Watch out for iCloud/Activation Lock When Buying Used iPhone/iPod/iPad

Activation Lock also known as iCloud Lock has been a huge problem for many users purchasing Apple devices over the years. While it is a great feature that helps protect your iPhone, iPad and other iDevices from being stolen, it has also become another way that malicious individuals are using to extort money from buyers looking for great deals. As we all know, it’s that time of year where many Apple users are purchasing brand new iPads, iPhones, and other Apple devices for Christmas, while the older devices are getting sold in pawnshops,¬†on eBay, and other online online marketplaces like Craigslist, and Facebook yard sale groups.

We have already received many calls from our service area around Madison where people have purchased a Apple device and can’t use it due to Activation/iCloud Lock. Unfortunately there is very little that can be done about this. While there are many online resources that claim they can unlock your iPad/iPhone, these resources are illegitimate. We suggest that if you have a device that is Activation/iCloud Locked that you don’t waste your hard earned money on these malicious websites.

What you should know when buying a used iPad/iPhone or other apple device online

When buying these devices online, it is difficult to know if they are going to be Activation Locked or not. The best course of action is to make sure you are as protected as possible and have a way to get your money back if the transaction turns bad.

When purchasing online you should always

  • Purchase from a reputable site, one with buyer protections, such as eBay and Amazon. These sites allow customers to file claims for refunds if transactions go bad.
  • Purchase from a reputable seller when buying on eBay and Amazon, be sure to read the reviews from other buyers.
  • When purchasing on eBay, checkout using PayPal. Make sure you registered an account or buyer protection may be limited. If the transaction goes bad, you can file a claim on Paypal.
  • Avoid purchases that seem “too good to be true”. They usually are.

What you should know when buying a used iPad/iPhone or other apple device in person

When purchasing a used iPhone/iPad or other apple device, before money exchanges hands perform these few steps and you should have a very happy Apple experience when you start using your new to you iDevice. Be sure to perform them in order.

  1. Turn off “Find My iPhone”
  2. Removed the iCloud Account completely from the device.
  3. Perform a Reset erasing “All Content and Settings”
  4. When the device turns back on, make sure that it makes it all the way through the activation screen.

If you are selling an iPhone/iPad or other iDevice, it is always good to go ahead and complete this process before you meet with the buyer. This will help the sale go faster and if the customer has had a bad experience purchasing a device before, it will help boost their confidence with the purchase.

Carrier and Region Locks

On a side note, you should also verify region and carrier locks that the iPhone may have. While these locks wont prevent you from using many of the iPhone’s features, it may prevent you from using it with your carrier of choice. This can also apply to iPads with cellular capabilities.


If you found this post helpful to you when purchasing your iDevice, be sure to share it to others so they don’t purchase a device that they can’t use. We hope that you had a Merry Christmas, and hope that you start your New Year off great.