Bargain or not a bargain - iPhone 8 iCloud unlock

Hi I brought an iphone 8 for $800 on gumtree and was very pleased but not for long and now I cannot use it at the moment, because unbeknown to me its icloud locked. I have reset the iphone 8 to factory default setting but got this "Activation Lock" i cannot bypass. I contacted the person I brought it from but he is not reply to my text or answer my calls. The iphone is not blocked yet or blacklist as far as I know.

I contacted two repair shops and they do not want to know about it.

What can I do now? I googled online and there are two websites do icloud unlock: and Official iphone unlock but I checked their reviews and wasnt that good. Has anyone had experience with them and how was it? I am not sure if I should pay for it.

So I spend $800 for a useless cold piece of thing i cannot use it, I think for technical stuff you have to be very good at to buy a secondhand one, never again. What can I do now? Any suggestion would be great. Thanks.


  • Did you use Paypal or Cash?

    • Gumtree ads and meet up at CBD train station and paid cash for it

      • +28 votes

        Well, you just lost $800.
        That phone is stolen and must be given to your local Police Station.

        Or you can be "unethical" and give it to an Apple Centre, throw it in the bin, flash a fake "AppleID" in China and make it functional, sell the phone for $200 as parts only, sell it as new/quick sale for $700 on gumtree and trick someone else.

        You didn't do your due diligence at the point of sale. Sadly Apple has made it difficult/impossible to check if the phone is stolen since they removed the iCloud Lock check.

        • If you're buying it in person… pretty sure you can check on the phone itself, no?

        • @HighAndDry: when i brought it its on but i cant turn it the next day

        • I'd take it to an Apple Store and ask if they think it's stolen sooner than take it to a police station. Police station is less likely to say "what the f am I meant to do with this".

        • @AustriaBargain: Easy, just reply with "well you can stick it in your bum bum".

        • Why are so many locked iPhones sold on Ebay?

        • +8 votes

          @chrisd262: Because they're stolen.

          Important to do your due diligence and get them to prove that the phone is functional and without activation lock before passing the money over. Even better, arrange to meet at the police station. XD

        • @lint: Recently i bought a phone which was factory reset and no icloud account locked. but when setting up it had remote management (even if it was factory reset) which does not let u do anything. so I had to ask the seller to get that removed first from the company before it is purchased. He called IT and get that sorted, I setup with my account after resetting everything and then bought with proof of purchase with ID details.

        • @b4rgainhunter: Was it a hard reset or a soft one? There shouldn't be any third party software left on the iphone after a hard factory reset.

        • That phone is stolen and must be given to your local Police Station.

          Found the wizard of oz!

        • @jowu15: You've been sold a phone that was under contract, the "seller" has reported the phone stolen or lost and now has a new phone, plus your money.

        • @randolpg: This is possible/likley . This would be a crime by the seller though, fraud by the seller I presume.
          OP should go to police, and report being scammed . If the seller has sold phone, then reported stoled seller guilty of a crime .
          If phone is now blocked because seller stole the phone from someone, who reported it stolen the next day seller is again guilty of a crime .
          OP is possibly guilty of doing something dumb, but not guilty of an serious crime.
          Go to police OP, explain what has happened, help to ensure others aren't scammed by same seller, help to return phone to rightful owner, if it is stolen

        • @chrisd262: Unfortunately, ebay does not allow users to report suspected/obviously stolen goods.
          I have tried several times, it always only gets me as far as when it asks for 'law enforcement details' . Apparently ebay will only accept complaints of illegal and /or stolen items, if the complaint comes from someone working in law enforcement.
          I have told sellers, "hey you shouldn't be selling a phone that does not belong to you, that you know has been reported stolen" and they just get angry and say if your not going to buy it, get lost .

        • @HighAndDry: I buy iPhones for company use. They are configured before the telco even ships by serial number on Apple's activation system to automatically deploy my MDM software and policies. This survives any form of factory reset because it deploys during the activation and setup process. If someone steals one of the phones, I will know where they are and perform my usual assortment of MDM tricks.

          As b4rgainhunter experienced, I can also de-register the serial number and allow it to operate like a normal phone.

        • @ozzpete:

          Unfortunately, ebay does not allow users to report suspected/obviously stolen goods.

          Except under the Report Item link, at the top right of an item description.

      • is this the modern version of 'out the back of a van behind the pub'?

