iPad Was this iPad stolen?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by blueshogun96, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. blueshogun96 macrumors regular


    Nov 24, 2012
    I recently bought an iPad 2 off of craigslist yesterday because I needed an iPad that could run iOS 8 Beta to dev my game on it. The screen was cracked, and it was stuck at the activation screen. Since I bought an iPhone4S off of my friend last year that was still running iOS6, I assumed that I could just install iOS7 and be done with it. Now I find out after buying it, that's not the case. I downloaded iOS8 Beta from the dev website, thinking that's all I had to do, but now it appears that a device's UIUD is registered with Apple, and only the original owner can activate it after an attempt to update the OS.

    The guy said that the guy he bought it off of didn't unlock it after he bought it. My first instinct would be to get back in touch with that guy so you could get it unlocked and usable once again. If I would have known all of these details before, then I wouldn't have bought this iPad and moved on. So, now it's on my hands, and the last thing I want is stolen merchandise because I am not a thief (except when I'm playing "Thief: Deadly Shadows"). The story could be the truth, but you never know these days.

    It's almost 3 quarters passed midnight here, so I'll call Apple or talk to someone from the Apple store in the morning. If it is stolen, I'd like to return it to it's owner. I understand that Apple isn't just going to give me the previous owner's information because that would be a violation of privacy, but I can't say I didn't try to do something.

    Any ideas? Thanks.

  2. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Do you mean it has Activation Lock? Because if it was already activated on someone else's developer account it can still be restored.
  3. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
    Wait wait. It was activation locked and you still bought it and now because you can't bypass the activation lock you suspect it's stolen, genius. Why didn't you suspect it was stolen When you bought it? Was this because you thought you could make it work and thus did not care if it was stolen or not? Well how can you possibly find the owner? Take it to the cops and move on.
  4. blueshogun96, Jun 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014

    blueshogun96 thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 24, 2012
    It's not likely a dev had this device. When iTunes gave me the UIUD after telling me that it wasn't a registered developer device, I went to the apple dev site and registered it there.

    Did you read what I said? I didn't know that this would be an indicator that it could be stolen. Since it was the first time I'd ever seen this (I've never owned anything beyond a 1st Gen iPad), I assumed it wasn't a huge problem.

    And lastly, if I didn't care if it was stolen or not, then I wouldn't have started this thread, or would I?


    EDIT: The thought occurred to me after I googled this for a while. Lesson learned, google the issue before assuming you're just buying a cheap fixer-uper.
  5. saudor macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2011

    Yeah I go crazy about these things. Check the serial. Make sure it matches the box. (If it doesn't, it's still not the end of the world as the dude could have gotten it through warranty etc) googling the serial number and checking on apples warranty site, check battery cycles using ibackupbot, home/volume buttons and how they respond. Etc etc. Better safe than sorry
  6. Ledgem macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    It certainly raises the suspicion that the iPad was stolen, but it's not clear who stole it. If the guy you bought it from was telling the truth, then it's likely that the person he bought it from was the one who stole it. It's also quite possible that it wasn't really stolen, and the original seller just didn't properly unlock it for resale.

    Either way, there were reports that someone had figured out a way to get around the activation lock (here is the Macrumors article on it) the news is about a month old and there hasn't been anything more recent to say whether it really works or not. If you have the time, it might be worth looking into. If it does work, it's likely that Apple will be fixing what ever exploit they're using fairly soon.
  7. 960design, Jun 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014

    960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Contact the person you purchased it from. Then have them contact the person they purchased it from. Then have them log into their online iCloud account and remove the device. Easy peasy.

    Let the person you purchased it from know that you have informed the police that you are in possible possesion of stolen goods and are in the process of attempting to verify a fair sale. If the seller cannot assist you in removing the activation lock you will claim a breech of contract of sale and turn the iPad over to the police to take you out of the 'theft' loop.

    PS: You are a developer and didn't 'know' anything about activation lock. This statement alone tends to move you from unwitting idiot to liar, to the average person.
  8. blueshogun96, Jun 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014

    blueshogun96 thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 24, 2012
    I don't think you can check the serial without getting passed activation, or can you?

    EDIT: Oh, it's on the back. I just called Apple and they said that if I turn it in to the local law enforcement (the cops), then they can get the contact information from their end (and of course I don't expect them to tell me who the previous owner was).

    I honestly don't feel very comfortable doing this. It would be a way to get the serial number so I could tell Apple, but that's about it. What I'll probably do is turn it in to the cops.

    The seller said that he doesn't have the contact information from the guy he bought it from. I'm taking it to the cops today and writing down the UIUD along with it.

