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Lost or stolen iPhones – why Apple will refuse to fix them

Apple is introducing a new policy in an attempt to curb iPhone theft. Official repair shops – including Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers – will now refuse to repair any device that has been reported missing.

According to an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, technicians have been instructed to decline repairs on iPhones registered with the GSMA, a global registry for lost devices.

Technicians are already notified whether the device has Activation Lock enabled via Find My iPhone and can refuse repairs on those grounds. But this new rule looks to protect those who don’t use those features too.

It’s not clear whether or not technicians would go the extra mile in such circumstances and alert the police or the GSMA that the iPhone has been spotted, in an attempt to reunite it with its original owner.

On the one hand, it’s a wonder Apple has taken so long to implement a protocol that will surely have a significant effect on iPhone thieves. But on the other hand, in practice, it might be something that inadvertently penalizes people who unwittingly bought a stolen iPhone.