The market for used iPhone’s is fraught with risk, because you may end up paying hundreds of dollars for a locked off device, or worse — one that appears legit but can’t make calls. Apple has just revealed an iCloud tool to nip that in the bud by letting you check a device’s activation lock status. All you’ll need is the iPhone’s IMEI or serial number. If you’re the rightful owner, you’ll get info on how to disable any activation locks before selling.
The new iCloud tool, first spotted by iDownloadBlog, is part of Apple’s Find My iPhone service and comes presented as a dedicated page on the company’s iCloud.com website. Users are asked to enter an iOS device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) or serial number, which is then cross-checked against an internal database to ensure Activation Lock is not currently turned on for that unit. The process is useful for those purchasing secondhand iPhones, iPads or iPod touches, who need the security feature disabled to gain access to the device. As a side note, Apple has opted to use a CAPTCHA phrase to protect the site from bots.