If you got an iCloud locked iPhone, you can not use it. It’s no better than an expensive paperweight for you. Unlocking an iCloud locked phone is not easy. Sometimes it is impossible.
Let’s dive deep into the situation. You have come to the right place before you get scammed by the so-called online unlocking services.
What is an iCloud Lock?
Apple introduced the iCloud lock from iOS 7. You might know it as activation lock. The feature is a security measure from apple to prevent using theft or lost phone.
So, if you see a device that shows the following screen with the message “Activation Lock“, that means you have an iCloud Locked phone. It needs the original Apple ID and password this device is set up with, to use it again or unlock it.
All iCloud Locked devices are not stolen
Activation lock is introduced to prevent unauthorized use of your lost/stolen iPhone. When you first bought a device and you activated the Find My iPhone feature, this is auto-enabled.
If you forgot to turn off the Find My iPhone in your iCloud account and erase the phone or reset it, you will see this message.
So, not all devices with iCloud lock is not a stolen device. This scenario is very common when you buy a used iPhone and the previous owner forgets to turn off the settings or remove it from their iCloud account.
How to Unlock an iCloud Locked Device?
The Activation Lock is a simple tool yet very powerful. The only way to unlock it is by inserting the e-mail ID and password of the Apple account.
Go to settings before erasing the phone then sign-out/delete the iCloud account from the phone. If asked then insert the credentials again.
The next time you sign in or reset the phone you won’t see the locked message again.
Depending on the version of your iOS you can either sign-out or turn off the settings.
The problem is when you do not have the credentials with you or the person who owns the phone forgets the details. There is a way of resetting your password from a PC if you can log in to your e-mail ID.
In different scenarios when you buy a used phone and the phone is iCloud locked. You have no way to reach the previous owner. Then what to do? Or, the owner totally forgets all the details including his e-mail login too!
In this case, you have to contact Apple to unlock your phone. Provide them the valid receipt of your purchase of the device. They might be willing to unlock it for you. But, you have to contact Apple support first.
iCloud Unlock Service Online and the Scam Artist
It is always recommended to check if a device is locked or unlocked before you buy a used phone.
There are several online websites and forum posts that will claim they can unlock your Apple device. Basically, they all are scam artists. They just advertise a service they are not able to provide.
The only way to unlock an Apple device is by inserting the original iCloud credentials.
Let’s name some of the scam websites I came into while trying to unlock one of my old iPhone 7 plus.
The first site I identified is appleiphoneunlock.uk
As advertised on their site they will unlock your iCloud lock for just $27, which is basically a lie.
You insert any IMEI no. on their website and proceed to checkout you can see a screen like this.
You see they do not advertise you have to pay extra for this service. There are no hidden charges or anything etc.
After you complete the checkout process and pays them, you have to wait for a day or two. Then you will see their true color.
They will send you an mail stating that you need to contact the original owner for the credential details or contact apple support to unlock your phone. But, you already knew this info and you just paid them $27 to tell you this useless thing.
Now they will offer you $42 for unlocking the device. Telling more lies actually.
If you insist that you didn’t know you have to pay extra, then they will tell you it was stated when you bought the service (which wasn’t actually). If you check the service again with your IMEI no. This time you will see the extra $42. Might be mistaken by you in the first place?
Not at all. This is all done by cookies and records they keep in the backend. Very skilled scam artists. If you try a different IMEI with an incognito window you will get the same $27 again.
Unfortunately, they do not use PayPal. PayPal has a strict policy of refund and dispute. They use a payment processor Nochex, which is also involved in the scam process.
If you want a refund the only way to get it by informing your bank or credit card company.
I have tried to reason with both Nochex and this site, but they seem ignoring me and spending time. Shows terms and condition which they manipulate any time. See my screenshots on this case.
After that, they will offer you a discount price of $32 to unlock the iPhone and this time they guarantee you. Which they will not also fulfill. Just another clever scheme to scam you again. If you pay them again –
This time after waiting a few days they will send you an update about your phone was mark as stolen/lost in apple database. Which is basically not true.
They will send you a site link (cleancheck.me) to check your phone’s IMEI. This site is owned by them and they mark your phone as blacklisted or lost internally for that IMEI.
If you check with other online IMEI checking sites (swappa) you can see your phone is clean.
Now all these emails and updates are part of their scam plan and they are doing it to get money from innocent people who don’t have much time to research before paying a scam website.
They do not use PayPal, uses Nochex another scam artist. If you ever see Nochex to any Payment processing system online just avoid. Thank me later.
So, what will happen after you know that your phone is marked stolen/lost? You definitely want a refund. But, these companies won’t refund you.
They will send you note to produce the original invoice for the phone and they will send you a refund.
Now there are a few questions: –
- If you had the invoice, why would you go to there website to take the service?
- If you have contact details of the owner and they can help you why would you go to these scam artists?
Now here is a list of other websites these guys are using to scam people:
Stay away from sites like this and let me know in the comment so I can add more scam sites on the list.
Remember, iCloud unlock is available only via apple support or if you can enter the original Apple ID credentials.
There are several reviews on these sites which are Fake. You can see videos on these scam artist here:
Also, read the reviews about them on Trustpilot.
In a nutshell the total scam is like this. I got it from the YouTube user comment.
So, what do you think you need to do now?