stolen iphone
August 22, 2007 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Can a stolen iphone be inactivated to brick status when AT&T is notified?

Service was suspended and calls cannot be made or received. I'm getting contradicting answer from ATT employes and the website.
posted by francesca too to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Brick status? I doubt it.
posted by dobbs at 6:36 PM on August 22, 2007

posted by scottreynen at 6:54 PM on August 22, 2007

Brick status? Brick means it is dead. It won't power on. Would ATT or Apple send a signal to permanently ruin the phone? No. People who call to have the account suspended if they lost it and then found it later -- or it was recovered from the thief -- would have a useless phone.
posted by birdherder at 7:00 PM on August 22, 2007

Try asking at, which is filled with all manner of the mobile phone fixated. You'll probably get a bunch of bs answers, but you may also get an AT&T employee who can tell you exactly who you need to talk to and exactly what to ask for.
posted by Good Brain at 7:23 PM on August 22, 2007

Response by poster: I just posted the same question at thank you for the tip Good Brain.
posted by francesca too at 8:06 PM on August 22, 2007

Best answer: I lost my iPhone about two weeks after I got the thing. It was out of my possession for about two hours. Who ever found it never used it. When I called AT&T they said that the culprit would never be able to use the phone because it would have to be activated through iTunes to use it. This being the case they explained that when the phone's serial number (or some other number that identifies the phone) came up it would not work after it was disabled by AT&T.

They added that if I found the phone I would need to call them, give them my specifics, some number they gave me and I would have to make the call from the phone number I used to call them. So, yes, the phone is as dead as a brick and considering that when you buy a new iPhone you can't even get past the picture of the globe all the stuff inside the phone is pretty much locked up also.

I am sure some savvy hacker could tunnel in there but I doubt you have much to worry about. The phone part will not work anymore and would probably be more trouble to get the phone a new ID number, for the thief, than it would be to just buy one.
posted by bkeene12 at 8:11 PM on August 22, 2007 [2 favorites]

While bkeene12 is correct that a not-yet-activated iPhone is pretty much useless, once an iPhone is activated, it can't be remotely de-activated beyond disabling the AT&T account. All of the non-phone functionality (e.g. wif internet, iPod, etc.) will still work. See: The iPhone Works Without AT&T Service.
posted by scottreynen at 8:47 PM on August 22, 2007 [2 favorites]

what about wifi access? can't you browse the web and stuff via wifi? so your thief has a $600 portable internet terminal. fortunately, it should be bricked soon enough when the thief can't charge it, at least until he/she steals a charger.
posted by knowles at 8:53 PM on August 22, 2007

the thief can't charge it, at least until he/she steals a charger.

Which is not that rough, considering that my $10 iPod car charger from Target charges my iPhone just fine.
posted by padraigin at 9:04 PM on August 22, 2007

They may never be able to use the phone on the cell network to make phone calls, but I think there are several fairly easy hacks that will activate the ipod wifi functionality.
posted by AaRdVarK at 8:40 AM on August 23, 2007

Just out of curiosity, my understanding is that the iPhone isn't eligible for the standard cell phone insurance and is only covered by Applecare, which doesn't cover loss - right? So you lost yours and now you're just out $600?
posted by Caviar at 10:41 AM on August 26, 2007

« Older i have a sore tendon   |   Desperately seeking insular G! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.