How to identify a stolen iPhone or iPad
I’ve had my iPhone stolen not once, but twice. Even with Find my iPhone enabled, the chances of you recovering a lost or stolen iPhone is still pretty low. Every now and then, a lost iPhone may find its way into a Good Samaritan’s hands. Instead of keeping this lost phone as their own or selling it, this Good Samaritan decides to make sure it finds its way back to its rightful owner. But, that scenario is few and far between. Instead, these stolen iPhones get sold to folks online and once they receive the item they may not even be able to unlock it. In order to avoid getting duped and buying someone’s stolen iPhone there is a nice tool that will allow you to identify if that phone is stolen before ever hitting that buy button, and we are going to show you how.
How to identify a stolen iPhone
- If you are buying an iPhone off of Craigslist make sure to meet in person and test out the device before handing over any money. Even better, make the seller Erase All Content and Settings right in front of you. They will need to enter their passcode in order to do so. If they don’t know the passcode, they won’t be able to do this. You never want to buy a device that is already linked to another Apple ID either. Besides being extremely annoy to replace with your own, this also could mean that the device was stolen, since most legit sellers won’t have any information still left on the device.
iPhones are one of the world’s most popular phones, making it an easy target for thieves and resellers. While Find My iPhone has been a huge help in deterring wanna-be thieves from stealing random strangers iPhones, there are still people out there willing to take the risk for a quick cash payout. Most stolen iPhones will find their way to sites like Craigslist or eBay, where they are resold to unaware buyers at a nice discount.
If you are one of these unlucky buyers of a stolen iPhone or simply want to make sure you aren’t buying a stolen device you can check the IMEI. This IMEI number is unique to every phone, helping identify my iPhone from millions of other devices. Now, if Activation Lock was enabled by someone who lost or had their phone stolen, you’ll know immediately by putting the IMEI in at the Activation Lock website. You can find the IMEI number by going to Settings - General - About.