Apple recently released a tool that lets anyone check the Activation Lock status of iOS devices. Introduced along iOS 7, Activation Lock is a security feature that prevents anyone from erasing or activating your iOS device without entering your Apple ID and password first. The feature must be disabled before a device is passed or sold to another person. Failure to do so renders the device unusable for the new owner.
With the release of this new tool, Apple wants to make the process of checking for Activation Lock easier, and prevent people from buying a device that might have been locked because it was lost, stolen, or simply because the previous owner forgot remove the device from his account.
Turned on by default on any iOS device with iCloud enabled, this security feature has actually been praised by law enforcement agencies for curbing iPhone thefts in certain metropolitan areas.
By going to iCloud.com/ActivationLock, anyone can enter the IMEI or Serial Number of an iOS device to check its status. If the device is locked, a message clarifies that the current user’s Apple ID and password will be required before anyone else can activate and use the device.
If Activation Lock is turned off, then Apple gives the green light, noting the device is ready to set up and use.
Although there are already other ways to check the Activation Lock status of a device, this tool will undoubtedly be useful to anyone about to purchase a new iOS device, assuming they know about the existence of this webpage. It is unclear when Apple made this Activation Lock check available but it appears to be very recent.
We wrote extensively about Activation Lock and Find My iPhone in the past. If you’re interested to learn more about how you can secure your iOS device, you may want to peruse the following posts: