Here’s Why Removal of Apple’s ‘Activation Lock’ Check Utility Can Be Harmful to Consumers

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Over the weekend, Apple decided to remove its otherwise helpful ‘Activation Lock’ verification utility from its iCloud website, which previously allowed users to enter an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch’s Serial or IMEI number in order to help them determine if the device is secured by Apple’s default Activation Lock feature. In this way, the utility once enabled users to determine whether or not the second-hand iPhone or iPad they’re gearing up to purchase is locked to another user, or, in other words, whether it’s a lost or stolen device.

A quick visit to the webpage previously occupied by the utility at now reveals one of Apple’s notorious ‘404 Error: Not Found’ pages, complete with that surprised, ostensibly confused looking cloud, and all.

Why Does the Removal of the Activation Lock Check Utility Matter?

What’s most disappointing about the page’s absence, of course, is that the Activation Lock utility had become a sort of “go-to” authentication method for second-hand iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch buyers, in that they could personally check if the device they’re interested in was ever lost or stolen, prior to opening up their pocketbooks. The utility was extremely helpful, for instance, when users would go to buy an iPhone or iPad on eBay or Craigslist, and, by simply asking the seller for the device’s serial or IMEI numbers, the potential buyer could enter it at to determine if the unit is the real deal or not.

In addition to the ‘404 Error: Not Found’ page, Apple also removed the following statement from its official Activation Lock Support page; and, as of Monday afternoon, the company has provided no explanation — or even so much as a comment, for that matter — in regards to the reason why the page is missing.

“How do I check for Activation Lock before purchasing a used device?

When you buy an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch from someone other than Apple or an authorized Apple reseller, it is up to you to ensure that the device is erased and no longer linked to the previous owner’s account.

You can check the current Activation Lock status of a device when you visit from any Mac or PC.”

While the absence of a viable authentication tool poses an increased danger for those who wheel and deal in the area of second-hand iPhones and iPads, its removal could also be the result of Apple’s latest security projects — as the company seeks to develop and implement newer, more advanced protocols to keep users safe.

Do you ever buy your iPhones or iPads on the second-hand market?
Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image: Kaspars Grinvalds / Shutterstock, Inc.
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