Is there a way to track down the original owner of a reported stolen iPhone?
How to Know if an iPhone is Stolen
Buying a used iPhone can be a great deal, but only if the device is not stolen. The last thing you want is to get into trouble with the law or lose your money after buying a stolen iPhone. Unfortunately, stolen iPhones are not always obvious, and it can be hard to determine their true origin. In this article, we’ll share some tips that will help you identify if an iPhone is stolen before you buy it.
1. Check the IMEI Number
The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number is a unique identifier that is assigned to each mobile device. You can check the IMEI number of an iPhone by going to Settings > General > About or by dialing *#06# on the phone dialer. Once you have the IMEI number, you can check it against a database of stolen phones.
There are several websites that offer IMEI checking services for free or a small fee. Some popular IMEI checkers include:
If the IMEI number of the iPhone you want to buy is reported as lost or stolen, it’s best to avoid buying it.
2. Check the Activation Lock Status
The Activation Lock is a security feature that Apple introduced with iOS 7 to prevent thieves from stealing and reselling Apple devices. When you enable the Activation Lock on your iPhone, it locks your device to your iCloud account, and the thief cannot activate or use the phone without your Apple ID and password.
To check the Activation Lock status of an iPhone, go to iCloud.com/activationlock and enter the IMEI or serial number of the device. If the Activation Lock is enabled, the website will tell you that the device is protected by an Activation Lock, and you should not buy it unless the seller can provide proof that they are the rightful owner.
3. Check the iPhone’s Warranty Status
If an iPhone is stolen, the thief may try to sell it before the original owner realizes it’s missing. To avoid detection, the thief might try to transfer the warranty to their name. Therefore, it’s essential to check the warranty status of any device you want to buy.
To check the warranty status of an iPhone, go to Apple’s website and enter the device’s serial number. If the warranty is still valid and is in the previous owner’s name, it could be a sign that the iPhone is stolen.
4. Check the iPhone’s Activation Date
By checking the iPhone’s activation date, you can determine whether the device has been in use for a long time or not. The activation date tells you when the iPhone was first activated with a carrier. To find the activation date of an iPhone, go to Settings > General > About and scroll down until you see the “Activation Date” field.
If the activation date is recent, and the seller claims to have been using the iPhone for a while, it could be a red flag. The seller might be lying about their ownership or might have stolen the device recently.
Buying a stolen iPhone not only puts you at risk of legal implications but also can result in you losing your hard-earned money. Therefore, it’s crucial to be vigilant and check the IMEI number, Activation Lock status, warranty status, and activation date of the device you want to buy.
By following these tips, you can be confident that the iPhone you buy is legitimate and not stolen.