Apple’s Activation Lock continues to cause trouble among recyclers: Macs that aren’t properly detached from the first or previous owner’s Apple ID can no longer be resold, even if the device is in excellent condition. The MacBooks would then be shredded, partly for liability reasons, or only cannibalized for parts, according to processors in the USA.
The problem is only now appearing on a larger scale because many companies issue MacBooks to their employees for several years and then discard them. The link with the Apple IDs is often not broken and nobody can be found who can or wants to do it later.
Activation Lock is designed to deter thieves
Apple’s activation lock, which is set automatically when it is linked to an Apple ID, prevents the device from being put into operation again. The activation lock on Macs has only been around for about five years, on iPhones for longer. It is intended as a theft deterrent, because a stolen device has only very limited use and value.
Recyclers are currently being “flooded” with such MacBooks that are blocked and therefore not reusable, wrote a processor on Twitter – these often include relatively new, popular models such as the MacBook Air M1, for which there is high demand on the used market. For Macs with Intel chips, there are still dubious methods of overriding the activation lock, but even that doesn’t exist with the newer M1 Macs, he emphasized to Motherboard magazine.
Lock even stricter on AirPods
Recyclers and processors are demanding that Apple offer official unlocking options for the industry – of course only with the appropriate proof of purchase. Apple itself is able to remove the activation lock from Macs and iPhones, but only does so in individual cases, for example if customers can present an original invoice.
Activation Lock works on Macs, iPhones, and iPads. The relatively young “Where is?” lock, which is used with AirPods (from generation 3), AirPods Pro and AirPods Max as well as AirTags, is even more secure: These can only be set up freshly with a new Apple ID if the previous owner correctly and locally – within Bluetooth range – disconnected the device from its own hardware. A subsequent release of the lock from a distance, for example by removing it from the iCloud account, is not possible here. Apple itself states that it is not able to solve this “Where is?” lock.
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