Buying a used smartphone has always been a risky move for those looking to save a little money. But Apple’s new security updates in iOS 7 can make it even more risky — if you’re not careful.

Activation Lock is a new feature in iOS 7 that prevents an iPhone from being erased and restored while the “Find My iPhone” feature is on. It will render the phone useless and allow you to remotely erase the phone yourself or display a lost phone message.

Related: Tips on Buying an Unlocked Smartphone

Unfortunately, this also means you could find yourself locked out of your “new” device if the previous owner did not reset it before shipping or handing it over to you. In most cases, this may not be an issue, as you could email or call the seller to help you unlock the device.

But if the iPhone you purchased was stolen, you’re not likely to get the password required to restore the device or your money back. To make things worse, Apple will not activate the device for you if an account is already attached.

It may not seem like something that could happen to you, but it’s a good rule of thumb to be in close contact with the seller on the device’s condition or handle it before handing over money.

If you’re sending a message to a seller, make sure they know the steps to take in order to reset the iPhone to factory settings. In iOS 7, the feature can be found in Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

Buying or Selling a Used iPhone or iPad Running iOS 7? Read This First! | MakeUseOf


Image: Jon Fingas