With mobile technologies, there is a high risk that these may be stolen and used by others. This is why companies which manufacture wither have their own security features or allow third party apps which such features.
Recently, we have struck difficulties with the Apple Activation Lock.
One of our elderly neighbours recently gave our child their old iPod Touch (the device was about 5-6 years old). Our neighbour had stopped using the Ipod as she had been locked out as she could not remember her Apple account password which was needed to allow access to the device once the activation lock was triggered. She gave it to our child thinking that we would be able to re-establish access and out child could use it.
We hunted through Apple help and found out how to create a new password when one forgets it and also what to do when one sells/gives away a device which has the activation lock triggered (which was the case for the device in question).
We followed the instruction provided on the Apple website thinking that this would allow the activation of the device (able to get through the lock). No, this didn’t work.
Next option was to call Apple. While their call centre personnel were helpful, they did not know why the activation lock could not be removed. Discussions seem to indicate that it should have worked and there may have been an issue at Apple’s end.
Anyway, Apple said there were two solutions:
- our elderly neighbour tries to remember the Apple account password at the time that the device became locked as this password may be the one that may allow the device to be assessed.
- our elderly neighbour must have two accounts, not realising it, causing the issue…this was not possible as the Apple Account she has is linked to her only email address (a bigpond one) and she doens’t/can’t have another account.
- provide proof of purchase and Apple could disable the activation lock at their end.
I enquired what would happen if 1-3 was not possible, they said that if this was the case, they were not allowed to unlock the device due to their own policies, and the device won’t be able to be used in he future.
Well, in the end our elderly neighbour couldn’t remember her password from a few years ago when the device was activation locked, confirmed she only had one Apple account as she only had one email address *which we already knew as Apple had confirmed this) and also didn’t have a receipt or bank statement record as the product as bought using cash at Officeworks.
As a result, we now have a iPod Touch which is useless (is a digital brick) and will end up in the waste stream due to Apple’s rigid security polices and our forgetful neighbour.
While Apple is now unwilling to offer support, this is possibly a warning to others if one also falls into a similar situation. While we can understand why these security features exist, if a consumer forgets a password and changes it when a activation lock is activated, loses their purchase record and Apples troubleshooting doesn’t work. one’s very expensive Apple device will also potentially become a brick.
It is suggested that one thinks carefully about inbuilt security features which can’t be removed, even with a factory reset/restore. I personally would opt for third party apps which provide similar functionality and may also have a workaround such as a factory reset if one forgets password and is locked out. At least losing data is better than losing everything including the device.