carrillo

        Perfect plan. Loved the plan

    • yader

      I feel your pain, same thing happened to me. I activated lost mode but it still says lost mode pending in find my iphone. I’ve lost hope.

    • Chuck Finley

      Loser. Be less stupid with your own property.

      • jose

        thanks for the tip , champ.

      • Chuck Finley

        Well, if you’d paid attention to advice like that you wouldn’t have lost your phone would you, dumbass?

  • B. Davis

    what happens when someone restores it after stealing it?

    • Girish

      shhhhhhhhhh :P

    • SakuRedux

      It doesn’t allow activation until your iCloud account is put in :)

    • TuNuT

      Yeah, I have the same question. Unless Apple finds a way to stop people trying to restore or to put device into DFU Mode by entering the correct ID/password before doing those actions. Otherwise this feature is useless

      • teejay87

        Apple will simply refuse to activate an iPhone whose UUID is “locked” with Find my iPhone.

      • http://twitter.com/bskzoo Brian S.

        I tried this yesterday. You cannot restore the phone until you disable “Find my iPhone.” Subsequently, you cannot disable “Find my iPhone” without the iCloud name and password associated with the phone.

        HOWEVER I haven’t tried putting the phone into DFU mode and doing it from there so who knows.

      • Robbie Cast

        can you please give it a try even go ahead and try a the full restore and see if it indeed works the only thing stopping me from upgrading it is my jailbreak app icaughtya, not worth the loss of this app if it is easily bypassable

      • B. Davis

        i did the full restore to test it out and i needed to sign in to complete it good job apple!

      • baach

        i bought iphone 5, on website, i found out it is stolen, so im experiencing this right now, and there is no way to get out lol. if you update or downgrade or hactivate. this works by blocking the IMEI Number so it doesn’t matter what you do with it unless you can change the IMEI number lol sounds Impossible. very good protecting from apple, what do i do with this phone now?

  • Marvin

    Dfu mode and you are in…or force it to Boot in safe mode…

    • Phil Randle

      It has nothing to do with software, it’s ‘activation lock’ the iCloud account is tied to the activation server at Apple.

      So theoretically the only way around it would be for someone to find a way to activate without Apple’s servers.

      Clever idea

      • Gorgonphone

        that will soon be possible

      • teejay87

        I don’t think so…
        It never been till us…

    • dedegarrido

      there is no safe mode.. only if the device is jailbroken. Activation lock doesn’t have that problem with dfu mode, because it interferes with the activation of the phone, not the restore.

      • Marvin

        Wrong, every iPhone got a safe mode, no Problem to get in on my i5 on 6.1.4

  • Techsticles

    Carriers could really disable any phone by IMEI number if they wanted to.

    • Albert

      They can but i dont think it works internationally. I think this step would prevent it worldwide…

      • Techsticles

        Good point but don’t GSM phones have IMEI numbers as well? I know my AT&T phones do.

      • Albert

        thats true, but i guess people wont be able to remember their imei when they need it. I guess if the loster can prove that its his/her iPhone by logging in and successfully reactivate the phone…

  • xavi

    Will this still work if the phone was lose last month? Because I lost my last month :( will the theft will be able to use my lose iPhone 5 Verizon :(?

    • Robbie Cast

      yes, if this happened last month you cant possibly have ios7 with this all new feature………………… unless you worked at apple with an NDA but then of course you wouldent ask us on this would you now…

      p.s. sry for being a ass but the question left you wide open for it lol :)

  • nyangejr

    now you can still my iPhone

  • Amad

    sounds good to me. I’m sure we have a lot more to find out about ios7.

  • Tom García

    Can’t you just connect the iPhone to iTunes and restore it?

    • Robbie Cast

      read the comments……

  • Yujin

    finally a way to screw thieves…

  • Maaz

    Even in Pakistan if you know where your iPhone is you cant get them because thieves here are too strong
    Police are also afraid here of thieves

  • rasengan720 .

    but what if the person who stole the phone has a apple id?

