In this article, we’ll be talking about locked iPhones. What does the term “locked” mean as applied to Apple devices? Is it possible to unlock one? Where might you sell a locked iPhone, and are you able to sell it for parts? We’ll be going over all of those topics, so let’s dive in right now.
What is a Locked iPhone?
The term “locked,” when applied to iPhones, does not refer to a single condition, but several. The first one is when you have an iPhone that has a locked home screen. All iPhones come with a lock feature. It allows the user to secure their home screen when the device is not in use.
The Touchscreen Lock
This prevents the phone’s owner from accidentally activating the touchscreen when the phone is in their pocket, purse, or somewhere else where they aren’t handling it. The user can set up the phone so that it locks after a period of inactivity, or they can do this manually by pressing the “lock” button at the top of the device.
The Carrier Lock
There’s also such a thing as a carrier-locked phone. This sort of lock refers to when an iPhone can only be used on one cell services provider, such as Verizon or AT&T. With this type of lock, there is code written into the phone that prevents it from being used with any carrier except that to which it was assigned.
The time you’ll see this with a phone is if you got the device as part of a contract that you signed with a particular carrier. The phone is locked into that carrier for use is a way for them to ensure your loyalty to that carrier and contract.
The Jailed iPhone
Then there is the term “jailed” iPhone, which is sometimes used interchangeably with the term “locked.” A jailed iPhone is one where the device has been restricted to using the operating system and applications that Apple has approved.
A “jailbroken” iPhone is one where this programming code has been disabled, allowing the use of third-party applications. Witha jailbroken device, a programmer has customized the look of the iOS operating system that the phone is running to allow for more flexibility with what programs you can have on there.
The way that you “jailbreak” or unlock an iPhone that is locked in this way is by first connecting the device to a computer. Then, you use a jailbreaking program to alter the device’s code.
The iCloud Locked iPhone
There is one more version of the locked iPhone, and that is one that has an iCloud lock on it. This is also sometimes referred to as an Activation Lock. The reason for this lock is so only the phone’s rightful owner can access its various features. If the iCloud lock is engaged on an iPhone, then only the phone’s owner can take it off, or someone who knows their login and password.
If someone tries to sell you an iPhone that is iCloud locked, then it won’t be of any use to you. There are several websites or videos on YouTube that talk about how to get around this feature, but in reality, Apple has made this type of lock nearly impossible to bypass. Therefore, if you have an opportunity to buy an iPhone for what feels like a steal, but the iCloud lock is on, it’s best to pass it up.
Is Unlocking an iPhone Legal?
If you’re talking about the third definition of unlocking an iPhone, which amounts to changing the device’s code through a jailbreaking program, then the answer is yes, it is legal. You can unlock your iPhone from a specific carrier, and you can also jailbreak it so that it can run third-party (non-Apple) applications.
However, if you unlock your iPhone, you will almost certainly void the warranty with Apple. Also, Apple periodically releases firmware updates. One of those might disable some of the functionality of an unlocked or jailbroken iPhone.
Can You Sell a Locked iPhone?
This is not the easiest question to answer, but in theory, yes, you can sell certain types of locked iPhones. Let’s assume that “locked” in this context means an iPhone that either has a carrier lock on it (restricting its use to one network) or is jailed (the device has been reduced to using strictly the iOS operating system). It’s perfectly legal to sell a phone in either of these conditions, provided you can find a buyer for it.
In most cases, if you’re trying to sell your phone to an individual, they might be hesitant to buy a device from you if it can only be used on one carrier network. They might wish to use a different carrier, in which case they will need to get the phone modified so they can do so.
The same goes for iPhones that have been reduced to using approved applications via the iOS operating system. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a phone in this condition, except that there are certain limitations that some device owners might find onerous.
You should always remove the iCloud lock from your phone before selling it since an iCloud locked phone is useless to most buyers.
Don’t Be Deceptive When You Sell a Locked iPhone
When selling an iPhone, it’s best to be completely honest about its condition. That goes for whether you are selling it online or in-person. If you disclose everything about the iPhone and the individual to whom you are selling it agrees to your price, then both of you should walk away from the transaction satisfied.
There are also many different entities that buy used iPhones, like Buyback Boss. However, each of these has different rules for what they’ll buy and what they won’t. For instance, Buyback Boss does not purchase iCloud-locked phones. You will probably find this to be true for most other buyback programs as well. If you’re looking for a buyback operation that buys locked phones, you’ll have to read the fine print regarding their policies.
Can I Sell a Locked iPhone for Parts?
The answer to this is the same as whether you can sell a locked iPhone that the buyer doesn’t intend on stripping and selling off piecemeal. Sure, you can sell a locked iPhone for parts, if you can locate someone who wants to buy it.
Generally speaking, you are going to get more money from an individual or entity that plans on using the intact iPhone. If all they plan on doing with it is strip-mining it for parts, then you’re not likely to get as much money for it. Which brings us to the last part of this article…
Can I Unlock an iPhone Before I Sell It?
It makes sense that you would be able to get more money for your used iPhone if it is unlocked. That is true for the Apple Activation Lock feature or getting the phone jailbroken from a carrier.
You should probably try to remove the iCloud activation lock from your iPhone before you sell it. You can do that simply enough if you know your Apple ID and password. If you don’t know them, then you can try to sell the locked phone as-is, but you’re not likely to get as much money for it.
You can also consider getting the phone jailbroken by taking it to a person who does that kind of thing. There are some individuals who have no compunctions about purchasing a jailbroken iPhone. Getting an iPhone jailbroken usually costs somewhere in the area of $20. All you have to do is locate someone with the software and the technical knowhow to do it.
The Risks of Jailbreaking an iPhone
Getting your iPhone unlocked (in whatever way that term applies to your particular device) means that you’ll likely be able to get more money for it. Just understand that anytime you do any modifying of the device that wasn’t sanctioned by Apple, you’ll be voiding any warranty that applies to it.
Also, anytime you fundamentally alter the programming of an iPhone, you run the risk of rendering some aspects of its functionality ineffective. If you decide to go this route, then it’s a calculated risk. Yes, you could get more money for the device selling it on the open market. However, you could also damage it if you go through someone who turns out not to be the expert in iPhone modification that they claimed to be.
There are no guarantees with this sort of thing. At the very least, before proceeding, you should ask the person performing the modification how much they have done this sort of thing in the past. Ask what assurances they can offer you that they won’t disable or damage your iPhone.