In the old days, when you lost your computer/phone, the criminals would wipe them, then sell them. And in that case, you worry more about your private data rather than that physical device.
iCloud, is Apples attempt to keep your data secure as well as making a stolen device useless.
If an iPhone got stolen and the criminal tried to restore to factory settings, your Apple device would check with Apple server see if it had old owners Apple ID logged on, if so, then you would promoted with username and password in order to activate your iPhone/iPad , which is called iCloud lock.
However, there are still many Apple devices get stolen everyday in New Zealand and there are still many people buying and selling iCloud devices. This prompted a need for iCloud unlock.
Fortunately, Apple didn’t make this process easy. Basically there are three kinds of devices and unlocking process are all different. Let’s start from easiest one to the most difficult one, so you know how to keep your devices and data safe, and what to do to stop the crime.
1. MacBooks. This is the easiest one, because it is open hardware platform, it uses normal Intel processor, normal IBM x86 PC compatibility and can run Microsoft Windows on it. There are many devices could be purchased on eBay which simply hook on MacBooks chip/motherboard to wipe Apple ID information directly. But serial number is associated with that Apple ID, so Apple still could track it down when a criminal logs onto his own Apple ID, unfortunately this information is not shared with New Zealand Police.
2. iPads. This one would require micro-soldering and logic board work on it. In the last 10 years, it is simply remove the nand chip and change it’s serial number, and it is unlocked. Since the release of iOS 11, Apple is doing more hardware check on the device when it is trying to activate, so it is become harder, you would need a real iPad serial number that is not iCloud locked (along with other things) to be able to unlock it.
3. iPhones. This is not very doable by an average micro-soldering technician or expert, you basically need to exchange NAND chip, CPU, baseband CPU and EPROM chip with an iPhone that doesn’t have iCloud on.
By all three points listed above, there are pitfalls and problems if you just do these, which I wouldn’t disclose here, as I don’t want to prompt crime.
As you can see, the skill level required on unlocking iPhone means that you don’t have to bother with stolen devices if you are a skilled technician because you can already make plenty of money by doing daily logic board repairs.
How can you make your device safe?
- Record the IMEI number, serial number right now, and report to the Police and your service provider (spark/2degrees etc.) if it ever get stolen.
- Sign it in with your Apple ID, and turn on “find my iPhone/iPad/Mac”.
- For macbook, you would need to set a firmware password as well, Google it, and set it, you won’t regret.
What if you bought an iCloud locked device?
Return it and get the refund, no matter how cheap it is, it is most likely a stolen device. You should report to the Police as well.
Of course, there are locked devices sold by brokers which were damaged and were a part of an insurance claim, you still shouldn’t buy this as you don’t have any need for it.
But can I unlock it if I bring it to you?
No, I won’t unlock your iCloud locked devices without you providing your ID and the proof of ownership, and it is not cheap.
Let’s stop the crime together and make a safer community , because your own device might get stolen and you don’t want the criminal unlock it and sell it at market value, do you?