Activation Lock Enabled without Knowing Apple ID?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ecschwarz, Jan 15, 2017.

  1. ecschwarz macrumors 65816

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #1
    Here's a crazy story that is defying my logic after years of iOS support and keeping up with Apple's various changes over the years. I thought I'd post here because I'm at my wit's end and am trying to help out a friend who sort of grasping what is happening. Keep in mind that none of the devices in question are stolen and we're not trying to find ways to circumvent anything that Apple has in place.

    A friend of mine had an iPhone 5s through Sprint and the top portion of the screen was starting to separate from itself. She took it to the Sprint corporate store and they basically were acting as though it was intentional so she could get it replaced (I think she's on a lease). They took it in the back to their "phone repair" area and somehow when she got it back a few minutes later, the screen wouldn't turn on at all. Since she is due for a new phone in about two months, she was going to try to milk it through then, but it just was unusable at that point. I took a look at it and could not get it working.

    She got another iPhone 5s from a relative and got it set up with her Sprint service, but forgot her Apple ID password - doing the recovery option yielded nothing other than "it may be a few days to verify your account" - I'm guessing that the fallback text/notification was sent to her old phone somewhere along the process (I also don't know how someone would forget their Apple ID password, but I digress). She plugged it into her Mac (Early 2008 MacBook Pro) to copy contacts over and sync and somehow it added her iCloud account to her phone (complete with Find My Phone/Activation Lock enabled). Her thought was to create a new Apple ID and start over, but now her unknown-password Apple ID is on her phone and she couldn't get it removed anyway.

    Apple got back with her and said that it may be up to three weeks, as there wasn't enough to verify her identity (I guess the fallback Hotmail account she's using isn't receiving Apple's messages).

    The whole thing seems a bit odd to me, and I'm guessing some of this has to do with the two-factor authentication, but I'm surprised there aren't ways to re-send a verification text or verify payment options, etc. At this point, she made a new Apple ID, downloaded apps for her bank and such, and is just waiting for the next iPhone as a fresh start (she doesn't really use her computer for banking and bills because it's so old and she doesn't have home internet).

    Seeing as this has been sort of a mess already, I'm just trying to help and lessen the hassle, but obviously I don't see how someone would forget their Apple ID password since it is a regularly-used thing. We did make a few Sprint jokes at her expense, but obviously the core of the matter is that her account that she doesn't have access to ended up signed in on her phone without her directly doing it. Does anyone have any idea about what to do next other than maybe waiting three weeks?
     
  2. laudern macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #2
    So she restored a backup of her old phone which is a backup of her iCloud account. 2FA sends the sms to a phone number. So put the sim in another sprint phone and get the sms.
     
  3. ecschwarz thread starter macrumors 65816

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #3
    We tried that - when you do the account recovery now, somehow the verification is sent one time and that's it. If she goes to iforgot.apple.com and enters her email address, it still says that the account is being verified and to wait. There appears to be no way to generate an SMS again or a place to enter a code that may have come through. You also cannot start the process over. Having had to do some Apple ID recovery in the past for people, this seems new, most likely with the roll-out of two-factor authentication.

    I've enabled two-step authentication and migrated to two-factor authentication, so I'm well-versed on how it should work, provided you know your password (even the add-the-code after your password on an older device method).

    I didn't want to do an erase-and-restore again through iTunes because it would most likely send us to Activation Lock during the set up process, and as she doesn't know her password and her account is being "verified" she can't generate a new SMS and then we run the risk of her not having any working phone.
     
  4. Thor_1 macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 18, 2016
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    I had an issue restoring my new iPhone. Had to have the code texted to me 3 times, but iMessage was not setup and not allowing the code through so I finally choose to have the code sent via phone....they called and read the code to me.
     
  5. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #5
    Many weird and questionable things in this story that are false and others that dont make any sense.
    She took it to Sprint for repair. They took it in the back to repair the screen that was separating but instead they gave it back to her a few minutes later and the screen wouldn't turn on at all? In other words they broke it completely and gave it back to her useless like that? But she was ok with them completely messing up her phone and since she was due for another device in 2 months she just left the store without saying anything? What?
    What planet is this reality from?
    But since it was unusable she gave it to you to take a look at and you couldn't do anything about it either.
    And offcourse she forgot her Apple ID password.
    She got a temporary 5S to use and copied things with itunes but when she did that itunes added the icloud account and enabled find my iphone to the device?
    That is false and can never happen. The only way for her to add find my iphone to that new iphone 5S is if she enters in the correct Apple ID and password.
    Icloud activation lock and find my iphone do not get enabled automatically just by syncing with itunes or restoring a backup.
    She contacted Apple but they told her to wait 3 weeks? Her hotmail account is not receiving Apples reset instruction either.
    2 factor authentication notifications can be resend as many times as you want if you didnt receive them.
    The claim that her account that she doesn't have access to ended up signed in on her phone without her directly doing it is not possible.
    Tell her to go to a local Apple store with her ID and proof of ownership and see if they can help her.
     
