Buying a Used iPhone? Check If It’s Been Activation Locked
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Buying something used can be a great way to save a bit of money. In the case of an iPhone, you’re talking about a very expensive piece of technology, so getting one that’s been used can cut the cost tremendously. But it’s not without risk.

Even if the phone itself powers on and appears to work at first glance, it could be activation locked. This means that it’s password protected on someone else’s iCloud account.

Don’t worry, though, because you can check the activation status of the device quickly and easily with the device’s IMEI number!

If you’re in person, you don’t need to worry about anything, as you can simply have the seller wipe the phone and turn off Find My iPhone to unbind it from their account. If the phone is stolen and locked to someone else’s account, they won’t be able to do it — and you can save your money.


If you’re buying online, you can look up the device’s activation status. Ask the seller for the IMEI number, and go to on a Mac or PC. Then, enter the number, type in the verification code, and click Continue.

If it’s locked, that means the phone is bound to another account. You can ask the seller to wipe the phone completely, and if it’s theirs, that will unbind it. Do the process above again once they’ve done it to make sure it’s ready to go.

If it’s still not, then it’s best not to buy the phone from that person.

Have any horror stories of buying used electronics? Any tips to avoid getting ripped off? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Billion Photos via ShutterStock

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