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Apple showed this new feature in iOS 7 called Activation Lock, that if you enable "Find My iPhone" on a device that is lost or stolen, a person that finds/gets the iPhone will not be able to wipe it or reset it. I'm curious whether the lock is designed to prevent these avenues to defeat the lock:

  1. Can they completely drain the battery and leave the phone in that state for a couple of months and then try it?

  2. Or, can they use any third-party software that can access iPhone from outside the iTunes and wipe it that way?

  3. Or, can they simply "jailbreak" it and forget about this Activation Lock?

Can this lock be defeated or bypassed?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Any method to restore a device, bypassing iTunes restrictions either by using DFU/Recovery or by not using iTunes, would still require that the device go through the setup process. It is during this process that the device is connected to Wi-Fi and verified with Apple servers. This checks the database of Find my iPhone devices, making sure that the device is not listed. If the device is linked to an Apple ID, with Find my iPhone enabled, then the device will show the Activation Lock screen, and the Apple ID of the account with Find my iPhone enabled on the device will need to be entered.

Completely draining the battery would not fix this, since the Apple ID and Find my iPhone state is stored on Apple servers and retrieved during setup, not from the device itself.

Theoretically yes, 3rd-party software could gain access to a device and restore it, however as mentioned earlier the Find my iPhone state is stored on Apple's servers, so this would be of no benefit, and would not be different to restoring using iTunes when the device is in Recovery mode.

Even though a jailbreak has now been released for iOS 7, a device with a currently active Activation Lock can't be jailbroken.

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Thanks. So it is "kinda" secure at this point, right? –  MikeF Oct 10 '13 at 18:42
    
@MikeF I would go as far to say that there is currently no way round the Activation Lock in iOS 7 (or at least, no public way), since the data is sent from Apple's servers and not stored on the device. "Kinda secure" is a bit of an understatement! –  grgarside Oct 10 '13 at 18:43
    
There could easily be a jailbreak workaround for the Activation Lock, so I'm glad you mentioned it. +1. –  Andrew Larsson Oct 16 '13 at 22:28
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"Even though a jailbreak has now been released for iOS 7, a device with a currently active Activation Lock can't be jailbroken." Yes you can. Evasi0n works just fine even with devices that have Activation Lock enabled. The AL is a separate, one-time process that occurs during registration of the device. The activation process is outside a jailbreak and was handled in the past through a separate hack called "hacktivation." Right now, there exists no such means to bypass the lock, but it's foolish to think that such a thing can never be bypassed. If it was built by man, it can be unbuilt by man. –  cksum Dec 27 '13 at 18:54
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@grgarside You are confusing a lock screen pass code with Activation Lock. They are two separate processes altogether. Jailbreaks never liked lock screen pass codes. Activation Lock doesn't interfere with Evasi0n, or rather, does not prevent it's installation. –  cksum Dec 27 '13 at 19:53

Yes, it can be bypassed, due to a bug, which is in iOS thru version 7.1. It may have been fixed in 7.1.1, and if not, will surely be in the next release.
Here's a reputable source.

Beware; lots of crooks using people looking for this as a vehicle to scam or install malware... Then again, many of the people looking to bypass this are themselves crooks...

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Actually, some legit users of the new iOS 7 are not very happy with this new feature. Some users forgot their iCloud account, which makes it very annoying for them as well as frustrates them. I have read so many complaints on this.

Anyway, this feature is still not secure. In my country, some hackers can bypass the activation process. You just have to pay around $200 or less. So, the thief can still gain from the stolen iPhone by just spending that little amount and selling it to a very high price. Also, what if that hacker is a thief? He gets more profits from it.

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Please provide some information about the process that is used to bypass activation. –  xpereta Dec 11 '13 at 13:46
    
This answer sounds like a bunch of speculation. Also note that this question is not about "how good the activation lock is." –  MikeF Dec 13 '13 at 1:26
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I'd be happy to upvote any answer that documents how activation lock is bypassed. Do they hire thugs to convince the owner to release the lock? –  bmike Dec 27 '13 at 16:22
    
I saw this a few days back in a downtown market in India, the thing the person did was he took out the logic board that was locked, relaxed it with a perfectly working board and after adding a fault such as the screen not working got it exchanged from the apple store. The swapped phone that he got was free from the activation lock. –  killswitch Jan 16 at 21:17
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@killswitch After going through that process, it's not the same iPhone anymore. –  Andrew Larsson Mar 3 at 2:37

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