APPLE IPHONE SECURITY

Apple iCloud, Find My Phone, Activation Lock, Remote Wipe, its Benefits and After Market Complications!

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This has been largely undiscussed subject. I have often seen the real benefits of Apple’s Find My Phone and Activation Lock feature and their implications. So I though of clearing up bit of a haystack to find the needle.

Since the release of Apples iOS 7, the Cupertino company added many changes both aesthetically and internally to the world’s foremost mobile operating system. The new luminous candy UI overhaul and Touch ID bio-metric scanner which works well on top of the leading 64bit processor hardware enhancements in iPhone 5S is ground breaking. Also the new iPhone security enhancements with iCould and Keychain management clearly shows Apples emphasis on security.

Specially, Apples Find My Phone and iCloud Activation Lock. These features were very effectively implemented to detour thieves from stealing your Apple devices.

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Apple iCloud and Find My Phone

The user simply needs to create an iCloud iTunes account upon purchasing their iPhone, thereafter should promptly enable Find-My-iPhone. If an iCloud account already exists then the process is fairly quick, otherwise the user can create a new iCloud account directly from the iPhone or through iTunes. In a case where an iPhone has been unlawfully taken (Stolen) or lost, the owner of the iPhone is able to track the device, send custom notifications and remotely wipe/erase the iPhone. These security measures go one step further, if you restore the iPhone completely you will be asked for the original owners iCloud credentials. If you cannot obtain the correct iCloud information, then the iPhone is essentially a useless paperweight and considered as dead phone.

I would like to state here that Apple iCloud Activation Lock by far the most effective gadget theft deterrent system to date, and we should give recognition to Apple for its powerful innovation and rapid global implementation. It actually really works! There are many incidents people have lost and found their devices thanks to the service.

Everyone with an iPhone should get an iCould Account!

1. So when you get an iPhone get register with an free iTunes Account
2. Sign in to iCould and enable Find My Phone & Activation Lock as shown
3. If your device is ever lost, login to http://www.icloud.com and take control of the lost device.

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So what’s the problem?

With my experience in the area I have seen that there is a major downside to this Apple iCloud Activation Security Checkpoint. One of the biggest issues people are having is buying an iPhone second hand from a legitimate source and later notice that the “Find My iPhone” and “Activation Lock” feature is set ON. If set this option can be viewed by simply accessing the phones settings and selecting iCloud in the menu options as shown.

Here is where the problem lies; the second hand owner cannot remove the existing iCloud account, reset the iPhone, modify the software or gain any administrative rights. The same restrictions apply even if the user attempts to do a HARD RESET/ RESTORE or complete recovery, once reset and completely wiped the user is again asked for the original iCloud credentials. Currently, a large percentage of iPhone users do not even know that they have “Find My iPhone” turned ON, these people unknowingly sell their authorized devices with iCloud ON resulting in an eventual “bricked” or non-working device for the new buyers. This can also go unnoticed by a second hand owners until an iOS update is installed since the phone works perfect fine. Once an update has been installed the new owner MUST re-input the previous owners iCloud information, if the owner does not have the proper information the iPhone will be rendered “bricked” and useless. This is really a major problem and has greatly effected the legitimate market for second hand iPhones and instilled a fear among buyers. Specially online buyers of famous second hand portals. I have had real-world personal experience with this problem from several people who brought phones from an online source. These people legitimately bought their iPhone online, loose the contact who actually sold it since it seemingly works fine for months unless he triggers an iOS update and get stuck with a totally nonfunctional device.

Please be aware of this

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Apple really needs to start supporting these types of issues, and as of now Apple has a zero tolerance approach and no alternative for iCloud activation problems.  The only type of support Apple is really offering is NONE and ONLY suggest  obtaining the original credentials from the previous owner.

So people has to be vigilant and extra cautionary if you buy Apple products online or seriously forget your password without the ability to reset password (forget security question or the secondary email). You MUST ask the person who is selling the iPhone to remove the Activation Lock if set from his iCould Account or you have to hard-reset the device in person and reactivate it with your SIM card to 100% make sure that the device is not set up with Find My Phone Activation Lock with someone else’s iCould Account. If it cannot be done, don’t buy that iPhone. There is no real official way yet to make that phone working again as by March 2014.

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