  6. laudern macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 5, 2011
    #6
    Are you smelling what I'm smelling????:eek:
     
  7. ecschwarz thread starter macrumors 65816

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #7
    This is why I posted it here - I maintain iOS deployments for a living and none of this is adding up to me either. I'm all out of ideas. There are a number of things that I would've done differently if I was in her shoes, like:

    1) REMEMBER MY APPLE ID AND PASSWORD (DUH)
    2) NOT USE SPRINT OR LET THE PHONE OUT OF MY SIGHT
    3) NOT RESTORE FROM A BACKUP OF A PHONE BASED AROUND AN APPLE ID I CANNOT ACCESS

    For the record, her screen was intermittently working if she pressed on the top, and I think she was just over being at the Sprint store (after an apparent 2 hour wait) that she thought it would just work with some pressure on the right place.

    That being said, the following are true and verified:
    1) She does have access to the Hotmail account that is associated with her Apple ID and opened it on her computer in front of me. I had her check spam and deleted items and nothing from Apple came through.
    2) The second (working) phone belonged to her uncle, was completely wiped before she got it (according to her, I didn't see it) and after the iTunes sync/restore (not sure what she chose) had her iCloud account added and logged in - it makes no sense to me how it got on there because the only way it could have gotten on there is if she knew her password, which would make this whole thing a moot point.
    3) She still had her old phone active when she started the activation/setup process on the new one (was waiting on Sprint to switch the activation to the new SIM card in the new one), so her 2FA text went to the old phone, which had a non-working screen.

    You are wrong about how Apple is handling 2FA now - as stated on Apple's site about it, this is what happened:
    1) She went to iforgot.apple.com and entered her Apple ID
    2) She confirmed her phone number
    3) Apple sent the Account Recovery code (we're assuming by a buzz?) to her old phone
    4) She was prompted to enter the code at that moment on the new phone, but couldn't get the text, so she thought she'd do it later. Unfortunately, it's still showing the same text on both the new phone and visiting from a desktop browser:

    "Account Recovery Requested / Your request has been received. / When your account is ready for recovery, instructions will be sent to XXX-XXX-XXXX. / Account recovery will take a few days. You can check the status of your request at iforgot.apple.com."

    Something leads me to believe that somewhere, someone can re-send the verification text or phone call, but any attempt to do it ourselves skips the ability to send again and just goes to that message as though it's waiting on us. I don't exactly make it a habit to mess with Apple's forgotten password page, so it's been years since I've seen it. How about you?

    This reminds me a lot of when two-factor authentication first started appearing and you'd get the "someone is trying to log into your account from (whatever device) in (whatever city)" and so many people were calling BS because they hadn't seen it before.

    I really don't appreciate the backhanded and snarky remarks, as I'm trying to help someone that is obviously a bit clueless on the whole matter get things back in some sort of working order. There's nothing for me to gain by creating some crazy story, especially since I'm not trying to circumvent the normal security features (which, in light of many things going on with the world these days, I can appreciate).

    The whole point of posting here was to see if anyone had seen anything remotely like any portion of this because it has been a comedy of errors that really had me scratching my head (and I've seen some pretty messed up iOS/Apple ID situations in the past). I wanted to check if anyone had seen or dealt with anything like this (or Apple support) before sending her to the Apple Store to try to prove her identity. She's had enough frustrations (2 visits to third-party Sprint dealers before the corporate store) and I'd hate for her to make an appointment, go to the Apple Store, and then get turned away because that's something they can't handle there.
     
  8. MarkX macrumors regular

    MarkX

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2015
    Location:
    Fochabers, Scotland
    #8
    You know it's going to be good when it starts "Here's a crazy story"
     
  9. laudern macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #9
    Maybe your female friend has some d**k pics or other less flattering items on her phone and she doesn't want you or anyone getting into her stuff, so she can't "remember" the password.
     
  10. ecschwarz thread starter macrumors 65816

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #10
    You didn't happen to actually read any of the posts, did you? I had full access to the phone the entire time, so if there were any d**k pics, nothing was keeping me from getting to them. And besides, how was that your first response? Do you immediately think "dick pics" if it's a woman?

    These forums used to be a great resource, but apparently everyone is so jaded that any sort of technical discussion is off the table. I don't make it a habit to go through the Apple ID reset process regularly, so I thought I'd see if anyone knew of anything while she waits for Apple's "verification" process.
     