      • Anything sold at a train station is stolen 100%

        • True, I would be highly suspicious why they will only meet at train station, not their home address .
          On the positive side of things, TRAIN STATIONS HAVE CAMERAS EVERYWHERE, so the crim is caught on camera for sure, if sold stolen phone, or sold their own phone then fraudulently reported it stolen

        • +4 votes

          I've met people at train stations to sell my legitimately owned stuff on many occasions. Avoids the risk of a dodgy buyer later breaking in to my house to steal other items I may have listed…

      • Sorry to tell you buddy you bought a stolen phone.

        You should always
        1) Ask for proof of purchase / receipt;
        2) Ask for original box and accessories;
        3) Pay using paypal

        harsh lesson but that's life

  • +19 votes

    Sorry but it's a brick now. There is no way to bypass an iCloud lock without iTunes and the original users authentication.

    • Can't you rebuild iphones with a modded OS like you can with android? I hate it when you buy something and it's not yours - control freaks (microsoft do it too)

      • I hate it when you buy something and it's not yours

        You mean like an iPhone that still belongs to someone else and is still signed into their account?

        • I think he means what I say all the time to peers about why I hate iphones .. ie you purchase a product new from apple, and it is like you never really have full possession of your device, they always have control over what you can and cannot do, even tampering with battery life unethically

        • @ozzpete:

          Apple would lose significant sales if their security was compromised in such a way.

          You can hate Apple for doing it, but it is a huge draw card for a lot of people when they are looking at how infected Android is with spyware/malware even out of the box with google services tracking your every move.

          For Apple it's a consideration for the consumer. There's companies like Microsoft and Sony who lock down their hardware just as tight (xbox and playstation).

  • Stolen phone?

    • I never stolen anything in my life! too scary to even consider it

      • +28 votes

        Not you =_= the guy who you bought it from, may have sold you a stolen phone.

      • he's not accusing YOU of stealing it, he's saying the phone you purchased MIGHT have been stolen

        • +88 votes

          I was accusing OP of robbing an Apple store at gun point. Bullets were exchanged, screeching tires from getaway vehicles. Sirens blaring.

          Manhunt leads to volatile standoff. More bullets.


          A policeman near retirement gets hit in the femoral. Blood. Lots of blood.

          Black clothes, black umbrellas. Amazing Grace plays solemnly through bagpipes as is the police tradition. Dark clouds block out the sunlight. Rain beads down the widow's veiled face but it goes unnoticed.

          Two weeks later

          A stranger starts a thread on an unassuming website. Locked phone…

        • @tshow:

          ROFL user name short for Tellie show?

        • @havebeerbelywillsumo:
          Was gonna go with Pshow for a golden time.

        • @tshow: you have such a vivid imagination you should be a novelist.

        • @jowu15:
          Sadly I don't. It's just rehashing 2/3 of available crime drama novels, TV shows and movies.

          But then again, they still keep recycling the formula. Over and over and over…

          I'm getting too old for this shirt.

        • @tshow: I'd watch this.

        • @HighAndDry: Same here, sounds better than half the drivel at the cinemas

      • Look in your messages to find exact date and time of meeting at the train station .. Then go to any police station and report the incident. There are so many cameras at train stations, that it would be possible to track down the crim (if they sold a stolen phone, or fraudulently reported their own phone stolen after selling it to you).
        The police may or may not have resources to track the perpetrator down, but at least you have done your best to give some useful info, and ensure the criminal that sold you phone is dealt with.

  • Can't be done. At all.

    You'll have to get on to the person who sold it to you, hoping they didn't sell it to you nefariously - good luck.

  • What can I do now?

    Surprised you didn't check the phone to start with since it's a such a commonly stolen device.

    I've seen people "fix" it overseas - the shop replaces the whole board. But you might have issues with it with a different imei etc. Sometimes they even replace it with a different storage size.

    • When I first got it, the phone was on and ok to use, so I thought everything was fine, but after I turned off at night and could not turned it on as I do not have passcode.

      • the phone was on and ok to use, so I thought everything was fine, but after I turned off at night and could not turned it on as I do not have passcode.

        Strange - I don't know exactly how iphones work, but it almost sounds like the seller sold it to you and then remotely locked it (ie, probably reported stolen for insurance?)

        Or, he ripped it out of someone's hands (where the person didn't have a screenlock) and sold it as is?

        • Yep sounds like an insurance job

        • Thanks for taking time to response to question. I googled and saw there are two website charge a fee to unlock iphone 8 icloud account. and Official iphone unlock. Do you think they could be really unlock it remotely. THanks

        • @jowu15:

          Do you think they could be really unlock it remotely

          I won't say that it definitely won't work (because people keep finding new ways to do things), but the chances are slim… very slim. Be prepared to not see your money again once you pay them.

          Apple is Apple - their devices and software are scrutinised by lots of people including many experts. So if there's any holes in their security, I'd expect that it'll get patched up quite quickly.

