Apple has pulled its iCloud Activation Lock page which helped users find out if an iOS device was locked to an iCloud account.
The tool could be used to verify that a used iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch wasn’t stolen before you purchased it — but the website’s URL now leads to an error page.
Introduced with iOS 7 in 2013, Activation Lock was designed to deter thieves from stealing iOS devices. It disables a device until it is reactivated again using the owner’s iCloud credentials. Without those, it’s pretty much worthless — even after a complete restore.
And it works! A February 2015 report revealed that iPhone thefts in major cities have nosedived by as much as 50 percent since Activation Lock was introduced. But for some reason, it just got a little less helpful.
Apple used to offer a tool that allowed users to check the status of Activation Lock simply by entering a device’s IMEI or serial number. It was a quick and easy way to establish whether a used device had previously been stolen before you purchased it.
However, that tool has now been removed. Visiting iCloud.com/ActivationLock now throws up an error page that reads, “iCloud can’t find that page.” Apple has also removed all mentions of the tool from its Activation Lock support document, which suggests it isn’t coming back.
It’s still unclear why the tool was pulled, but without it, there’s no way of verifying if an iCloud account has been removed from a used iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch without having physical access to the device.
We’ve contacted Apple for comment and we’ll update this post if we get a response.