  11. Applejuiced, Jan 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017

    Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #11
    Like you said many of the claims above dont make sense and many of the things you're posting are not possible.
    Not sure what other info you are looking for.
    Bring it to Apple and have them sort it out.
    Sounds like you're making excuses and trying to cover up more of this crazy story as we're disputing "her" claims.
    Go to Apple with proof of ownership and ID and they can work it out. The "verification" process does not take 3 weeks.
    And no you cannot bypass icloud activated devices any other way. Not sure why you're getting upset when we tell you the reality of it. It's not even your phone right? Tell "her" there is nothing you can do to bypass it without either entering the correct Apple ID and password or asking Apple for help.
     
  12. ecschwarz, Jan 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017

    ecschwarz thread starter macrumors 65816

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #12
    I understand how activation lock works, and I never asked to bypass it. The phone is secondary at this point, as regaining access to the Apple ID would fix everything. I already told her to pester Apple's support number and make a trip to the Apple Store, but thought I'd ask in the meantime to pass along any advice or what to expect. It seems peculiar the verification process is vague and potentially lengthy. I wanted to see if anyone had any experience with account recovery after Apple moved to the current system based around the two-factor authentication. I'm guessing Apple puts you into a queue of some sort and then gets around to verification eventually.

    There is no option to re-send the verification text or email - entering the email address prompts for the trusted phone number, and then the following is displayed:

    Account Recovery in Progress
    Your request for account recovery is still being processed.
    When your account is ready for recovery, instructions will be sent to the phone number you provided.
    Account recovery will take a few days. You can check the status of your request at iforgot.apple.com

    Going to iforgot.apple.com to check the status goes through this process again.

    The original support document I linked to earlier in the thread, but after the original post (here's the URL again: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204921) states:

    "Apple Support can answer questions you have about the account recovery process, but can't verify your identity or expedite the process in any way."

    After starting this thread, I came across a post on Apple's Support Communities outlining the exact same situation - the person who made the initial post was told that it could be up to six weeks: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7627373?start=0&tstart=0

    What I'm "getting upset" about is the insinuation that I somehow am trying to get around activation lock as though the iPhone is stolen, not to mention dismissing even things that Apple has documented. I would understand if my account had a creation date of last week, but I've been on here for years and contributed quite a bit (almost 1000 posts). I was only trying to make sense of the whole situation since I don't exactly make it a habit to forgot my Apple ID password and often become the go-to Apple geek among my friends and coworkers.
     
  13. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #13
    You are linking to documents and have done plenty of research to reset the Apple ID but still didn't tell us how the device got iCloud locked with find my iPhone if she doesn't know the password?
    Because you realize what you stated above is completely false right? And it does not happen on its own.
     
  14. ecschwarz thread starter macrumors 65816

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #14
    While I can respect and appreciate that it should be completely false (I was in disbelief myself and that's what prompted me to post here), I had to channel Mythbusters and try it myself. I was able to recreate it using two unused iPhones I had available (I didn't have any 5Ses, so I went with a 6 instead) and my Mac, which was a mini running the latest versions of macOS and iTunes. I was able to recreate adding an iCloud account to a device without entering the password other than logging in to the original device.

    For the sake of keeping the test controlled, I did this with a completely new user account on my Mac and a separate Apple ID we use for testing at work (so one that has never been used with either phone before the tests). The steps are as follows:
    1. Back up a device to iTunes that is logged into iCloud already (or have an existing backup on hand) - for this, I used the encrypted backup option.
    2. Take a freshly erased (Activation Lock disabled) or a brand new device and follow the set up process by selecting the language, country/region, and choosing "Connect to iTunes" instead of a Wi-Fi network.
    3. Restore from the backup using iTunes (only prompted for a password if the backup is encrypted and this would be independent from an Apple ID)
    4. The restore completes and you are prompted to select a Wi-Fi network. Tap Next instead to skip connecting to Wi-Fi.
    5. The next steps are typical setup ones and don't concern this exercise - Location Services, Touch ID, Passcode, Terms & Conditions
    6. If prompted for an Apple ID, opt to set up later. In the case of my test device, I did not have connectivity, so it skipped this step.
    7. Once at the home screen, visiting Settings > iCloud demonstrates that the iCloud account from the original device appears to be logged in, and once connectivity is restored (either cellular or Wi-Fi) you are asked for a password repeatedly.
    Additionally, the device is left in a state where the following are true (and expected with any iCloud-associated device):
    1. Trying to remove the iCloud account from the device prompts for the Apple ID password to disable Find My iPhone.
    2. Trying to erase the device prompts for the Apple ID password to erase the phone and remove it from the account.
    3. Restoring from iTunes prompts the user to disable Find My iPhone first.
    4. Device Firmware Upgrade mode restores the phone as expected, but you are prompted for the Apple ID and password upon setting up the device, as expected with Activation Lock
    This coincides with the probable steps that my friend did (as she doesn't have home Wi-Fi and decided to set up the new phone before the Sprint service was migrated to its SIM card). If you'd like to try it yourself, I encourage it.

