Activation Lock

Apple likely took down iCloud Activation Lock to stop hacks relying on stolen serial numbers

As we reported, Apple recently took down its tremendously useful Activation Lock webpage for reasons unknown. The theft-deterrent tool allowed legitimate iOS device owners and just about anyone else to check the status of the Activation Lock feature by entering a serial number. Apple provided no explanation for the removal, but all checks point to it being a precautionary measure meant to prevent hacks relying on stolen serial numbers, as a reader pointed out in comments.

For reasons unknown, Apple takes down theft-deterrent Activation Lock web tool

Apple recently took down its web tool for checking if a used iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch was stolen. The firm gave no explanation for the move.

The link to the Activation Lock webpage no longer works and the support document detailing the feature does not contain any reference to the web tool as of January 24. It was unclear at post time if a new version of the tool might be returning in the future in one form or another.

iOS 10.1.1 bug allows researchers to bypass Activation Lock protection on iPhone and iPad

Back in November, India-based security researcher Hemanth Joseph discovered a bug in iOS 10.1 which permitted him to bypass Apple’s anti-theft Activation Lock feature by entering an excessively long string of characters in the Wi-Fi setup text fields.

Apple has patched the flaw in iOS 10.1.1 but now, as noted by SecurityWeek, researchers at Vulnerability Lab have managed to find another method of bypassing Activation Lock protection on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with iOS 10.1.1 and they posted video evidence to prove it.

Apple reposts iOS 9.3 for older devices bricked by Activation Lock

Shortly after releasing the new iOS 9.3 firmware, Apple was forced to stop signing the update following numerous complaints from owners of older iPhones and iPads, such as the original iPad Air and the iPhone 5s and older, that it was bricking their devices.

Monday, Apple re-released iOS 9.3 to fix an issue that prevented users from activating their device via Activation Lock if they couldn’t recall their Apple ID password used to originally set up their device with.

The re-released versions of iOS 9.2 carries a build number of 13E237 and is now available as an over-the-air download although those with a bricked device might want to apply the update through iTunes in DFU mode.

Apple releases a new iOS 9.3 build for older devices affected by the bricking issue

As we reported, numerous users took to Apple’s support forums to complain that some owners of older iPhone and iPad devices saw their hardware bricked after updating to the recently released iOS 9.3 firmware. Apple has since detailed the problem in a support document on its website and pulled the software update for select devices.

Today, the company has re-released iOS 9.3 for those devices. The new build of iOS 9.3 for the iPad 2 has version number “13E236” versus the now defunct iOS 9.3 build “13E234” for the iPhone and “13E233” for the iPad, as per 9to5Mac’s Chance Miller.

Apple support document addresses activation issues some users may encounter after updating to iOS 9.3

Apple has released a support document Wednesday night to address an issue where some iOS users are unable to activate their devices after updating to iOS 9.3, a software version released earlier this week.

Most reports of the issue seem to come from iPad 2 owners, although a quick search online shows that some iPhone users were also affected. In this support document, Apple offers a few options to try and remedy the problem.

How to enable Activation Lock on Apple Watch

When Apple first shipped the Apple Watch earlier this year, its software wasn’t capable of Activation Lock—the technology that Apple uses to prevent someone from activating a lost or stolen iOS device without first validating ownership.

Activation Lock is a feature that first appeared with the introducion of iOS 7. It works by preventing an iOS device from being activated after being reset without first disabling Find My iPhone. By enabling Find My iPhone, a user is effectively enabling Activation Lock, therefore providing a layer of protection against would be thieves.

When we first reported that Activation Lock didn’t ship with watchOS 1, many users were perplexed. Why wouldn’t Apple include such a feature in its popular wearable? After all, Activation Lock has been credited with reducing iPhone thefts by as much as 50% in some regions.

While we never were told exactly why Activation Lock didn’t ship with watchOS 1, chances are that it just wasn’t ready at the time. With watchOS 2, however, things have changed. As Apple promised back at WWDC 2015, Activation Lock is included with its latest watchOS update…and it works.