Apple’s Activation Lock Has Resulted In Perfectly Good Apple Products Being Scrapped

When Apple came out with Activation Lock which stops Apple Products from being reused if they are stolen because they are locked to the original owner, I applauded that as it makes iPhones and Macs less of a target for thieves. Or at least it should make them less of a target for thieves. But there’s one unfortunate side effect that Motherboard has detailed:

Secondhand MacBooks that retailed for as much as $3,000 are being turned into parts because recyclers have no way to login and factory reset the machines, which are often just a couple years old.

In short, Activation Lock is creating a problem with recyclers where they can’t factory reset perfectly good computers. So instead of factory resetting them and selling them on the used market, they are selling them for scrap. Or in the worst case, destroying parts that they can’t use with all sorts of health and environmental effects.

This is a huge optics issue that Apple has unintentionally created. And at least at this point, they don’t seem to want to help solve this problem. And I can see why from Apple’s point of view. If you give recyclers the tools factory reset these Macs, those tools might end up in the hands of thieves who would do the same thing with stolen Macs. And if Apple were to reset these computers themselves, it would be a logistical challenge for them as they would likely have to sort out what’s legit and what might have been stolen. Still, I think Apple may have to do something here as this is a bit of an optics issue for a company that likes to brag about their environmental “street cred.”Let’s see if they do or say something now that this is out there.

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