      • My friend who is knowledgeable about iphone unlocks says the only way it will work is replacing the motherboard. tough luck! :(

      • Passcode or activation lock? They’re two very different things.

    • In your post you mentioned how people "fix" it overseas, but thats sound very drastic and I am not sure if it is still an iphone. When I first read it I thought I am not going to do that but when I thought there maybe no other options, I think I will keep it in mind as a last resort. Where did you see that?

      • Where did you see that?

        I've seen the shops do it in Vietnam. The market for iphones (including stolen ones!) over there is huge and they've come up with ways to resell stolen phones.

  • The iphone is not blocked yet or blacklist as far as I know.

    I cannot use it at the moment, because unbeknown to me its icloud locked

    Those 2 statements kinda contradict each other… iCloud blocked is more than IMEI blocked. It makes the device useless.

    It is NOT possible to unlock it without the original owner. The gumtree seller either

    1) Stole or found it

    2) Was sold it and has managed to fob it off to you.

    I suggest going to your local police station and dropping it off there. If you have evidence of selling it to you (eg texts) give the police the seller’s number.

    • What I meant to say is that I cannot use the phone any more but I can still go to Activation lock page on the iphone and its ask me to put icloud account details. I thought if the owner of the iphone has reported the lost of stolen, i cannot even get to that page.

      • Nope. The phone is probably in lost mode. The only way that can be taken off is if the seller enters their password.

        Sounds like a insurance job from what you’ve described. I’d be taking it to the cops still.

        • if I take to the cop I would just lost $800, isnt it?
          I just wonder if there is any benefit for me to take the iphone to the cop.

        • People suggest me to sale as part to get $100 or so, thats better than I take to the cop and get nothing in return isn't it

        • @jowu15: you could maybe get $50 for parts.

          Not many people are stupid enough to work on a iPhone 8 themselves.

          The benefit of the cops is that this guy is either committing insurance fraud or has stolen the phone. Regardless you have a phone that doesn’t belong to you.

          I would ask the cops if they are able to assist you with recovering your $800

          You say it worked for a day and now it’s iCloud locked yet to iCloud lock the phone the original owner needs to be signed in…

        • @knick007: Thanks for your reply. How do I know iphone is in lost mood? how to check it?

        • @jowu15: You can't check. You aren't the one who put it in lost mode.

        • @jowu15: Should have bought a brand new galaxy note 8 for $850. Far better phone, faster and more functional with zero Apple lock bs. Samsung doesn't need you to type your passcode 50 times a day like you're a criminal. Bigger screen, bigger battery, has space to put a cheap 256GB SD card etc.

        • @knick007: > Regardless you have a phone that doesn’t belong to you.

          How does this play out if I buy something from cash converters, and it turns out a thief stole it and sold it to them?
          Do I own the product? Could it be taken off me with no refund if the owner found out?

        • @idonotknowwhy: you’d have a receipt.

        • @idonotknowwhy:

          Cash converters is a legit business and I’m pretty sure they check the IMEI number of the phone they are selling so this doesn’t happen.

          I don’t think your phone could be easily be taken off you though.

        • +5 votes


          "Should have bought a brand new galaxy note 8 for $850."

          A Samsung? Then the OP may have still been burnt, just in a different way :)

        • @idonotknowwhy: I am pretty sure the ownership still lies on the original owner even when you didn't know it was stolen and paid for it.

        • @rave75: Yeah that's what I was thinking. So the parties involved are:

          1. Thief
          2. Original owner
          3. Pawn shop
          4. Pawn shop customer

          Assuming the thief doesn't get caught, who actually loses money in the scenario where parties 2, 3 and 4 figure find out that the product was stolen?

          I would hope that it's the pawn shop in this case, and that this is part of the premium we pay for dealing with them. Ie, (4) returns the item to (3) for a refund or replacement as it's stolen. (3) returns the item to (2) as it belongs to them.


          Cash converters is a legit business and I’m pretty sure they check the IMEI number of the phone they are selling so this doesn’t happen.

          Okay fine, a game console, or TV.

        • @idonotknowwhy:

          How does this play out if I buy something from cash converters, and it turns out a thief stole it and sold it to them?
          Do I own the product? Could it be taken off me with no refund if the owner found out?

          If it was stolen then of course you don't own it, the owner owns it. Your refund in this case would come from Cash Converters.

        • @jowu15: If you sell it for $100, then I would expect that you are probably committing a crime.

        • @jowu15: Karma … For the sake of doing what is right and ethical .
          Do you really need more reasons ?

