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How To: Make Sure a Used iOS Device Wasn’t Stolen

How To: Make Sure a Used iOS Device Wasn’t Stolen

Everyone likes to save money, and buying a gently used iPhone or iPad is a great way to get a bargain. However, if you’re buying an iOS device from a private party, you might want to take a few steps to make sure the device you’re buying isn’t stolen.


Take a Look at The Lock Screen

If the device you’re considering was lost or stolen from a previous owner, it’s possible that they used Find my iPhone to remotely lock or wipe the device. Look for a message on the lock screen indicating this. it may say that the device has been lost, and to call a phone number. (Seems simplistic, I know, but it’s a good first step.)

Ask the Seller to Enter Their Passcode to Unlock the Device

Ask the seller to enter the passcode to unlock the device if the device is asking for the passcode. If they refuse, or if they say they don’t know it, that could be a good indication that the device is stolen.

Ask The Seller to Reset and Wipe the Device While You Watch

Ask the seller to reset and wipe the device while you’re watching. It’s only logical that they would want to protect their personal information that was stored on the device, so they shouldn’t have much of an issue with this request.

Watch closely as they perform the following steps: Go to “Settings” -> “General” -> “Reset” -> “Erase All Content and Settings”.

If Find My iPhone is activated on the device, the seller will also need to enter their Apple ID password to confirm the reset and wipe process.

Begin Device Setup For a New User

Try to setup the iOS device for a new user. After selecting your language, country, and a Wi-Fi network, you should then be asked to enter your Apple ID and password. If you see this, all is well, and you can with good conscience buy the device.

However, if you see a screen asking for the previous owner’s Apple ID, or even a notice that the device was lost or stolen, request that the seller to enter their Apple ID information. If they can’t enter the correct information, DO NOT buy the device.