Apple has removed a tool that allowed iPhone or iPad owners to check the Activation Locked status on iCloud.com. Users were able to find out of their devices were secured with Activation Lock by entering the serial number or IMEI, and if they were, other people interested in buying them could change their mind about purchasing a device that locked.
Anyone who bought a used iPhone, iPad or iPod from was able to find out if Activation Lock had been turned off, by requesting the device’s serial number. If the seller refused to provide the serial number, it means that he/she was hiding something: either the device was lost or stolen, which means that the Activation Lock wasn’t turned off. Apple has removed the status checker from the iCloud page, as now, users get only a “Not Found” page (404 error). Even the reference to the tool was removed from the Find My iPhone support document, which contained the following:
“- 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 icloud.com/activationlock from any Mac or PC.”
Apple hasn’t given any explanation for the removal of the page, and it refuses to comment on this matter. Activation Lock is automatically turned on when you buy a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch, and it prevents thieves to use these devices without the owner’s Apple ID and password. So, if you’re planning to sell your old device, you should turn off this option, because the buyer will not be able to use the iPhone without the proof of purchase, which they could use in order to ask Apple to unlock it without knowing the original owner’s Apple ID.