I know folks do their best, but come on Apple, this can't be that hard. Bought an IPhone at an estate sale (elderly individual died suddenly, so no one had knowledge of the apple id, passwords, etc) and I've been trying to convince apple to clear the activation lock. (AS = Apple Support)

<after explaining the situation>
AS: "Have you tried putting the phone in recovery mode? That should clear the lock"
Me: "I've already done that. It prompts for the apple id and password, which I don't have"
AS: "You need to talk to the owner and get the information"
Me: "As I explained, I purchased the phone at an estate sale of someone who died. I have the bill of sale, serial number, the box, obituary. What else do you need?"
AS: "Have you tried contacting a family member? They might have have that information."
Me: "The family members at the sale told us this is all they had. This kind of thing has to happen. I can't believe Apple can't clear the activation lock."
AS: "Yes, we can, but I'm very sorry we take security seriously."
Me: "I understand, what do I do now?"
AS: "Did you log out of the phone? Go to settings ..."
Me: "Yes, I tried all those steps before calling. It prompts for the AppleID and password."
AS: "Did you try entering the password?"
Me: "No, I don't have it. I already explained there is no way to know"
AS: "Yes..yes...sorry...I'm just reading the information in front of me. I found something, have you tried submitting a activation lock removal request?"
Me: "Yes, it was denied, didn't tell me why, which is why I'm calling. What about taking this phone to an Apple store? I have all the paperwork."
AS: "Sure, you can try. You might need the death certificate. The family or the coroner will have a copy."
Me: "What!? Apple requires a death certificate to unlock a phone!? I'm pretty sure not even the family is going to give a total stranger a death certificate"
AS: "Sorry sir, I'm just reading what is in front of me. Without that certificate, there is no way to prove the person died. You can try the Apple store, but they will likely require it."
Me: "That's a lot of drama for unlocking a phone. A *phone*"
AS: "Yes sir, I understand. If there anything else we can do let us know and thank you for being an a apple customer."

Next stop, the Apple Store.

  • 8
    Knowing phones are 2fa and other stuff these days... Kind of makes sense.

    Still I prefer android. Less hassle
  • 9
    I get both sides of this. Apple trying to prevent theft. Person trying to use a phone they got legitly.

    There is also an argument that could be made that this phone never belonged to the person in question. They might try that angle. I guess the bill of sale is as close as you get with that.

    Sorry, this sucks and might end badly for you.
  • 3
    @Demolishun > "Sorry, this sucks and might end badly for you."

    The good news is we payed next to nothing for it (Iphone 6 SE). It was in a box with an old samsung phone, a new-ish 10" samsung galaxy tablet (with bluetooth keyboard), misc cables, and other 'junk' for $65.
  • 4
    @netikras might be a case for hiring an ethical hacker to socially engineer the apple tech support into unlocking the phone.

    Hey, that sounds like a fresh business idea.
  • 3
    @PaperTrail I guess, the Samsung stuff just worked fine after a factory reset.
  • 1
    @Oktokolo > "Samsung stuff just worked fine after a factory reset."

    Yep, not a problem.
  • 2
    @netikras Most Android phones will wipe everything upon reset, purging the 2fa keys. This works well with sane companies and only breaks down with complete clowns like Google who pretend that not having customer support is a good thing. Apple could do the same.
  • 2
    @lbfalvy I reset my Samsung with the external buttons. I didn't think this through. I had to provide my old google account to get back into the device. Now if I had been smart and done the reset from the internal dialogs it would have been fine. So it does matter on some androids from where you do the reset.
  • 0
    @Demolishun That's really strange, sounds like a very serious bug. A factory reset in Android is meant to overwrite flash memory byte for byte from a backup, leaving no trace of your old data or identity except perhaps for hardware ID associations stored remotely.
  • 0
    @lbfalvy If it can be done without logging in, then someone can steal your phone. The feature is designed to brick the phone in case of theft.

    It even comes up with a dialog saying it is an unauthorized factory reset.
  • 0
    @netikras worst case just wipe all data, then.
  • 0
    Sounds like all they need is a @PaperTrail
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