Use iCloud to buy a second-hand iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

iPhone comes out of a 'bygone era'

By Aaron Mamiit

Users that are looking to buy a second-hand iPhone, iPad or iPod touch are recommended to first make sure that the device is not stolen using a new iCloud tool released by Apple.

As the popularity of Apple’s mobile devices continue to increase, theft of the devices also continues as the demand and prices also rise.

Apple released the new tool that allows users to check the activation lock status of an Apple mobile device being sold to see if it has been stolen or if it legitimately belongs to the person selling the item.

“Before you purchase an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch from somebody else, make sure that Find My iPhone Activation Lock is turned off and the device is ready for you to use,” said Apple on the tool that can be accessed as an iCloud service.

To use the tool, users will only have to enter the IMEI or serial number of the Apple device that is being sold, along with an authentication code that prevents bots from spamming the page.

Apple explains that all the company’s mobile devices have a unique serial number, and those with cellular connectivity also have a unique IMEI, or International Mobile Equipment Identity, number. The information can be accessed by going to the device’s Settings app, choosing the General option, and then choosing the About option.

For the iPad and iPod touch, the serial number is also engraved on the device’s back case. iPads with cellular connectivity will also have their IMEI number engraved beside the serial number.

For iPhone 5 and later, the IMEI number is also engraved on the phone’s back case. However, for iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4 (GSM) and 4s, the serial number and IMEI are located on the phone’s sim tray.

Users can also access a device’s serial number and IMEI number by connecting the device to their computer and loading iTunes, which will display the information when the device is selected and the Summary option is accessed.

While buyers can just personally check if a device unlocks, that is not a true indication if a device is not stolen. This is because hackers have found out a way back in May to bypass the activation lock screen that is shown on stolen devices. However, while the activation lock is bypassed, the device will nt be able to connect to a network because it is still tagged as a stolen device in Apple’s database.

The new tool released by Apple will allow users to check if the device has been stolen even before meeting up with the seller. Users will also get the opportunity to report the seller to authorities if the device is revealed to be a stolen device without compromising the user’s security by physically being in the vicinity of the seller of the stolen Apple device.