You might be looking to buy a used or second hand iPhone model. Well there are few things to be aware of or you might end up buying a locked or stolen phone. And below we will tell you exactly what to look for. Note this also applies to an iPad.
Each iPhone model has a security feature called ‘Activation Lock’ which comes with every iOS device that has Find My iPhone enabled. The purpose of the feature is to prevent anyone from activating your phone without having access to your Apple ID or password in case they found or stole your device.
So now what you need to look for:
The lock screen
If the device has been remotely erased or put in Lost Mode by its previous owner, it is very likely that a message will be showed on the Lock screen, warning that this device was lost or stolen. If you see such a message, it should raise some flags, but don’t be alarmed quite yet, as the seller could have put the device in this state. You’ll be able to verify that in the next steps.
If there is a passcode on the device, ask the seller to type in his passcode, then proceed to step 2.
Have the seller reset the device in front of you
If this person is selling the device, then he shouldn’t have any problem agreeing to perform a complete reset. Ask the seller to go to Settings > General > Reset >Erase All Content and Settings. If the seller uses Find My iPhone, he will have to enter his Apple ID password to confirm the erase.
The erase process should take a couple minutes or so. During that time, the device’s screen will show the Apple logo and a progress bar. Wait for the reset to be completed.
If the seller doesn’t want to reset the device or is making excuses for it, then walk away.
Begin the device set up
Once the device has been reset, start going through the set up. You will have to choose the language, country, and a Wi-Fi network. At this point, you will be asked to enter your Apple ID and password. If that’s the case, then you’re safe to buy the device.
However, if you see a message asking for the previous owner’s Apple ID and password, or a message saying this device was lost and erased (similar to the screenshot below), then you know something is wrong. Ask the seller to enter his Apple ID and password. If he’s unable to get past this screen, then just walk away as this is a clear sign this device was either found or stolen.