    • Jailbrkr21

      it is the one linked to the device, not any ID.

      • xavi

        So you saying the iPhone that has been lost for example my phone was lost with my apple ID the theft won’t be able to use it? Is the same apple ID from the first day I bought it? Or can be different one

      • Jailbrkr21

        I think it is just to reset the iPhone to new condition so that you can sell it, you will then be able to register a new apple ID to it. Basically you need to know the last apple ID that the devise is aligned to.

      • xavi

        Thanks for info because last month I lost my Iphone 5 Verizon I was wondering if this still be able to work after been lost or steal or it won’t work ?

      • Jailbrkr21

        you would have to get Verizon to IMEI lock the phone, there is no other way at the moment. If you have find my iphone you could have wiped all data from the device but you wouldn’t get it back.

        If you do get it back then you will still be able to use it but im not sure if possible if Verison have blocked the IMEI? They may be able to reverse it but im not sure.

    • Robbie Cast

      now it wouldn’t be a bright idea to let it work with everyone’s apple ID would it? im sure they lock it with the icloud account that was used to lock it in the first place.

  • Jailbrkr21

    Just read some comments and it seems that some are confused.

    Basically, Once a device is registered with an apple ID it will be linked to that ID even if the device is restored. After a restore you are required to enter the linked apple ID to continue any further, At this point I guess there will be an option to link a new Apple ID for when you are selling the device so that the new owner can link their Apple ID. Yes this is a great feature but It might not stop your device being stolen but will stop it being used again (until somebody figures out how to bypass activation)

    On a final note, At the moment a thief can steal an iDevice and just simply switch it off. This simple action prevents the Find My iPhone app locating the device. Why doesn’t apple prevent device shut down if the device is locked? (obviously this would require user to set a lock screen password)

    • rasengan720 .

      ah good point!

  • FrankensteinBlack

    This is a weak attempt to appease the mobile handset “know nothings” and I’m the tech nerd that can tell you how to get around it in “4 words or less”. Ask me how? Apple (and Samsung) needs to do more! Their devices despite being popular are among the weakest in this particular area. Sayin…

    • expensivelu

      Sayin’ a load of shit, that’s all you’re sayin’ – Give me an example of other handsets which are stronger in this particular area?

      • FrankensteinBlack

        Certain Nokia models BLOOOW Apple and Samsung away when it comes to device security/tampering!!

        So, who wants to know how to get around this weak attempt? And got it down to 3 words now not 4 ;^/…

      • expensivelu

        which Nokia models, and how are they much better? What do they do exactly?

      • FrankensteinBlack

        Lets just say they are much better at tamper resistance than Apple and Samsung which suck badly in this area. Which model and what type of tamper resistance? I wont say in this type of open blog comment forum…

      • expensivelu

        Exactly, cos you’re a shit talker!

      • FrankensteinBlack

        Your dirty mother is an old smelly Pirate Hooker!!

      • expensivelu

        Lol unless your going to provide any valid information to support your claim, away and kiss ass on a Nokia forum :)

  • Cesar F

    If you guys send me the UDID of ur phone i can add you in my dev account so that you can activate for real. 10$ send me an email dev@csar.co

  • reese

    anybody know what Activation Lock is tied to? the phone itself, serial number. im not a techy but im thinking u could just change the SIM card to activate. anybody?

    • expensivelu

      Do you really think they are that stupid? Of course it’s not going to allow you to activate after changing the sim, no one keeps the stolen sim in a phone :S

  • TuNuT

    Does anyone try to restore an iPhone 4 on iOS 7 back to 6.x with this feature STILL ON and use redsn0w to hackactivate to see if it can bypass or not? :-/

  • ElizabethR.

    so basically there is absolutely no way around it?

  • John714

    all one has to do is turn off handset.
    connect to the phone to itunes.
    Hold home button and on/off top button at the same time for 15 secs.
    release the on/off button while still holding home button for an additional 10 secs.
    you will now be able to restore phone to factory settings.