In the past, you could check the Activation Lock on a dedicated official iCloud page by entering the IMEI number. However, Apple removed it a few years back. Now the only reliable option to check a device’s Activation Lock is by having physical access to that iPhone or iPad.
But, there is a workaround that might work for some. So the tutorial below talks about that trick which involves using the Apple Support page to check the Activation Lock. If it works for you, great! If it doesn’t, you can follow these tips to check Activation Lock before buying a used iPhone.
About Apple’s Activation Lock checker
Apple took down a web tool that allowed anyone to check the status of the theft-deterrent Activation Lock feature. While the link to the iCloud Activation Lock webpage is now dead and the associated support document detailing Activation Lock no longer references the tool, it was discovered that potential buyers in the market for a second-hand iOS device can still check Activation Lock status by IMEI or Serial Number through Apple’s Support website.
Apple most likely took down the iCloud Activation Lock web tool for security purposes to stop hacks relying on stolen serial numbers.
iCloud Activation Lock allowed anyone to check if a used iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch was stolen. Some folks have been known to leverage the tool when reactivating a bricked device: hackers would typically enter a device’s IMEI on the now erstwhile iCloud Activation Lock webpage to decipher its serial number, then change the hardcoded serial number stored on the device to bypass Activation Lock.
How to check Activation Lock status via Apple Support pages
- Visit Apple’s Support website in your browser.
- Select iPhone from the list of devices.
- Click any search category related to hardware, like Battery or Repairs & Physical Damage, then select a specific problem like “Buttons not working.”
- On the next page, click Send in for Repair.
- On the next screen, enter your device’s serial number, IMEI, or MEID to check its Activation Lock status.
If Find My iPhone and Activation Lock are enabled on the device, you should see a message saying, “Sorry, but we can’t create a repair while Find my iPhone is active.”
If you don’t see this option listed, go back and select a different device problem.