Apple will no longer fix iPhones flagged as stolen or missing

Apple will no longer fix iPhones flagged as stolen or missing
An Apple store in Lagos, Nigeria. Image source: Nigerian Guide

Congratulations to all legitimate iPhone users. Apple says when your phone is stolen or missing, you should rest assured that it won’t be repaired if it’s broken—at least not by Apple or any of its stores and authorised providers. 

The tech giant is reported to have instructed all licensed Apple Stores and authorised providers not to accept a device for repair if they get a notice on their internal MobileGenius or GSX systems that the phone had been marked as missing. 

What this means is that technicians must check a device’s IMEI against the GSMA Device Registry when a customer brings it in for repair. 

Hold on a minute: what’s the GSMA registry? 

The GSMA registry is a global database where owners can register their devices’ IMEI with a status such as lost, stolen, or fraudulently obtained. 

Before now, Apple already had a policy to not repair devices whose owners cannot disable the Find My iPhone feature. But it seems this isn’t sufficient enough as this new move will help Apple providers avoid repairing stolen iPhones that never had Find My iPhone enabled. This could also discourage people from buying second-hand devices outside of official and authorised sources. 

While this is a welcome development, it would make more sense if the original owner can be alerted instead of giving it back to the person who brings it in for repair. 

After all said and done, Apple authorised stores and providers won’t be the one repairing stolen phones. There remain unauthorised shops that would repair a device, regardless of how it’s been obtained—and that’s one way this policy could be outwitted.