iPhone and iPad

Buying a Used iPhone? Check If It’s Been Activation Locked

Dave LeClair 02-06-2016

Buying something used 5 Insider Secrets Of Buying Used Electronics Used electronics can be an amazing deal. You can also end up screwed, though, which is why it's important to know what to look for when buying used electronics. Read More 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 How to Be Frugal While Still Enjoying Tech & Gadgets Just because you're being frugal doesn't mean you can't enjoy tech! Here are some tips on how to not break the bank with tech purchases. Read More , 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 Update Or Restore Your Jailbroken iPhone Or iPad To Stock The Right Way You've had your fun flouting Apple's restrictions, and now you want vanilla iOS back in all its glory. Luckily the process is even easier than jailbreaking. Read More and turn off Find My iPhone How to Track and Locate Your iPhone Using Location Services You can track your iPhone and share or find its location using the iPhone Location Services feature. We show you how. Read More 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 icloud.com/activationlock 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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