Buying a used iPhone - Find My iPhone

barcode00

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 25, 2010
77
45
I'm looking to purchase a used iPhone, but I'm concerned about the Find My iPhone security feature.

I'm aware some people have trouble if this feature is not disabled, resulting in the phone not being usable by the buyer.

I have asked the seller about this - they say the phone has been "factory reset". Is this enough to permit a new owner from using the phone uninhibited? Would they have had to explicitly 'turn off' the feature prior to factory resetting it?

Thank you.
 

chscag

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,817
1,336
Fort Worth, Texas
In order to factory reset an iPhone, "Find My iPhone" must first be disabled. However, once the reset has been performed and phone boots up again, the "Find My iPhone" feature will get turned on automatically. You need to personally check the phone to be sure it's turned off. You do that by going to Settings, Owner's Name, iCloud, Find My iPhone. (should show off)
 
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hallux

macrumors 68040
Apr 25, 2012
3,085
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I'm aware some people have trouble if this feature is not disabled, resulting in the phone not being usable by the buyer.
Not "some people", ALL.

The post by @chscag is slightly misleading. Turning off Find My iPhone is not a requirement to do a factory reset. It IS a requirement if the purpose of the reset is to prepare the device for sale.

As was indicated, you need to be sure before parting ways with the seller that the feature was turned off prior to the reset, otherwise you'll end up with a paperweight.
 
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Tech198

macrumors Pentium
Mar 21, 2011
15,055
1,956
Australia, Perth
. However, once the reset has been performed and phone boots up again, the "Find My iPhone" feature will get turned on automatically. You need to personally check the phone to be sure it's turned off. You do that by going to Settings, Owner's Name, iCloud, Find My iPhone. (should show off)
iCloud is not required.. We can assume the buyer was assuming that the seller used icloud, or it was just a general question to the seller.
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,759
2,336
Between the coasts
Attempt to setup the device when you're in the presence of the seller (if it's at the Hello setup screen, just proceed from there). If the phone is already setup, you should do an Erase All Content and Settings, then setup the iPhone. If it is still signed into Find My iPhone you'll find out soon enough.
 

hallux

macrumors 68040
Apr 25, 2012
3,085
654
If the phone is already setup, you should do an Erase All Content and Settings, then setup the iPhone. If it is still signed into Find My iPhone you'll find out soon enough.
If this is the case, the buyer has the perfect opportunity to just go into settings and confirm that FMiP is turned off before doing the reset. This way you're not going through the reset, finding out it's still locked to an account, sign in to that account, turn off FMiP then reset again.
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,759
2,336
Between the coasts
If this is the case, the buyer has the perfect opportunity to just go into settings and confirm that FMiP is turned off before doing the reset. This way you're not going through the reset, finding out it's still locked to an account, sign in to that account, turn off FMiP then reset again.
This is not a 100% fool-proof test. A device can be signed out of iCloud at the time of inspection, yet still be activation locked.
 

hallux

macrumors 68040
Apr 25, 2012
3,085
654
This is not a 100% fool-proof test. A device can be signed out of iCloud at the time of inspection, yet still be activation locked.
Say what? The way to disable the iCloud activation lock is to turn off Find My iPhone in the iCloud settings on the device. It can't get much more foolproof than doing exactly what I said in the post you quoted. If it can, please elaborate...
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,759
2,336
Between the coasts
Say what? The way to disable the iCloud activation lock is to turn off Find My iPhone in the iCloud settings on the device. It can't get much more foolproof than doing exactly what I said in the post you quoted. If it can, please elaborate...
It's possible to be signed out of iCloud while still being signed into Find My iPhone.

You're absolutely right - turn off Find My iPhone from iCloud settings and you're done. However, there are several ways to be signed out of iCloud that will still leave Find My iPhone (Activation Lock) enabled. For example, after a password change in Settings > (name) > Password & Security you'll be prompted to sign other devices out of iCloud. If you use that option, other devices on the account are forced to sign into iCloud with the new password. However, Find My iPhone remains on throughout.
 

hallux

macrumors 68040
Apr 25, 2012
3,085
654
It's possible to be signed out of iCloud while still being signed into Find My iPhone.

You're absolutely right - turn off Find My iPhone from iCloud settings and you're done. However, there are several ways to be signed out of iCloud that will still leave Find My iPhone (Activation Lock) enabled. For example, after a password change in Settings > (name) > Password & Security you'll be prompted to sign other devices out of iCloud. If you use that option, other devices on the account are forced to sign into iCloud with the new password. However, Find My iPhone remains on throughout.
See, this is why I was confused when you said it wasn't as simple as what I suggested. I said nothing about signing out of iCloud, I specifically said to check on Find My iPhone...
 
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