How I almost went to court in Germany over the iCloud activation lock on my own iPhone 6S Plus

Discussion in 'iOS 10' started by robin.k24, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. robin.k24 macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2016
    Hello all,

    I just signed up here and look forward to discovering all the interesting stuff on here!
    First, however, I'd like to share a mysterious, frustrating story with all of you, as I'm wondering if anybody else has had a similar experience or can perhaps shed some light on what is going on, as I honestly have no clue whatsoever...
    So, here we go!
    After having purchased a new iPhone 7 Plus a few weeks ago, I decided to sell my old iPhone 6s Plus on eBay. I had previously sold some other Apple products on there, one iPad Air 2, a first generation Apple Watch and an Early 2009 Mac Pro.
    Before putting up those products on eBay, I always made sure to properly erase the device and ensure that it is no longer associated with my Apple ID, carefully following Apple's instructions at

    Naturally, the iPhone 6s Plus was no exception. I had upgraded it to iOS 10, then disabled the "Find my iPhone" feature and then reset it to the factory defaults.
    In addition, I had logged into both as well as to verify the device no longer appeared in my account, which it did not.
    Once the auction had ended, I shipped the iPhone immediately after receiving the funds.
    At that point, I thought that the transaction was over, I had received the money and the guy who had purchased the device had received the device, so all was good.
    However, shortly after receiving the new phone, the new owner contacted me, letting me know that the iCloud Activation Lock was still active on the phone, which made it impossible for him to activate the phone.
    Understandably, I was really surprised when reading this, because of all the effort I had put into making sure that something like this would not happen!
    So, I once again paid a visit to as well as, confirming that the device was no longer linked to my Apple ID.
    Thus, I decided to call Apple support, in order to have the situation resolved. Since by then it was already quite late here in Germany and the German Apple support was no longer available on that day, I chose to reach out to Apple support in the US.
    I provided the support representative with the IMEI of the phone, my Apple ID and a support PIN that would allow her to access my Apple ID details.
    After a few minutes of investigation, the friendly lady informed me that the device was in fact no longer linked to my account, but due to a system error the iCloud Activation Lock had not been removed.
    In order to resolve the issue, she suggested that I upload the original invoice of the phone in order to prove my ownership, which would then enable Apple to manually unlock the phone.
    Luckily, I still had a copy of the invoice, so sending that over to Apple only took me a few minutes.
    I was then told that processing my request would usually take a few days, but that she would try her best to speed up the process.

    The next day, I received a call from the German Apple Care team, informing me that my unlock request had been processed and that the phone had already been activated with a new Apple ID.
    So, I thought that all was well, assuming that the new owner had already activated the phone with his Apple ID!
    I sent him a message thanking him for his patience and letting him know how happy I was about the fact that he was now able to use the phone.
    But then, well... A few minutes later, I received a very aggravated response from him, stating that he was still unable to use the phone, thus he was expecting me to take back the device and refund the money, as I was "obviously unable to resolve the problem". I replied with a kind message, informing him that I was sorry for the continued inconvenience, promising him that I would further investigate the problem.
    I reached out to Apple support here in Germany, referencing the already existing case about this incident. I informed the representative about the buyer's response, asking him to confirm that the device in fact had been activated using a new Apple ID. Unfortunately, due to privacy reasons he was unable to tell me the new Apple ID to which the phone was now linked, but he confirmed that it was not my Apple ID. Because I really wanted to make sure that this was really the case, I once again contacted Apple in the US, who also confirmed that the device was associated with a different Apple ID.
    Thus, I sent out another message to the new owner, letting him know about my findings and refusing his request that I take back the product.
    In his response, he insisted that he had not been able to activate the phone, that it was totally useless to him in its current state and that he urgently needed a functioning cellphone. He stated that since I had sold him a useless phone and refused to take it back, he would be forced to take legal action against me if I did not change my mind about issuing a refund.
    So, even though I was fully convinced that I was doing the right thing, I finally agreed to take back the phone and refund his money. However, I made clear that in case I discovered any physical damage to the phone, or that it was in fact associated with a new Apple ID, I would be returning the device to him without issuing a refund.
    He agreed and 2 days later, the phone arrived at my home.
    Once I had turned on the phone and connected it to my WiFi network, it quickly became clear that it was no longer associated with my Apple ID. It was locked, but it would not accept my Apple ID and password for activation. At that moment, it seemed crystal clear to me that the guy had lied about not being unable to activate the phone. However, I'm not the kind of person who easily accuses someone of having done something wrong.
    So I reached out to Apple one last time, explaining the situation and asking what I should do next. The support representative advised me to ship back the device, as it was clearly not part of my account any longer. I almost went with that suggestion, but then decided to find out one more thing.
    So, I asked whether he could check when the device was activated exactly and this is where things get extremely mysterious...
    Basically, the representative was able to see the date, but wasn't allowed to tell me due to privacy reasons. Therefore, he asked me when the device was received by the new owner, so I told him. Well... He then told me that the device was in fact activated with the new Apple ID before the new owner had actually received the phone!
    I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when I heard that... I honestly couldn't believe my ears!
    Thus, even though I had asked Apple to manually unlock the phone using the phone's invoice, which they had apparently done, I was told that the phone had been activated before the new owner had even received it, using an Apple ID that isn't mine...
    I have now refunded the unlucky guy, because according to the new details this whole mess obviously wasn't his fault.
    I have issued a new request to have the phone unlocked by Apple and was told that this would happen during the next 3 business days. Once that's done, I will be auctioning the phone once again, in the hope that everything will go as smoothly as I would expect.
    Still, this whole series of events makes absolutely no sense to me. I cannot possibly understand why this phone is now linked to an unknown Apple ID, which clearly isn't mine. Also, I totally don't understand how the phone could have become associated with the ID before I had even shipped it to the new owner and why the problem wasn't resolved when I first asked Apple to manually unlock the phone, which had apparently worked.
    So I'm really wondering, am I the only one who's experienced a story like this? Has anybody here had similar issues and if yes, were you able to resolve them? Also, does anybody here have any other ideas on how I could get my iPhone unlocked, or do I really have to wait for Apple, hoping that it'll work this time?
    Also, if anybody on here can put any sense into this, I definitely would love to hear from you as well! :)

