Your iPhones Are Vulnerable Without iCloud, And Thieves Know It

One of the best features of an iPhone is the security to protect you against it being stolen and/or hacked. There are so many protections, such as Face/Touch ID and the ability to lock or delete the content remotely. But every iPhone is controlled by iCloud, and if that is disabled, you have no protections, and that’s something thieves and hackers are beginning to figure out.

Tech-Savvy Thieves

First, no one can get into your iPhone unless they have your passcode. They most likely won’t have your face or your fingerprint, but it can be done with a passcode. Secondly, by using Find My iPhone, you can not only find it and track it if it’s stolen, but you can lock it or erase it if you have no hope of getting it back, just to protect your information.

That’s all great, and it makes you feel much safer. However, thieves and hackers are wising up to this. When they steal your phone, before they make their getaway, they ask you to disable Find My iPhone and/or iCloud. With no iCloud, it can’t be tracked, locked, or erased.

The implications of this are obvious. Without it being locked, thieves have access to all your data, that is what they can reach without iCloud being turned on. And once they get the data off the phone that they want, they can delete all the content and keep it or sell it as a new iPhone.

BGR discusses different types of incidents of this happening, such as a case from 2017 where a woman was leaving a metro station and was then grabbed around her neck with the assailant demanding she delete iCloud, then took off with her iPhone. Last month a series of the same incident happened at the same location. People were being confronted at gunpoint and being ordered to disable Find My iPhone and log out of iCloud.


This is because as technology makes more advancements, thieves and hackers become more savvy with how to bypass that technology.

Motherboard explains:

The iCloud security feature has likely cut down on the number of iPhones that have been stolen, but enterprising criminals have found ways to remove iCloud in order to resell devices.

To do this, they phish the phone’s original owners or scam employees at Apple Stores, which have the ability to override iCloud locks. Thieves, coders, and hackers participate in an underground industry designed to remove a user’s iCloud account from a phone so that they can then be resold.

Lack of Solutions

Unfortunately, there isn’t even much you can do to combat this. If you’re staring down the barrel of a gun, you’re most likely going to do as told. You may think you can just refuse, as they’re not going to shoot you until you disable iCloud, but there are still options thieves have if you refuse.

They can still shoot you and steal your phone anyway, then create a fake receipt to fool Apple Stores into believing they are the owners of the phone and then get employees to help them break into the phone. There are also “custom phishing kits for sale online designed to steal iCloud passwords from a phone’s original owner.”

Does this information change your mind about owning an iPhone? Let us know how you feel about thieves and hackers forcing you to disable iCloud before stealing your iPhone in the comments section below.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. “Unfortunately, there isn’t even much you can do to combat this.”
    There IS something smartphone owners can do to at least make it harder on thieves but it would take a MAJOR change in behavior. The vast majority of smartphone owners constantly carry their phones out in the open in one of their hands making it easy for thieves to not only identify who has a phone but also what brand/model. If the thieves don’t know you have a smartphone, they will not hold you up for it. So keep it out of sight. Unfortunately people want to be conveniently connected and/or entertained 24/7/365, That cannot be done if the phone is out of sight in a purse, pocket, briefcase, etc.

    This the one case when you have it, you definitely should not flaunt it.

  2. Why not complete the article by telling users how to determine if their iCloud is properly activated?

    Why not also tell the folks how to disable iCloud if staring down the barrel of a gun.

    Let’s not do only part of our jobs if we intend to inform.

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