iPhone XS Locked in Asia

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Megapickle, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Megapickle macrumors member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Long time forum lurker here. First time posting because my wife and I are in desperate need of advice.

    We are currently traveling with a tour group through Asia. While in China my wife’s iPhone 6 suddenly stopped working. Before leaving the country, we bought her a brand new XS from what appeared to be an official Apple store.

    On our flight to the next country (Taiwan), we were setting up her new iPhone XS and found out, according to T-mobile, that the phone was reported lost or stolen. They said the phone is both carrier AND activation LOCKED!

    We are able to power the phone on, connect to WiFi, and get to the home screen to browse with Safari. But we haven’t tried logging in to her iCloud account yet.

    My question is, is it safe to log in to iCloud on a locked device? Does Apple allow you to log in and use the App Store and iMessage even if the device has a bad IMEI?

    My wife urgently needs to download her employer’s app so she can continue to work from abroad. She can get by for now without cellular service, but she really needs access to the App Store and iMessage.

    Do you think it’s safe for her to log in to iCloud?
  2. BugeyeSTI macrumors 68030


    Aug 19, 2017
    If it’s carrier and activation locked you won’t be able to do anything with the phone...
  3. Shikaka macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2014
    What do you mean by, “won’t be able to do anything with the phone”?

    Because he said she is currently able to use Safari, does that mean it is not activation locked?
  4. jeremiah256 macrumors 65816


    Aug 2, 2008
    Southern California
    If you can access the internet, you should be able to confirm whether or not the store you visited in China was an official Apple Store. Regardless, there are Apple Stores in Taiwan you can go to for assistance. In the meanwhile, I wouldn't log into iCloud from a possibly stolen iPhone sold to you by a possibly fake Apple Store.
  5. BugeyeSTI macrumors 68030


    Aug 19, 2017
    It can’t be activation locked then.. I missed the part about Safari..
  6. hr10 macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2009
    The phone shouldn’t be activation locked coz you are able to access the home screen. In fact You should be able to use the phone with a local SIM card. Carrier locked should only be use on US carrier not worldwide if I recall correctly.

    If the phone can be used with the local sim card in Taiwan, I might consider just selling it there.
  7. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Is it possible that China’s restrictions have disabled the phone?
  8. pika2000 macrumors 603

    Jun 22, 2007
    If an iPhone is "activation locked," then you won't be able to even go to the home-screen.
    I wonder why/how you got the info from T-Mobile, which is not a carrier in China.

    Try inserting a Taiwanese SIM. If it works, then the phone is not locked, at least internationally. Then try resetting the iPhone and activate it using a local SIM, not a T-Mobile SIM.
  9. Megapickle thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 2, 2018
    I checked the IMEI on Swappa’s site and it kind of confirmed what the T-mobile rep said,

    Lost / Stolen
    This device is blocked by at least one carrier.
    Activation Status Blocked
    This device cannot be activated.

    Maybe we are still able to activate the device because the phone hasn’t been linked to an iCloud account yet?

    We haven’t been able to get any response from the store where the purchase was made. Our tour guide said the likelihood of getting a refund is slim. She also discouraged us from contacting China authorities.

    We’re chalking this one up as a loss, but trying to make the most out of a bad situation. Is it safe to say that if we don’t log in with iCloud, but he device will remain usable? Or does the iCloud part not make any difference.
  10. nburwell macrumors 601


    May 6, 2008
    So it appears the iPhone is blocked for activation by a cellular provider. Judging from what the OP has stated, it doesn't look like the device is already logged into an iCloud account on the phone they purchased.

    I would presume the OP could, at minimum, use the device on wifi. I'm not sure if putting in another SIM card would work, given the situation.

    If it were me, I would be hesitant to enter my iCloud credentials into a lost/stolen iPhone.

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9 December 2, 2018