When Apple launched iOS 7, it deployed a new feature called “Activation Lock” that helped to prevent the resale of stolen iPhones. An iPhone owner had to manually remove it if he or she wanted to sell the device, requiring the correct iTunes username and password to do so. Now it’s missing.
MacRumors recently spotted that Apple’s iCloud page for Activation Lock is down, as is the entire service. It’s unclear why it’s gone or if Apple plans to keep this as a permanent change. My guess is that Apple’s working behind the scenes on a fix for an issue that’s been floating around for a bit now.
Activation Lock was broken
When I reset my iPhone 6s Plus to buy an iPhone 7 Plus last year, for example, Activation Lock gave me someone else’s account information to verify. Without knowing the password for an email address I’d never seen, I looked like I was trying to trade-in an iPhone that belonged to someone else. Only after speaking with a manager and showing my original iPhone 6s Plus receipt was I able to have that screen bypassed.
Of course, I had not stolen the iPhone, but it appeared that way because Apple’s systems malfunctioned. I wonder if perhaps Apple has taken them down to fix this bug, or to launch a new and improved product. We’ll let you know if the company clarifies what’s going on.