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Iphone 6, stolen password: is the situation recoverable?

Posted on 2014-11-16
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Last Modified: 2014-11-26
Hi guys. So, let me describe the situation here because it's quite hairy.

A customer had her Macbook and iphone configured by her boyfriend, and he knew ALL her passwords.

Now they split up, he has reached a nonsensical level of grudge and has taken both her Macbook and her phone as "hostages". I mean remotely, since he's in Thailand and she's in Italy.

So, he changed the passwords and she lost any chance of accessing her iCloud documents and such, but that's the least of her problems.

I linked her Macbook (both Store and iCloud) to a new Apple id and she wanted me to do that on her new iPhone 6 (iOS 8) too.

Trouble is, she used iTunes (the most diabolical piece of sotware know to man) to recover a backup of the old iPhone (the one "controlled" by her ex) so now the phone is once again linked to the unreachable iCloud account. The option to Find your iPhone (the one which helps against theft) is on, so I don't think there's a way to hard reset this phone without knowing the new iCloud password.

So my question is, is there any way to hard reset (factory restore, if you will) this phone or should she just send it to Apple with proof of property? I know there was a way with old iPhones, such as iPhone 4, but I fear there's not anymore?

Thanks.
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Question by:Daniele Brunengo
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 150 total points
ID: 40445659
For the iPhone, have the phone number disconnected and the SIM card disabled. Other than that, there is not much can be done if the other party knows the passwords.

For the MAC, change ALL passwords:  MAC, local apps, iTunes, ALL web passwords. Go through and change everything.

If it were me, I would then back up the MAC, and reinstall IOS to make it a new machine. Then set it up again.
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Author Comment

by:Daniele Brunengo
ID: 40445780
The Mac is fine, thanks. I changed everything yesterday. The problem is the iPhone, it doesn't seem possible to hard reset without knowing the iCloud password related to the lock.
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Assisted Solution

by:Neil Russell
Neil Russell earned 350 total points
ID: 40445795
That is correct. It is the best thing apple have done in years but in your customers case they won't see it that way.  Passwords are private.  I believe that the iCloud agreement states that if you share your password then its "Hard luck".

Not much help I know but Apple will be your only point of call now.

Good luck with them!
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 40445805
Can she not go through the process of recovering her password?
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LVL 90

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40445876
Take the phone to the Apple Store and ask them to do a hard reset. I think they can do this.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Daniele Brunengo earned 0 total points
ID: 40445886
Neilsr, that process can't be used because her ex has total control over that iCloud account, including email, recovery code and such.

Anyway, it looks like I managed to do it by putting the iPhone in DFU mode and resetting it with iTunes. I had no faith whatsoever, but looks like it worked.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 40445893
As far as I am aware that will NOT untie the phone from the icloud account.  The only method is, as i said, talk to Apple.  They will require proof of ownership/purchase though.
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Author Comment

by:Daniele Brunengo
ID: 40445971
I think the phone was somehow NOT actually locked because it became tied to the account through a backup. There's an Apple site (https://www.icloud.com/activationlock/) where you can check if it is locked and it said it wasn't (although it would still ask for the password when trying to reset it the usual way), whereas the original phone was. So I guess that's why it worked.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 40445972
Ah i get you. It was the restored data that was causing the request for a password!

Well you can breathe a sigh of relief then hopefully :D
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Author Comment

by:Daniele Brunengo
ID: 40445979
I'm still not 100% sure, because the customer didn't leave me enough time to test it thoroughly, she took off with the phone. I guess she'll let me know in case of trouble.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 40445984
Oh i'm sure she will! Fingers crossed.
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Author Comment

by:Daniele Brunengo
ID: 40452601
Ok, it actually has worked.
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Author Comment

by:Daniele Brunengo
ID: 40457522
I guess I'll distribute points between all of us.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Daniele Brunengo
ID: 40466457
The reason I selected my own comment as a solution is that my attempt worked.
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