iPhone Activation Lock

iOS users can now bypass Apple's Activation Lock and reactivate devices without an iCloud password thanks to a new tool from smartphone unlock provider ChronicUnlocks. The service is intended to free blocked devices when users forget their iCloud login details or sell their devices without restoring them, but it will cost you a cool $150.

Apple's Activation Lock, introduced last year alongside iOS 7, is designed to curb the theft of iPhones, iPads, and other iOS devices by preventing them from being restored and reactivated without the original owner's iCloud password. It means thieves cannot wipe devices after they've been stolen and therefore makes them harder to sell on the black market.

The feature has been very effective since its launch. A June report from The New York Times revealed that iPhone robberies in San Francisco had dropped 38 percent since Activation Lock was introduced last September, while those in New York City fell 19 percent. But bypassing that lock is now a great deal easier — if you have the money.

For $150, ChronicUnlocks can remotely remove the Activation Lock from any iPhone running iOS 7. All you need to provide is its IMEI number, the model name, and an email address, and the process takes 3-15 business days. There are some caveats, however.

This service isn't designed to make stolen iOS devices easier to sell. In fact, ChronicUnlocks won't remove the Activation Lock from devices that are reported lost or stolen, and it insists that this service will be pulled if "too many people submit lost/stolen IMEIs." It also states that those who attempt to unblock lost and stolen devices will not be refunded.

This tool shouldn't help thieves sell stolen iPhones, then, but it should help genuine owners regain access to their devices after forgetting their iCloud password. It is a tad pricey, but it's certainly a great deal cheaper than a new device.