"Even though the phone is unlocked it will lock again if you do a factory reset"?

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TheDougmeister

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iPhone SE 2nd generation (2020) on eBay. Seller had this comment:

"Even though the phone is unlocked it will lock again if you do a factory reset."

What are they talking about? Thanks.
 

cjmnews

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Usually an "unlocked" phone means that it can be used on any network, and it is no longer locked to a particular carrier.
When the above is the case, a factory reset will not make it locked to a carrier again.

Guessing based on the statement alone, the phone currently has no pass code ("unlocked") so it is usable. The factory reset would be a restore in Apple speak, and my guess is the phone is tied to an Apple ID that the seller does not have access to, and the restore requires that the Apple ID password is entered to turn off Find My iPhone and use the phone after a restore.

Apple added the link to the Apple ID to reduce the amount of stolen phones that are sold on auction sites because the phones can't be erased without the Apple ID password. What some people do now, is "find" (sometimes they legitimately bought it but the previous owner forgot to remove their Apple ID) an iPhone with no screen lock pass code, manually erase the data, then sell the phone as is. If the new owner upgrades the operating system, or tries to restore the phone, or tries to use their own Apple ID on it, or enable Find My iPhone they will find they are blocked by the old Apple ID. The phone is worthless once blocked by the Apple ID.

I would look for a better listing.
 

TheDougmeister

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Thank you for the prompt (and comprehensive!) response. I learned some good things from that post!

So, if I purchase a used phone (eBay or elsewhere) and there is a return policy, it would always be a good idea to perform a factory reset on it immediately to make sure that I won't be caught off guard down the road if I ever do have to reset it?
 

cjmnews

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At a minimum, the Settings section should be checked for the Apple ID. If the top of Settings shows a name in the Apple ID section, it is locked to that ID and a restore will fail. Return the phone for a refund.

If there is no ID, then a restore will succeed and ensure that everything on the phone is erased and replaced with a new operating system (good security to ensure no bad apps were installed).

The other thing to check is in Settings->General, scroll to the bottom and see if there is a Device Management section under VPN. If there is, then there is a corporate or other app store being used to load other applications that don't exist in the Apple App Store. Usually used by corporations for in-house apps, but can be used to hijack a phone as well. If there is a Device Management section, tap it, then tap the Profile that is installed and tap Remove Management to delete it. This prevents some corporation/unknown entity from having the power to erase or brick your device.

I recommend a Restore to completely remove all legacy data from any used phone. I restore my old phones before giving them away as well.
 
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