Is it possible to reset a lost iPhone that the police gave me?

SarahKirschbaum

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 5, 2016
100
23
I was in a foreign country and I found an iPhone 6 in an airport parking lot. There was no SIM card in the phone. I turned it in to the police and left my contact information.

The laws in that country require the police department to list the lost property on a poster and on their website for a period of 180 days(starting from the day after the lost property was turned in). On the 181th day, if nobody has claimed the property, the ownership is transferred legally to the person who found it. (why couldn't I have found a briefcase with a million dollars inside?)

That was actually 11 months ago, but I didn't have a chance to visit the country until last week. I stopped by the police station, signed a couple of documents and became the new owner of this iPhone 6.

It's obviously locked and I have no idea what to do with it. It actually in perfect cosmetic condition, without any scratches, except for a tiny pin-size dent near the headphone jack.

Is it possible to reset the phone and start using it? Or can I sell it as parts or something? Right now, it's just a fancy paperweight on my kitchen counter. I even stopped by the local Apple Store and told them the situation. Obviously I got a big "NO" from them. :)
 

SarahKirschbaum

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 5, 2016
100
23
If it's iCloud Activation locked then it will remain a paperweight.

You can either find the owner and get the credentials from them or sell it for parts.
How do I find the owner? He/she didn't even bother reporting the loss to the police...

I don't mind it as a paperweight... the most fancy and expensive paperweight I've ever had. :)
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,173
13,001
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
How do I find the owner? He/she didn't even bother reporting the loss to the police...
And therein lies the crux of your problem.

How to find the owner. I have absolutely no idea. And if you did find them they might want the phone back.

But unless you can enter the correct credentials (Apple ID email and password) it will remain activation locked.
[doublepost=1492304773][/doublepost]
Turn it into an Apple store. They'll be able to connect the owner to the phone.
How would that play out in allowing the OP to keep the phone and remove activation lock?
 

SarahKirschbaum

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 5, 2016
100
23
Turn it into an Apple store. They'll be able to connect the owner to the phone.
Legally, I'm the current owner of the phone. (not if such legal authority is worldwide) It's basically a police form accompanied by a magistrate raised seal that said I have been given ownership of this property, according to the applicable laws.
 

Zenithal

macrumors G3
Sep 10, 2009
9,004
10,087
Legally, I'm the current owner of the phone. (not if such legal authority is worldwide)
While that's the case, Apple doesn't see you as the owner, hence why they wouldn't unlock the device. You can either turn it into them so they can send it to the actual owner who's registered the device with them, throw it away or use it as a paperweight, or turn it into the service provider if you can figure it out and they'll send it to the owner.

These are your only options. There is no way you're going to be able to unlock the device. Any further discussion on the matter is futile as a result. You only have three possible choices.
 
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silverblack

macrumors 68030
Nov 27, 2007
2,671
817
Show the legal paperwork to Apple and see what they can do. They are really the only one that can unlock the phone for you.
 

Zenithal

macrumors G3
Sep 10, 2009
9,004
10,087
You'd need more than just that. Whatever this country is, because the US has similar laws, won't really apply to private companies that aren't obligated to provide the required information. While the law sees the OP as the owner due to the actual owner not claiming the hardware in time, Apple does not see the OP as a legitimate owner and are safeguarding the information stored.

Here's a prime example. Apple requested a court order to turn over the unlock password, despite having information proving the husband died.

http://nypost.com/2016/01/19/apple-demands-widow-get-court-order-to-unlock-dead-husbands-ipad/

OP is SOL.
 

SarahKirschbaum

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 5, 2016
100
23
And therein lies the crux of your problem.

How to find the owner. I have absolutely no idea. And if you did find them they might want the phone back.
Actually, it also works as an emergency phone, besides being a fancy paperweight. On the lock screen, I can dial 911. (haven't actually tried, obviously, since I have no emergency to report)
[doublepost=1492305680][/doublepost]
You'd need more than just that. Whatever this country is, because the US has similar laws, won't really apply to private companies that aren't obligated to provide the required information. While the law sees the OP as the owner due to the actual owner not claiming the hardware in time, Apple does not see the OP as a legitimate owner and are safeguarding the information stored.

Here's a prime example. Apple requested a court order to turn over the unlock password, despite having information proving the husband died.

http://nypost.com/2016/01/19/apple-demands-widow-get-court-order-to-unlock-dead-husbands-ipad/

OP is SOL.
I can't believe I didn't think of that. Next time I visit that country, I'll just bring the paperwork and the iPhone to the Apple Store there. They have to recognize me as the legal owner in that country, so I assume the Apple Store has to follow that country's laws, right? :) Although I don't plan another trip there until maybe next February. I don't want to see whatever info is currently on that iPhone. I just want it wiped and unlocked so I can use it. (but if not, no biggie, like I said, it works fine as a paperweight and an emergency 911-only phone)
 

Zenithal

macrumors G3
Sep 10, 2009
9,004
10,087
Actually, it also works as an emergency phone, besides being a fancy paperweight. On the lock screen, I can dial 911. (haven't actually tried, obviously, since I have no emergency to report)
[doublepost=1492305680][/doublepost]

I can't believe I didn't think of that. Next time I visit that country, I'll just bring the paperwork and the iPhone to the Apple Store there. They have to recognize me as the legal owner in that country, so I assume the Apple Store has to follow that country's laws, right? :) Although I don't plan another trip there until maybe next February. I don't want to see whatever info is currently on that iPhone. I just want it wiped and unlocked so I can use it. (but if not, no biggie, like I said, it works fine as a paperweight and an emergency 911-only phone)
Chances are they still won't, because it sets a dangerous precedent, and they'd likely purposefully brick the phone.
 

BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
11,666
10,702
In the middle of several books.
Turn it in to Apple, or drop it off for recycling. It is useless to you.
[doublepost=1492305980][/doublepost]
Actually, it also works as an emergency phone, besides being a fancy paperweight. On the lock screen, I can dial 911. (haven't actually tried, obviously, since I have no emergency to report)
[doublepost=1492305680][/doublepost]

I can't believe I didn't think of that. Next time I visit that country, I'll just bring the paperwork and the iPhone to the Apple Store there. They have to recognize me as the legal owner in that country, so I assume the Apple Store has to follow that country's laws, right? :) Although I don't plan another trip there until maybe next February. I don't want to see whatever info is currently on that iPhone. I just want it wiped and unlocked so I can use it. (but if not, no biggie, like I said, it works fine as a paperweight and an emergency 911-only phone)
Apple won't unlock it for you. Waste of time to even ask.
 

SarahKirschbaum

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 5, 2016
100
23
There's nothing you can do with it.
It's useless.
Great and elaborate story btw but the answer it's still the same.
I can get into the emergency call dialing pad. Are you saying that if I tried dialing 911, it won't work? (won't be trying because I don't have an actual emergency) I keep those cheap old flip phones in my cars just for emergencies.
 

Zenithal

macrumors G3
Sep 10, 2009
9,004
10,087
I can get into the emergency call dialing pad. Are you saying that if I tried dialing 911, it won't work? (won't be trying because I don't have an actual emergency) I keep those cheap old flip phones in my car just for emergencies.
Dependent on the phone and service provider. SIM or CDMA phones merely tell the network who you are (the account holder). 911 should work, but I'm not terribly sure with new phones. If I go on a long road trip, I take a sat phone with me just in case.
 

SarahKirschbaum

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 5, 2016
100
23
Dependent on the phone and service provider. SIM or CDMA phones merely tell the network who you are (the account holder). 911 should work, but I'm not terribly sure with new phones. If I go on a long road trip, I take a sat phone with me just in case.
I put a prepaid T-Mobile SIM in the phone and it does show up and shows 4 bars.

Speaking of sat phones, I've been thinking about those for a while. Last summer, I was vacationing in Upstate New York and there was no cell signal from any carrier(Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile) for hours. Well, there was also no other human out there for hours, so not surprising... :)
 

Zenithal

macrumors G3
Sep 10, 2009
9,004
10,087
Speaking of sat phones, I've been thinking about those for a while. Last summer, I was vacationing in Upstate New York and there was no cell signal from any carrier(Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile) for hours. Well, there was also no other human out there for hours, so not surprising... :)
Getting one is a necessity if you often find yourself in areas with terrible or no service. Quality factory refurbished model should set you back around $800-900.
 

SarahKirschbaum

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 5, 2016
100
23
Getting one is a necessity if you often find yourself in areas with terrible or no service. Quality factory refurbished model should set you back around $800-900.
since I'll only keep it around as an emergency back-up phone, how much will it cost on a monthly basis?

Thanks!
 

Zenithal

macrumors G3
Sep 10, 2009
9,004
10,087
You can rent them from a dealer and pickup a prepaid 30 minute block. Minutes rates are standard, the actual rent of the unit varies.
 

macsrcool1234

macrumors 65816
Oct 7, 2010
1,439
1,764
Turn it into an Apple store. They'll be able to connect the owner to the phone.
Can people stop repeating this stupid advice?

Most, if not all Apple stores would not do anything about it. Could they find the owner? Sure. But they don't have the manpower to ship it around to different stores and then track/hold onto it until (and if) the original owner arrives.
 
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SarahKirschbaum

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 5, 2016
100
23
You may be legally in possession of the phone in that specific country but you're not the owner.
do we really own anything we posses?

:)

by the way, I called my local little town PD and asked them if I could make a test call to 911, just to make sure it works. The officer said it was fine, just do it between 1AM and 4AM and inform the operator what I'm doing. (apparently their standard protocol for test calls is to announce "this is not an emergency, this is a test call" followed by the caller's physical address and phone number, wait for the operator to confirm, then hang up. The sergeant said this was because apparently a ton of people in my town has gone VOIP-only and there were problems connecting to 911.

I'm going to use the paperweight iPhone 6 and try it in a few hours. :)
 
Last edited:

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,650
6,403
At the iPhone hacks section.
I can get into the emergency call dialing pad. Are you saying that if I tried dialing 911, it won't work? (won't be trying because I don't have an actual emergency) I keep those cheap old flip phones in my cars just for emergencies.
You can dial 911 all day long.
But that's the only thing you can do with it.
And I wouldn't advise it unless you have a real emergency. Good luck.
 

SarahKirschbaum

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 5, 2016
100
23
do we really own anything we posses?

:)
You can dial 911 all day long.
But that's the only thing you can do with it.
And I wouldn't advise it unless you have a real emergency. Good luck.
I found the passcode. I was poking around all night. Was about to give
up but I went into the Medical ID section, then noticed the following:

Guess Who
July 17, 1900 (117)

Allergy & Reactions
106951

I was like.. allergic to 106951? I thought it was some kind of medical
code only an EMT would know? Googled it and came up with nothing.
Then I looked agin.. what the heck? age 117?

Then it hit me, I typed 106951 as the passcode and the phone unlocked.
There's nothing interesting in there.. it's as if the phone has just gone
through a factory reset. I changed the passcode to something else.
Too sleepy now... will look into the phone again tomorrow.

I assume this person also had the PIN# written on the back of his/her
debit card?