    Thanks for reading, any help would be very highly appreciated...

    Best wishes,
  2. Paddle1 macrumors 68040

    May 1, 2013
    Yes there's been a lot of people talking about this issue recently, you should probably keep it locked to your Apple ID as a precaution.
  3. robin.k24 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2016
    Hi Paddle,

    thanks for your message!
    However, I had to remove my Apple ID from the phone, otherwise the new owner wouldn't have been able to activate it, without first entering my Apple ID and password, without first entering my Apple ID and password...
    Or am I missing something here?

  4. Paddle1 macrumors 68040

    May 1, 2013
    True, I'm just saying that if you want to prevent it while it's in your possession that seems to be the only way.
  5. TheRainKing macrumors 6502a


    Jun 11, 2012
  6. robin.k24 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2016
    Yes, that's right. I have that enabled on all my devices which I use anyways, also because it certainly is a good theft prevention measure.
    But yeah, strange that it would suddenly become associated with an Apple ID that doesn't even belong to me!
    According to the iPhone's activation screen, it's currently locked to an Apple ID that starts with an a and ends with
    My own Apple ID, however, starts with an r and ends with, so it really is something completely different... Plus, I honestly don't own any other Apple IDs, just saying for the sake of completeness. :)


    --- Post Merged, Oct 16, 2016 ---
    Wow, thank you big time!
    That must be what's going on here, I wish the Apple support reps had told me about this, cause I was literally loosing sleep trying to think of a possible explanation, haha! :)

  7. ddrulez macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2012
    Luckily I sold my phone 2 weeks ago without this problem. I would go nuts if that happened to me....
    I hope it will be sorted out for you as soon as possible.
  8. LoveToMacRumors macrumors 68020


    Feb 15, 2015
    I believe he was able to get the phone to work, but regretted buying the phone and it was his last attempt to get back his money.
  9. Hanzu Lao Suspended

    Hanzu Lao

    Aug 24, 2016
    If Apple one day fixed the ancient apple id system that would be biggest innovation in years.
  10. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    The real danger here is that the clone of your device is still out there, seemingly happily attached to that AppleID that isn't yours. Unless Apple have a way to identify and block that device, yours may show up the activation lock whenever you reset it or remove it from your AppleID. Its almost as if someone has found a way to activate a duplicate device against a different AppleID without the very check that is carried out when your genuine device shows up unassociated with an AppleID, ie yours shows up as locked to the clone's AppleID but the clone didn't show up as locked to your AppleID.

    Pretty much renders the phone useless to anyone else, just as Activation Lock should. But any future owner is at risk of hitting the lock to the unknown AppleID at any time in the future...
  11. NickosD macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2015
    Stop quoting the whole op. Lol
  12. Paddle1 macrumors 68040

    May 1, 2013
    :rolleyes: Quoting provides context and sends a notification to the poster, so no. It should be automatically condensed anyway.
  13. NickosD macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2015
    Then convert the whole post to [...] since it's not doing it by itself.
  14. C DM macrumors Sandy Bridge

    Oct 17, 2011
    It does it on the forum's web site automatically by the forum software that runs it all.
  15. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    The forum condenses it for me to about 3 lines or so, perhaps your browser isn't doing the same for some reason...???
  16. Peepo macrumors 6502a

    Jun 18, 2009
    You can just remove find my iPhone from iCloud and it removes activation lock. The buyer would have to trust you to remove it from your account when they got.

    You can also provide copy of original purchase receipt to buyer so they could deal with Apple themselves if any issue.
  17. teddybearstand macrumors regular


    Jun 17, 2013
    Very interesting read. Apple needs to fix this asap. Glad u werent sent to court haha
  18. macstever macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2014
    Orlando, FL
    I had the same thing happen to me as well. I was planning to sell too, but after two locks by another Apple ID (2 different ones), I will just use as a backup phone. Something is going on that Apple needs to admit to and figure it out.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 21, 2016 ---
  19. Category 5 macrumors member

    Jul 31, 2011
    This happened to me. Luckily the buyer was visiting close by and we were able to meet at an apple store and get the phone unlocked. In my case it was clearly still locked to my wife's ID. It was a yahoo account starting with an S, but in person it would not take her credentials. Apple had to force the unlock. Had the buyer not been amazingly patient and understanding I'd have had to refund them the money we spent on my wife's new phone. I almost wonder if this sin't calculated to take value away from the used iphone market. In any case, it worked out for me, but I hope Apple sorts this out because support seemed clueless, and one apple store flat out told me that they would NOT issue an unlock with a receipt that didn't have my apple ID on it, and I paid cash for the phone and they never associated it with my apple id.

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18 October 16, 2016