Google employee sells Apple iMac, can see its location three years later

“When buying a used Apple computer, make sure the previous owner has signed out of iCloud,” David Murphy reports for PC Magazine. “If not, he or she might be able to keep tabs on the old device.”

“Google product manager Brenden Mulligan found this out the hard way. As he writes in a Medium post, Mulligan sold an iMac on Craigslist three years ago,” Murphy reports. “But he still has access to the computer via Apple’s Find My iPhone feature because the person he sold the system to never actually tried to use iCloud.”

“Since the system was still registered to his iCloud account, Mulligan could have it play a sound at any point, lock down the computer entirely, or erase its contents—all powers you probably don’t want a system’s former owner to have,” Murphy reports. “That’s in addition to the aforementioned location tracking.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Selling or giving away a Mac? Check out Apple’s support document: What to do before you sell or give away your Mac.

14 Comments

    1. Sounds more like the user after purchasing didn’t bother to ‘wipe’ the computer before he/she used it. As far as we know the new user has access to all the Google employee’s ‘deep’ settings also.

  1. Before I sell my Macs, I wipe clean (7-pass formatting; call me paranoid) and re-install the OS. I give it to the new owner as I got it from Apple — unconfigured, waiting for customer’s personal info.

    If I get a second-hand Mac from someone for permanent use, I don’t even look at how it is configured; I Option+boot the machine, select the maintenance partition to boot from, then wipe and re-install.

    To have a product manager at Google not being aware of the need to do this before giving your Mac to a stranger is quite difficult to imagine.

            1. Hey, you asked for a reason. 😀 My scenario is reasonably realistic.

              I don’t think the person that sold it really thought the buyer would continue to use it as is.

  2. Remember back when you could easily take the HD out of a Mac laptop, Mini or Mac Pro and swap them out? Used to always swap out the HD and install a clean version of OS X before selling a Mac.
    Maybe Apple should revert to that capability.

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