Buying a second-hand iPhone or iPad? Here’s how to check it has not been stolen

“Thinking of buying a second-hand iPhone or iPad? Here’s a quick and simple way to check to see if the device you are being offered has been stolen,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes reports for ZDNet.

“First off, ask the seller for the serial number and/or IMEI of the device. Ideally, get the seller to send you a photo of the information you need because it’s much tougher to fake a photo,” Kingsley-Hughes reports. “If the seller doesn’t want to give you this information, walk on by, because it’s not like there’s a shortage of iPhone and iPads out there.”

“Next, armed with this information, go to Apple’s Check Activation Lock Status page and enter the information. This will tell you if the device is activation locked. If it is, ask the seller to unlock it and try again,” Kingsley-Hughes reports. “If that doesn’t happen, walk away from the sale, because if the seller can’t unlock it, something’s up for sure.”

More info and links in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: This works for devices running iOS 7 and higher.


  1. What if the person it stolen from did not have find my iPhone turn on? Does that then mean the phone was not lost or stolen? No… it means Find my iPhone is not on.

    All this proves is whether or not the person you are trying to buy the phone from can turn it on and off or not. There are plenty of honest people out there right now that have Find My iPhone turned on right now, that do not know what it is, or how to turn it on and off. Most of them were poking around in the settings one day and turned it on. These same people are usually unable of remembering their Apple ID and password.

    The advise in this article is to walk away from these people. You may also be walking away from a good honest person that just needs 5 minutes of instruction on how to turn Find my iPhone off.

    1. Or he might be the guy in Daytona who stole my grandson’s newest model iPod given to him for his birthday. It is locked, in lost mode and active anytime it shows up on wifi. The cops used some of that info to raid the house but they got away in a stolen car.

      What a lesson for a 6 year old.

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