  • Probably not a bargain.

  • Unfortunately it's a brick now and you got scammed :(

  • Sorry but you are screwed - you cannot unlock it. What kind of Ozbargainer buys an iPhone 8 on Gumtree for $800? You can get it brand new from a real store for not much more

  • You can resell it back on gumtree/Ebay for parts. The screen is worth at least $100 (if its original and not cracked).

  • Please is there anyone can give any suggestion and experience the website that can remotely unlock iphone: and Official iphone unlock. Are they really be able to unlock the iphone 8 or just a scam. thanks

    • These website can work for imei locked phone but in your situation it is iCloud locked so it won't work at all. I saw some software bypass iCloud but for old iOS version only. You could sell it for parts and get $100 maybe

      • Thanks for your reply. There websites advertise icloud unlock as well and both of them are overseas website.
        If I cannot unlock it, I just have to sale it as part of $100 or so, still its better than nothing. At the moment I cannot use it at all. Is there any other options, beside to scam someone else, which i would not do.

        • It's a scam. Not even the American Government has the authorisation or ability to unlock an iPhone.

        • Most of these sites work by tricking the previous owner into revealing their iCloud password (sending spearfishing fake apple email or installing malware on owners PC) then use that to unlock. Pretty unethical to be honest but it might work if it was stolen from someone who isn't tech savvy. If its an insurance job by the seller you're completely out of luck.

    • Official iphone unlock

      A store calling themselves 'Official' when they're clearly not part of the Apple company is dodgy imo.

      They dont seem to accept Paypal, so if you end up purchasing from them, make sure your payment method allows some sort of buyer protection ie. charge back.

  • Send the seller a text and say that you’ve tried erasing the phone but you can’t remove all their personal information without them removing their Apple ID and that you’d like to meet up with them again so they can do that. If it is just an honest mistake that should motivate them. If it is a stolen or lost phone though you’re never going to hear from the seller again.

  • Seems a bit odd you were able to use the phone at first. Did you set it up with your own AppleID from the phone saying Hello? If that was the case then you configured it with a pass code. You can always erase it via iTunes if you have forgotten and start again.

    If this was the case then they cant lock it remotely i dont think as it is enrolled with your appleid not theirs.

    If they gave you the phone with an appleid already installed and you used that then they can just lock it remotely. You are screwed.

    • No I did not had the chance to put my own account in

      • Take it to the police. Hopefully they either return it to the original owner if stolen and/or catchup with the person who stole it. Cbd station will have cctv footage.


    Give these people a try. The FBI use them so can't be too bad

    • Thanks, but I do not think they would help me, they are professional to help law enforcement agent

  • Now that you know it's stolen, any other option than handing it to Police or returning to the rightful owner also basically makes you a thief. At the very least you're handling stolen goods which is also an offence. Trying to fob it off to another person would be obtaining financial advantage by deception. (The offence committed against you) How much is your conscience or even your clean (Im assuming its clean) criminal record worth to you?

    • If you read my previous post I said I won't sell to someone as a good to use ipohone, if I want to do that I would not be here I would just post an ads on Gumtree. I do not know if its a stolen iphone and I have not make up my mind to hand it to police.

      • it's either stolen phone or the original seller did it for insurance scam.

      • +1 vote

        I do not know if its a stolen iphone


        "Your honour, despite 99% of the replies to me on the forum telling me it is stolen, I had NO IDEA it was stolen."

        You're in a bad situation, I understand. But that doesn't mean you should be a dick.

  • And this is the NUMBER 1 thing you check when you buy a second hand iPhone, second would be it doesnt have call barring on.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. How to check call barring? Everyone get free unlimited calls now, why someone set up call barring?

      • Thanks for the suggestion. How to check call barring? Everyone get free unlimited calls now, why someone set up call barring?

        Sorry but what?

        • Did I say something wrong! If so please explain.
          Amaysim offer $10 per month with unlimited call and text domestically.
          Can you explain to me about call barring and the benefit? thanks

        • @jowu15: I think the point is that a stolen phone would have call-barring turned on so that no one looking for the phone calls up. So if it's on, that might be a bad sign.

  • You are most likely screwed as others have commented, because it is iCloud locked there is no way around that. Don’t text him, call him…. if you get to a message bank then you might get his name. From that you will have a name and a number to go to the police with, at the very least they might be able to find him and charge him with theft. Leave a message and ask that he calls you back. It can be an innocent mistake, I have done it and the buyer came back to my house and I unlocked it for her.

  • A classic example of when you buy something expensive off Gumtree take a photo of them, their drivers licence and get a signed receipt. If they dont want to do that then walk away.