    PPS: Being a developer doesn't prove you "know" any specific thing. It doesn't even prove I'm an expert in Objective-C (and I avoid it as much as possible to use C/C++ instead). Since I've owned mostly older hardware like a 1st Gen iPad, I never actually ran into this, except when I bought a used iPhone4S, where entering my information after the iOS7 update just worked, so I assumed it would be the same. What's done is done, I'm taking it to the cops today.
  9. blueshogun96 thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 24, 2012
    Okay, I did the following two things today:

    1. I called Apple and gave them the serial number. Apple's response was to give it to the local law enforcements to check for a report on, and the customer service rep also said that they can only give out the information to the police, and that they would have to call Apple themselves in order for that to happen.

    2. I went to the police department and told them the story. So the cops did a check on that serial number, and nothing came up so it's possible that the story was legit. The cop at the front desk said that unless there's a report and a serial number listed with it, there isn't much they can do. He also said that anyone can call Apple and say "this is the police" and start asking for personal information, so he didn't recommend doing that. Before I left, he recommended taking it to the Apple store and see what they could do about it. Although I kinda doubt that would help, I'm going to try it anyway.

    I'd like to go the extra mile to find out if this is hot or legit because I've had an iPod, iPhone 2G AND a Macbook Pro (A1226) stolen from me before (among other things), so I know exactly how it feels, and then some, to have an important tool stolen from you.

  10. Binarymix macrumors 65816

    Nov 1, 2007
    Just so you and others know in the future:

    Since The Activation Lock feature, you now have to turn off "Find my iPhone/iPad/etc." and type in your apple password before you can reset/restore a device.

    This effectively unlinks the device from your account, and presumably would only be done by the legit owner who had the password for their Apple account.

    Sucks if you can't get this remedied, but in the end it helps cut down on innocent people getting their devices stolen in the first place.

    Obviously the thieves and general public still aren't well versed in these things, else thefts wouldn't be happening.
  11. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    Activation lock is a big feature of iOS 7 and frequently brought up in news. There is an article here about how activation lock lowered the rate of iPhone theft, just a week ago. Buyers beware.
  12. braddick macrumors 68040


    Jun 28, 2009
    Encinitas, CA
    Most stolen items go unreported. Sounds like you are doing the right thing, but please be aware.
  13. Señor macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2013
    United States
    I love hearing these stories. Really, I do.

    Should have bought an iPad 3 from Apple, OP.

    You'd think having people bitch about this would seriously tell other people to stay away from Ebay and Craigslist.
  14. powerstrokin macrumors 6502a


    May 18, 2013

    At first I thought you were full of it, but I realize what you must have meant was that you hadn't owned anything NEWER than a 1st gen iPad...right? Just to clear that up...
  15. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Not completely correct, but close enough.
    1) You can go directly to Settings->General->Reset and if your iPad/iPhone has Find My iPhone Activation Lock enabled it will ask for the password at this point.
    2) A previous owner can log into their online iCloud account and 'Remove Device' to disable Activation Lock.
    3) With our enterprise level devices we can remotely remove activation lock.


    I've changed my opinion of you. I'm sorry you got suckered, please try to contact the original seller and ask for your money back. You have purchased a brick. iOS Activation Lock is still a new enough feature to catch more than a few people unaware. I'm sorry this was you. You sound like a decent enough person attempting to do the right thing.
  16. matty1551, Jul 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014

    matty1551 macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2009
    The implementation of Activation Lock is atrocious. On top of that, it's so convoluted that even experienced users are taken for a loop like the OP.

    If experienced users don't even fully comprehend how all this works, then lets take it a step further. Can you imagine how many legit sales happen between less tech savvy people? People that barely understand icloud or find my iphone?

    Then months down the line the buyer needs to restore his phone. He/She goes to do so and wham. You're stuck for life. At this point you've probably already discarded the sellers contact info and you are out an iOS device.

    I used to think that this only hinders thieves, but the more I come across this issue personally, the more apparent it seems to me that Apple is screwing over a large segment of honest Apple customers.

    I buy broken iOS devices on ebay and craigslist (I try to avoid locked stuff) and fix them to make some extra cash and it's absolutely astounding how many people have no idea how to successfully remove the device from their icloud account.

    Ultimately, while Apple gets praise from all directions for "deterring theft", I really think the main motivation is to sell more devices. Your device is activation locked? Buy a new one, says Apple.

    If they really wanted to help the honest folks stuck in a bind in relation to the issue, they could have figured out a way by now. NO EXCUSE APPLE

    EDIT: I have an iPad sitting in front of me with a broken screen. I bought it on ebay last week and just got it. It was not advertised as locked or anything and when I got it everything worked fine. Find my iphone was not on, and I proceeded to delete the icloud account from the phone as soon as I got it. Well guess what happened when I reinstalled the OS? EXACTLY!!! ACTIVATION LOCK!

