The Case of the Activation Unlock Tool

I’ve seen many pundits crying this weekend about Apple’s decision to remove the website that checks to see if an iOS device has been unlocked before you buy one from a 3rd party. I mean…crying. Like, “what do I do now?” and “How am I supposed to verify that Activation Lock has been turned off before I buy something online from a stranger?” Gee, let me think…

In one quick move, Apple has put a damper on 3rd party selling of Apple iOS devices. Quite brilliant when you think about it. This must have been an incredible tool for folks who steal iOS devices too. Pundits don’t seem to see the world beyond their keyboards unfortunately so most of the articles I’ve read this weekend where all about how this negatively impacts them.

My guess would be that a lot of the serial numbers that were used on the Activation Check site were actually reported stolen. I have to believe that Apple has a database of those serial numbers. Does Apple have a legal right to report the IP addresses of those lookups if they are linked to a stolen device? I have to believe they do. Lets assume for a second that as of this post, they do not.

Perhaps, they took the site down to add functionality that does just that.

In any event, Apple is always striving to expand the customer experience so if you think they are doing something to purposely adversely affect you, the user, then you are probably only fooling yourself.

I’m betting they are working on something that will make the experience better and help catch a few thieves along the way.

(image from

Update: It seems that there was a pretty good reason for taking this down. Damn, I’m good.