Apple disabled an iCloud tool that let you check whether or not a device was stolen or lost.
Apple appears to have disabled a tool that helps buyers of pre-owned iOS devices check to see if the devices have been lost or stolen.
Find My iPhone Activation Lock— which can disable stolen a iPhone, iPad, iPod or Apple Watch— previously included a feature that let people find out whether the lock had been activated by typing in the device’s serial number online. That option, accessed from an iCloud page, appears to have disappeared over the weekend, according to MacRumors.
As of Monday afternoon the website that previously displayed the Activation Lock checker (icloud.com/activationlock) resulted in an error. And as MacRumors notes, the reference to the status checker appears to have been removed from the Activation Lock support page. The page still offers advice to prospective owners of used iOS devices, including a warning not to “take ownership of any used iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch until it’s been erased.”
Unless the seller of a pre-owned device provided its serial number to the prospective buyer in advance, however, the activation lock checker would have been of little use as verification that the device was not stolen. Still, it’s unclear why Apple removed the functionality. A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Introduced with iOS 7 as a way to deter theft, Activation Lock has frequently served as a target for hackers. In 2014, a team of hackers published a workaround that requires users to plug a bricked device into their computer and alter the “hosts” file inside. The iPhone or iPad is then tricked into connecting to the hacked server, which unlocks the gadget.
Another loophole involving the iOS Wi-Fi login system was discovered last month.