    Now I'm having to try to get in contact with the ebay seller who clearly wasnt tech savvy enough to wipe her own device before sending it. I could see her email, texts, photos, she even had a combination to something written down in the notes. If she can't do this, how can Apple possibly expect her to know how to operate icloud?

    Sorry for jacking your thread OP, I'm just extremely frustrated with the same issue. I'd love to send good wishes your way, but Apple doesn't care and will probably never give you any sort of recourse to either contact the seller or reactivate your device. You may as well ebay it and get some cash back.
  17. laudern macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2011
    It is a double edged sword for apple. Dammed if they do, dammed if they don't.

    Being a person who only purchases new units, I have no reason to complain about there stance.

    A solution to the problem??

    The only possible way around this is if sellers of 2nd hand units sell the unit with the original receipt. And if the receipt has some kind of authenticity code to go with the serial number of the phone. Provide that code with the locked unit and apple should then have to unlock it.

    This may already happen? I don't know. If it is possible, well then sellers need to pick up their act.
  18. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2010
    Solution seems pretty simple:

    Apple should just add a "My device is missing or stolen" checkbox on the Find My iPhone/iPad site and send an email notification whenever a device is restored. The owner would then have 3-5 days to acknowledge the device as stolen, if they don't, activation lock is automatically removed, if they do, it becomes permanent until they can login on the device.
  19. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    This is a dumb question, but how come we can't just replace the flash drives in IOS devices?

    I suppose it's cost prohibitive.

    This all reminds me of the day, back in the late nineties and early 2000's when there was an Apple mind meld.

    It went like this: if you touched or tried to open or even tried to change the ram on your Mac, Steve Jobs would swoop down and deem your machine to be out of warranty.

    One blue tinted screw missing? Zap! Apple would know it and you'd lose your Applecare.

    This iOS Cloud lock thing feels like that, except it's hardware-real.
  20. Ploki macrumors 68020

    Jan 21, 2008
    mostly because they're soldered on the motherboard
  21. Night Spring, Jul 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014

    Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Interesting idea, but inevitably, there would be owners with stolen/missing devices who for some reason don't receive / see the notification email in time. I think that the system should assume that the device was stolen and keep it locked if the owner doesn't respond to the email, but it's a good idea to give people a reminder and a easy "click here to release the device" button, because as it is, many people pass on their iDevices without removing the activation lock, then the steps to remove it is obscure and not easy for non-tech savvy folks.

    ETA: It just occurred to me that for people whose iDevices have been stolen or gone missing, receiving an email like this would leave them feeling confused, like, "If Apple can send me email that someone is trying to activate my device, how come they can't tell me where it is or who has it?" Which opens a whole can of worms Apple may not want to deal with.
  22. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Or it will send the email to the device itself and the lucky thief, without access to it would get the free bypass.
  23. blueshogun96 thread starter macrumors regular


    Nov 24, 2012
    Wow, I forgot about this thread!

    Well, what I *should* have done was bought an iPad Mini (2nd Gen) or an iPad Air from Apple. Not only would I have an OpenGL ES 3.0 compatible device, but one that would last me more than a few years.

    Correct, with the exception of the iPhone4S (which predated iOS7 also).

    Well, I guess it is what it is now. Since I'm only out $100, I'll just cut my losses and move on. The last course of action I could probably do would be to make a listing on craigslist stating that if your iPad was stolen, and you have the proof of purchase and the serial number, I will return it. That might be a bit of a hassle, but it might be worth a try as a last resort.
  24. Charliebird macrumors 6502a

    Mar 10, 2010
  25. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2010
    Well I don't think it is fair to treat people who buy a second hand device that the previous owner forgot to disable the anti-theft system on like criminals.

    This is a poor analogy, but it is as if I bought a used car and the seller only provided a single broken key that would only open the doors but not start the engine. With a car, I can call a locksmith or go to a dealer and get the problem taken care of granted I have paper work or recent proof of sale/transfer that shows the car is mine. Again, that is a really poor example, but you get the idea.

    With activation lock, the only way out is to get the original owner to bail you out. While I think that would be possible in a majority of situations, it is not going to always be the case.

    As for emailing potential victims and being worried about them being upset about not being able to locate the device, there is an issue of privacy for the new owner. My answer to that is to send the email with the time limit to put the device into stolen mode. Once that is done, send another email with a numerical code that the victim can take to law enforcement who will have access to a portal that will allow them to track the device.

    It seems like it would take a lot to accomplish, but I don't think it would be that hard to do. Plus law enforcement agencies are loving activation lock already because the amount of device theft it has deterred. This would add another level of deterrent because, if I file a police report, the cops are going to be able to track the thief. Cops will love that too, because it will reduce thefts even more and the device will do the police work for them. If there is not much effort involved, they might actually do something to get your $500 device back instead of telling you to just file an insurance claim.

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