There is some bad news for second hand iPhone, iPad and iPod touch buyers as Apple has removed its Activation Lock status checker from iCloud.com. This means users will no longer be able to find out if their device is locked or unlocked before they purchase a second hand device.
Prior to this, buyers could use iCloud to check the IMEI or serial number of a device being sold online by sellers like eBay or re-sellers to see if the Apple device was locked by another Apple account or not. This mechanism would help users from buying devices that were locked.
However, Apple did not issue any statement explaining why it removed the page. The iPhone-maker had introduced the Activation Lock status checker in 2014 to help second hand buyers as some of the devices could have been stolen. The activation lock introduced after iOS 7 prevented smugglers or thieves from reactivating a device after wiping it clean.
The lock also helped prevent anyone else from using your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or even Apple Watch if it is lost or stolen. The device can only be accessed when the correct credentials like Apple ID and password are entered. However, a researcher in 2016 reportedly proved that it was possible to bypass the system on an iPad by flooding Wi-Fi logins with long character strings and repeatedly opening and closing a Smart Cover.
A number of new iPhone buyers experienced an Activation Lock issue in 2016 where their device was locked to someone else's Apple ID. Apple ultimately disabled the Activation Lock for affected users after it was provided with proof of purchase. It is unclear how the company plans to help those who want to buy refurbished iPhones legally from re-sellers.