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.


    • Thats a good idea for the future. thanks

    • Good idea and I’ve done exactly this recently as the seller, minus the photo which might be a bit much.

    • +14 votes

      I have sold on gumtree, and have never sold anything illegitimate, but there is absolutely no way I would let some complete stranger photograph my drivers licence UNLESS I was selling a car (and in that scenario I would insist on a photo of their drivers licence too). Much too easy to steal someone's identity that way - with it you have their full name, photo, address, signature, DOB, and drivers license number - it's basically game set match for ID fraud. I am very happy to give a signed receipt though, and to meet in the lobby of my apartment building, which is full of CCTV cameras (or a police station, or a McDonalds, or somewhere nearby with good lighting and cameras).

    • All you need to take out a mobile phone contract online is a photo of your license. You have to be mental to think I'd ever let someone take a photo of my license for the good of a gumtree sale…

    • Hi someone suggest me to advertise for help to get the iphone unlock and there are people who can do it. Just wonder where is the best place to advertise? Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated

      Don't know how many times this has to be explained.

      YOU CANNOT remove activation lock without the owner of the signed in iCloud account entering his or her password. Anyone claiming to be able to "unlock it" is likely bull sh**ing you OR is referring to removing a network lock.
      Why are you so against taking the phone to the police? Forget the $800 or selling it for parts.

      Selling it for parts is potentially ILLEGAL. The phone is probably stolen property and you selling it is a CRIME. Even if they've pulled an insurance job the original item is the property of the insurance company and holding onto it is a crime.

      Let's look at the facts…

      • The seller isn't responding to you.

      • They didn't wipe the phone of their account. (This is VERY suspicious)

      • They aren't responding to your facebook messages(presumably they've "seen" them)

      If it was a genuine mistake he or she would have responded to your text and popped over to enter their password.

      Yes loosing $800 sucks. Take it as a lesson and move on.

      • HI Knick007 I really appreciate your reply over the last few days, so i will give a proper reply of why not going to police because I do not think they will do anything. I only had dealings with them a few time, twice was house been robed and they come, finger printed paperwork and then never heard anything again. The worst is once my housemate threaten to kill me I rang police and the police said "oh he is not serious, if he is serious you would not be able to talk to me now! Do not worry about it" they did not even bother to come around. I never rang police about it before. So I just stay somewhere else that night and moved out quickly.

        Compare to going to police I am more interested in going to Apply store as someone suggested, but i am a bit worried people will look at me doubtfully, thats the only reason I am a bit hesitate to go to Apple store

        • Sometimes experiences with the police really put people off.

          Based on the cctv of police abuse that’s come out over the last 3 or so months shows some should be sacked.

          That shouldn’t detract you from going to speak to a different station. At the end of the day the Apple store won’t help you. Otherwise every time someone found a phone they’d be able to smash the screen and get a replacement for 50% of the actual cost of the phone.

          Yes you probably won’t hear back from them but at least you’ve done the right thing. By all means go to a Apple store to confirm but we both know what they’ll say.

          FYI in your situation with your housemate threatening to kill you if you called 000 there will be a record of who picked up the call. If you felt it wasn’t handled properly you can complain.
          If you called a station directly then always get the officer ID and name of the person you speak with.

  • And you bought this phone legitimately yeah!?

  • Always activate the phone before buying any used iphone, all you can do right now is sell it on ebay for parts

  • +2 votes

    Whenever I sell my old iphones I always fully erase and reset them. Not only don’t I want them to get any of my data but it allows them to attach it to their own apple account.

    I don’t know all the security settings but could it just be that he didn’t have it set to require a passcode to unlock but it is still required on startup?

  • Did they use a burner phone number? Maybe try and facebook search their phone number or something and a name will come up..

  • You literally cannot unlock the phone. Any company claiming they can are full of shit. Not even the US government could get into an iCloud locked iPhone.
    It is as useful as a paperweight.. unless you sell it for parts.

    I had my phone stolen in Fiji once. It went around the markets for a few months. I had about 4 different people email me asking for my password, asking my Facebook friends for my secret question answers etc. It's not possible.

    I'll repeat that again- you CANNOT unlock an iCloud locked iPhone.

    • That's not true. The FBI managed to hack into the San Bernadino shooter couple's iPhone. Maybe OP could hit up James Comey for some help.

    • I'm wondering if you could have bought it back from the Fiji sellers for slightly more than that value of the parts. Of course it would need to be paid by escrow - anyone who would knowingly traffic in stolen goods would not even blink at not sending a phone after receiving the money for it. Seems like a lot of hassle, suppose it would depend how old the phone was and how much the phone was worth when unlocked. And whether you had insurance that covered the theft of the phone.

  • I have to jump in to help the OP. Yes it can be done but only by Apple store. Place I worked got a shitty former employee tied his iCloud to the company iPhone and after he left I could not activate the phone. Guy wanted some $ for it and being Ozbargainer I told him to to suck it. Contacted Apple Asia Pacific customer support and emailed them the company receipt and within 3 hours they replied that the phone can be activated. Sure enough working fine then.

