Tuesday night, my partner Michael’s iPphone 4S, which was sitting on his desk undisturbed, suddenly went into activation mode all on its own. When it was done, it was in activation lock, demanding the Apple ID and password it was set up with.
Since I set up the phone for him, Michael brought it to me.
I found out that someone, somewhere, hit “find my iPhone” on the Apple site, and instead of it finding the person’s phone, it locked Michael’s down.
I tried every combination of Apple IDs I could think of, after trying the one I thought it was, and having no luck. I went to appleid.apple.com, and searched for an ID, under both our names, with every possible contact email we have, and found nothing. That is when I concluded that someone hacked the ID.
I called AT&T and spoke with them, but they were unable to do anything and suggested I contact someone at Apple. I got into a chat with someone who said if I failed to remember the ID I had to provide the purchase invoice to prove we owned the phone. Back to AT&T, whom, we found out, clears invoices after a year. This phone is 3 years old. We could determine when it was bought and I knew who bought it (me) and what email address was used. It was purchased through the AT&T online store and at that time was a free upgrade with a 2-year service agreement.
I no longer had the electronic invoice, because I had a hard drive crash within that 3 years and lost everything. Michael had no idea where any paperwork on the phone could possibly be.
One Apple tech said “didn’t you write anything down?” No, we didn’t, because it’s a security risk to write that sort of thing down. Not only that but we never had an issue like this before.
AT&T really went the extra mile to help us. At one point, the AT&T tech called Apple to talk to a more senior employee and to verify that this phone was indeed our property. That wasn’t good enough. Apple wouldn’t help us without the invoice.
Apple people: SAVE YOUR PURCHASE INVOICES. PUT THEM IN A SAFE PLACE. WRITE DOWN YOUR APPLE ID AND PASSWORD, AND STORE IT IN A SAFE PLACE.
Michael’s phone is now useless. At least he got his photos off it.
I ordered him a Samsung Galaxy S7, which cannot be locked down like this. I will print out and save every slip of paper having to do with the phone.
Apple, you’ve lost my business. I love the iPhone and was considering an iPad but not if someone can hack the Apple ID and shut it down like this. I’m sorry but your so-called security is a two-edged sword, and that’s too much for me.
PLEASE PASS THIS ON especially if you have friends who use Apple products.