Apple introduces new iCloud tool that can tell you if an iPhone is stolen or not

Callum Tennent
October 2, 2014

Cloud computing is rapidly expanding, and one of the greatest developments the advancement of this technology has brought us is iCloud.

The thing is, it’s not necessarily the ability to save files and data to some magic, ethereal storage space that’s the most impressive thing about iCloud (although that’s definitely pretty cool).

Most iOS users are at their most grateful for the existence of the Cloud when it comes to a lost or stolen device: find My iPhone is incredible, and an enormous saver of both time and money. Simply set up the app/programme (depending on what operating system you’re using) on your computer, enter in your relevant details and you’ll be instantly shown the current, or last known, location of your iOS device. We’re living in the future.

Apple has taken the concept one step further. Now, when purchasing an iPhone second-hand you can use iCloud to find out if the device is stolen. To do so, just head to this web page. There you’ll be asked to enter the IMEI or unique serial number of the device in question. It will then tell you if that device has its Find My iPhone Activation Lock on or off, meaning you’ll know if it currently has an owner or not.

Sadly, if the search informs you that the device is currently registered to another user ID there’s no way to contact the owner to inform them that you’re in possession of their device. If you’re feeling like going the extra mile to be a good Samaritan you could probably contact Apple about the incident quoting the IMEI/serial number, but it’s a shame that there isn’t an easier way of going about things.

Still, at least you can now be sure you’re not about to accidentally become an accessory to a crime.

About the Author

Callum Tennent

International playboy/tech journalist.

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