    Good luck with proving you bought the phone OP.

    • that's why you need to get a written signed statement that you bought the phone even on gumtree!

      • Apple won't accept anything other than the original invoice from an Authorised seller. As I have discovered, this includes invoices from genuine businesses that are not Authorised resellers.

  • Out of curiosity - How does one avoid the OP's situation when buying a used iPhone?

    • Bring a spare sim. Wipe the phone and activate it there. If cannot, walk away. Help if you can get the receipt of purchase and have the seller writes something like selling the phone to you.

      • Someone did this when I sold him an Android phone on gumtree as well.
        I thought it was a bit paranoid but now I know why.

    • Get the phone activated in person and set up your own apple id on the phone.

      and avoid those whose price looks too good to be true

    • Get the owner to do a factory reset on the spot. Requires basically every password/PIN the phone has and wipes the phone clean, including of any associated accounts.

    • Dont buy a 2nd hand iphone basically unless you know the person. I know someone who bought one, worked fine for 2 months till it got IMMI blocked. Reported stolen (insurance job). Sold the phone, claimed it as stolen, got a new phone & the money… purchaser bought a brick.

      2nd hand, unless you know the seller, should be a massive no no with iphones.

    • If it's not yet wiped and you can access the phone, turn off Find My iPhone (Settings, iCloud, you'll find it there).

      If it's wiped, try activate it with a sim.

  • Best of luck, but i think it's a brick now. I'm going through the same thing with an iphone 6 I've had since new.

    Basically, I created a new apple id that I can't remember, reset phone, and now i can't get in. Spoke to apple, and although I have the original invoice from Kogan, as Kogan aren't an authorised reseller, Apple are still not sure if they can help.

    I agree it's my own stupidity for forgetting the ID, but I have the original invoice… I don't like your chances with a second hand item.

    Best of luck though.

  • You could destory the phone and take it into apple for out of warranty repair, this will be $518.95 but you get a new phone that isn't locked.

    • Thats very daring! but it would be in the warranty as everyone know iphone 8 is released less than an year.
      Do you know anyone who did it? Whats happened!

    • That’s a terrible idea.

      As soon as they enter the serial number into their system it will flash up as in lost mode and linked to a different iCloud account.

      If you destroyed the phone it wouldn’t be in warranty.

      • To add onto this, even if the phone isn't in lost mode, Apple will not repair or replace a damaged iPhone either UNLESS Activation Lock is turned off on Apple has thought of everything.

      • If you destroyed the phone it wouldn’t be in warranty.

        That's why it's called out of warranty repair…

  • +10 votes

    Former Apple Store Manager here. That phone is useless. Even Apple can't remove the block, UNLESS you could prove ownership with an original proof of purchase, which in your case you cant.

    Would say it's definitely stolen, or the seller doesn't know their account details and sold the phone they bricked themselves.

    I'd start by calling the police and checking if the serial/IMEI is reported as stolen.

    And if it's not, go to the Apple Store/Genius Bar and just see if they can possibly do anything, but it's very unlikely.

    Expensive lesson

  • You got cucked, end of story. Bad luck. Maybe take more precautions next time or just buy a phone brand new for a bit more.

    • OP is choosing to ignore this information and is now keeping possession of an almost certainly stolen phone. Even if the previous owner is doing a fraud claim, they probably reported it as stolen as part of that claim..

      You've got an $800 paper weight, OP. You need to move on, lesson learned. At least it was only $800.

  • You can't do anything. It's locked. Game over. Only the iCloud owner can unlock it.

    • Hi I was going to say thanks I will keep it in mind next time around, but I do not think I would buy a second hand phone again, too complicated for me.

  • Have you tried something like this,

    • Hi thanks for the information I just checked and the website got the model and colour and storage size right and also got back to me: "Find my phone": off; blacklist status: unknown. So it is not blacklist. THis is a good news, isnt it?

      • blacklist status: unknown.
        So it is not blacklist.

        How did you decide that? It's 'unknown'. Those sites aren't 100% accurate anyway. Report the phone and person to the Police like everyone else is telling you to.

    • Try using the official Australian site.

      I bet it'll be blocked.

      • Hi Knick007 I will be honest here, I just checked and you are right its blocked by one of the major Australian Telco's. What is this mean?

        • likely insurance job sold and reported stolen, so the seller got double money

        • As @Andyken says it means it is either an insurance job or you bought a stolen phone.

          Take it to the police. Give the police the details of the guy you bought it from.

        • It’s been reported stolen or lost by the original owner. The phone is no good, as everyone has been saying. Hand it in.

  • LOL what if OP is the thief?? and this was all a ploy to get info on how tore activate stolen phones!

    • Dun dun dun

    • If I want to do something shifty I would not be here I would go to gumtree and advertise iphone 8 for sale. I sold a couple of smart phone before, no one check much and one a girl asked me to post Samsung s5 to interstate, she did not even seen the phone.

      • Relax mate just kidding. You’ve already received plenty of answers to your question from the community above. Congrats on the free education

      • This is getting interesting now

    • Oceans 7? 9? 10? 14?

