One of iPhone's strongest anti-theft tools has gone missing

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple appears to have nixed its Activation Lock checker tool, which allowed folks to verify if a used iPhone or iPad they're about to purchase may have been potentially stolen.

Visiting the Check Activation Lock Status homepage now turns up a 404 error. Apple also no longer mentions the tool in a related support page, seemingly making it no accident on the tech giant's part, according to Mac Rumors.

Introduced as part of iOS 7 back in 2014, Activation Lock was added to iCloud's "Find My iPhone" feature, letting users lock down their device if it went missing and prevent it from being wiped - making it effectively useless in the hands of a shady reseller and noticeably lowering theft rates.

Activation Block

For clarification, the Activation Lock feature itself is still available for misplaced mobiles. 

What appears to be gone is the Check Activation Lock Status webpage, which allowed those interested in buying a used iOS device to plug in its serial number or IMEI number to ensure it wasn't using Activation Lock - preventing them from buying a lemon and often a red flag that the seller may have acquired their merchandise dubiously.

It's possible Apple removed the page following a recent initiative to make its devices more secure than ever, as the Check Activation Lock Status page had the potential to be exploited using stolen serial numbers, AppleInsider posits.

Apple didn't state why the iCloud feature was removed, but we have contacted a representative at the company to learn more and will update this story as new details emerge.

Parker Wilhelm
Parker Wilhelm is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He likes to tinker in Photoshop and talk people's ears off about Persona 4.