    I've filed a radar with Apple because while I cannot think of anything malicious that could be done with this, it certainly should not be possible.
     
  15. Applejuiced, Jan 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017

    Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
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    #15
    You and your friend must be the only ones then because it doesn't do that with anyone else and according to Apple it will not icloud lock devices just by restoring to a backup.
    Its a miracle or BS.
    A device that's not tied up to any find my iPhone activation lock gets locked just by syncing with iTunes without entering the password and enabling find my iPhone.
     
  16. Applejuiced, Jan 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017

    Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #16
    This is not a tech problem.
    I do not help people bypass anti theft features.
    Believe what you want.
    We told him what he needs to do many times above.
    There's no other way around it.
     
  17. ecschwarz thread starter macrumors 65816

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #17
    Have you tried the steps above?

    I don't want to play who-gets-the-last-word, but I'm not trying to bypass any anti-theft features. I found a potential bug, documented it, and rather than using this resource to share/corroborate ideas you've only fought me that it must be a stolen iPhone. I get that there's a lot of that on the internet, but please, find in the thread where I asked for bypassing activation lock. Do you also deny the so-called "Touch Disease" on the iPhone 6 Plus or the battery being inconsistent on new the MacBook Pros, as those are "impossible" until the concerns were discovered? Among other responsibilities at my job, I handle MDM for a living and know bypassing activation lock is impossible (we've switched devices to Supervised mode so employees don't accidentally get their Apple IDs added and then we're stuck with a paperweight when they leave).

    For the sake of keeping this thread civil and by the rules, I've shown my work, filed a radar on the issue, and you can believe what you want. Before you repeat that that's impossible, how about you dust off an old iPhone (or borrow one) and try for yourself? Then again, at this point, I feel like you're trolling, so you'd probably deny it anyway.

    Therefore, to anyone else out there reading this thread, follow the instructions above and decide for yourself.
     
  18. Applejuiced, Jan 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017

    Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #18
    I have done countless of iPhone , iPod touch, iPad restores and restored multiple times from backups for over 10 years with every iPhone there is out there. All with iCloud find my iPhone and added and removed plenty of devices.
    Restoring using a backup or syncing with a library does not enable find my iPhone or adds the device to my iCloud account. Never.
    No matter what mumbo jumbo steps you posted it does not work that way. If it did what you claim millions of others would have that problem. Not just you and your friend.
    Not sure what else you're looking for. Bring it to Apple and tell them the same and see what they tell you.
     
  19. AndrewR23 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #19
    Is my situation similiar?

    I had a completely blank 4S I was gonna give my dad for his first iPhone.

    When I was restoring it just for the hell of it I saw my ex backup. I clicked it and the phone restored. Then it asked for her email and password to get into the phone! Lol. I was embarrassed but called her and got the info. Erased the phone and set up as new.
     
  20. ecschwarz thread starter macrumors 65816

    ecschwarz

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    Jun 28, 2010
    #20
    That sounds exactly the same - I used our test Apple ID from work when I recreated it and purposely didn't enter the password (pretending I didn't know it), I was able to recreate it. Entering the password undid everything, naturally.

    Most people would never encounter this, as they are using their own Apple ID and know their password. It's almost a fail-on-every-account (no password, no Wi-Fi, etc) method.
     
  21. mk313 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    #21
    If the screen on the old phone is still Touch capable but not displaying anything, you might be able to use one of the external video adapters (hdmi or vga) and plug into a monitor to see what's on the old phone.
     
  22. bcave098 macrumors 6502a

    bcave098

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    Sep 6, 2015
    Location:
    Northern British Columbia
    #22
    Sorry to break it to you, but you're wrong. If you restore from a backup, it signs you into the account used on the phone the backup was made on, and Find my iPhone is enabled by default. However, syncing with iTunes would not affect iCloud at all.
     
  23. Breezygirl macrumors 6502a

    Breezygirl

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    Oct 7, 2011
    #23
    I went through the same thing when trying to setup my new iPhone. Could not get verification text to go through on new iPhone and when I tried to put sim in another phone to receive the text it wasn't able to resend and I knew my password. Tried everything you did, got fed up and made a new Apple ID. Never did receive anything from Apple after going through all the same steps as you have.
     

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