      Cause you know, they did 11, then 12, then 13. Then they go back to 8. So what's the next number?

      Since the last one was lower than it's predecessor, I'm guessing 7. That way they can do more sequels. If they go up, well, they have two more shows before they're back at 11.

      Will it be an all male cast? An all female cast was sexy but I'm guessing an all male cast is sexist. On the other hand, it's a movie about crooks so is an all female crook movie the one that's sexist?

  • If it's locked via find my iphone, doesn't it say so when you turn on the phone? I thought it was impossible to reset phone without icloud?

  • 1) Go to Apple store and let them know the situation. Confirm iCloud lost mode with a small statement from the store and serial number.
    2) Go to police station give statement and description or person, location, what the Gumtree post said,as much info as possible
    3) Email the major telco who blocked your phone and cc your investigating Police officer outlining situation and requesting if they try find the identity of person or company who requested block. In effect trace the block request backwards.

    1) if person requesting block was same person who sold you phone by description to the policeman - then you win the scam game! Person gets nabbed by coppers and you may even get money back.
    2) if person is not the same person (ie it was a stolen phone, and not an insurance scam) if they ID the block requester, they may let you have phone if they have already claimed lost insurance as a pity phone
    3) Alternatively nothing happens and you are exactly where you are currently - but with the knowledge you tried your best

    It won’t be easy but if you try hard enough you’re in with a chance. Good luck!!

    • Outcomes
      4) Police will tell you that they don't investigate Gumtree transactions gone bad.

      • If it is insurance fraud then the person would have signed stat dec. Knowingly commit fraud on stat dec would not be something that the police will overlook

    • Great story but would never work in practice

  • Ugh! you bought the phone not brought it off someone.! Don’t ring Apple and waste their time either.

  • What should be done before selling an iPhone

    Activation Lock -

  • Does gumtree have a report or fraud feature?

    • Paid in cash, there's no verification on gumtree really, there would be virtually no repercussions for the fraudster, could simply create a new account. Pointless.

  • Just checking the basics, did you put a working SIM in the phone? I believe a new or reset phone won't activate until there's an active SIM in it. Just double-checking!

  • Since you have his number, you could probably give that to the police to find out who he is. Fingers crossed they catch the bastard!

  • police won't do anything…this would be 1000th thing on their priority list. On top of that you cannot prove anything, just a story that you will tell them.

    Devil's advocate - "where is the evidence that you are a lawful owner of this phone? maybe you have stolen it and are trying to get it unlocked?"

  • Best thing you can do from here is hand it into the police. Maybe if you're lucky the original owner would pay a reward for its return.

  • i promise you.. iphoneimei site and all the others are elaborate scam sites.

    There is zero posibility of removing icloud lock.

    I'd know, i was stupid enough to try it and have "$50 credit" with iphoneimei for the next phone attempt… But thats what hapoens when you buy secondhand shit like this from anyone who lives at deception bay.. no pun intended…

  • Yeah protip when buying apple devices, make sure they're already factory reset and don't come up with the activation lock upon setup.
    It should display the original owner's icloud email address and prompt for a password to activate it, I'd email them and potentially ask for a reward to at least recoup some of your funds.
    Who knows, maybe the original owner already has a replacement phone through insurance and may be willing to just unlock their old phone for you, if you explain your plight.
    The money you gave to the scumbag seller is goneskies.

  • For anyone else that confuses ‘brought’ and ‘bought’ please see below

  • okay - i haven't read all of the comments but i did gather you inspected the phone and it was OK.

    Here's a common occurence. Where I work - it was a common issue for ex staff to consistently forget to de-register the company iphone from his or her itunes account.

    but of course that wasn't am issue as we had proof that we own said iphone so we didn't have to go through trying to get the ex-staff to do that too.

    its maybe a silver lining - an honest mistake so don't stop trying to contact him to de-register his account from the iphone he just sold to you.

  • Normally i always feel sorry for posters who have encountered some sort of misfortune but not in this case.

    Iphones are crap. Why whould u apay 800 for a used iphone 8?!?!?! U could get a brand new mate 10 pro a fantastic phone and ten times better then any iphone ever for equal or less then that. Totally out of your mind.

  • I’ve wondered - if you did the right thing and dropped it into the police as stolen goods and the statuatory time passes and it becomes your property, if you got a letter from them, could you supply to Apple and get the activation lock removed?


    Those icloud unlock web sites are bogus sites.
    They are so elaborate that they have even set up bogus review web pages that recommend them. And in fact both are one and the same.
    They will take your money then tell you your phone cant be unlocked.
    Go look at the user reviews of those web sites on trustpilot and other web site review sites.

    Not one successful icloud unlock is reported and so many complaints of being ripped off. There are a few that report successful network unlocks though so can be confusing.
    And the sites write back and say that person wasnt a customer. Hohumm.

    Now think of this logicaly.

    If there was a hack to remove an icloud lock dont you think apple would have closed it off long ago ???

  • Did u contact the seller, it sounds stolen mate?