If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and start using Activation Lock, an indispensable security feature that prevents anyone from activating your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad without having access to your Apple ID or password.
Activation Lock also puts the burden on you to ensure that the device you’re buying is erased and no longer linked to the previous owner’s account. In this tutorial, you will learn how to quickly check the current Activation Lock status of any iOS device using Apple’s web tool.
What does Activation Lock do?
With Activation Lock, your Apple ID and password will be required before anyone can:
- Turn off Find My iPhone on your device
- Erase your device
- Reactivate and use your device
How does Activation Lock work?
When you enable Find My iPhone on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch, your Apple ID gets securely stored on Apple’s activation servers and linked to your device.
“From that point on, your password will be required before anyone can turn off Find My iPhone on your device, erase your device, or reactivate and use your device,” according to Apple.
How can do I enable Activation Lock?
Activation Lock is automatically enabled when you turn on Find My iPhone on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Likewise, disabling Find My iPhone on an iOS device or removing the device from the mobile Find My iPhone app or the web interface at icloud.com/find will automatically disable Activation Lock protection.
As a bonus, turning Find My iPhone on or off on an iPhone paired to an Apple Watch will also change the status of Activation Lock on that watch. Keep in mind that Activation Lock works with the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 7 or later and the Apple Watch with watchOS 2 or later.
Is Activation Lock available on the Mac?
No, Find My Mac does not support Activation Lock.
How to check Activation Lock status of your iPhone or iPad
1) Open a web browser on any Mac or Windows PC, and visit the icloud.com/activationlock webpage.
2) In the IMEI or Serial Number field, type in the IMEI or serial number of your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Apple Watch that you wish to check the Activation Lock status for.
Tip: IMEI and serial numbers are available in Settings → General → About.
3) Type the verification code and click Continue.
If Activation Lock has been enabled for your device, you will receive an “Activation Lock: On” message with a note saying that this Apple ID and password will be required to activate the device before it can be used.
4) Click Check Another Device to check the Activation Lock status for your other iPhone, iPod touch or iPad devices, or close the browser window.
The Check Activation Lock Status webpage does not allow you to check whether the Activation Lock feature has been enabled on a Mac.
Activation Lock keeps thieves at bay
This tool is especially handy when buying a used iPhone as you can check whether it has Activation Lock enabled. It’s also a proven theft-deterrent because stealing an iOS device protected with Activation Lock is basically like stealing a very expensive brick.
And the last piece of advice: don’t forget to turn off Find My iPhone in Settings → iCloud before giving away or selling your device. Otherwise, Activation Lock will continue working in the background, meaning the new owner won’t be able to reactivate their new device without your Apple ID password.
Sebastien has put together step-by-step instructions on verifying the status of Activation Lock when buying a used iOS device by other means.
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