Technology Training

Android & iOS device protection against theft

FRP

What is Factory Reset Protection?

Android devices provide built-in security features you can use to protect your device and information, including screen locks and data encryption. Factory Reset Protection (FRP), is a security feature on Android devices with Android OS Version 5.1 (Lollipop) and higher. When you perform a Factory Data Reset, all settings are returned to the factory default settings and all personal data is erased, including files and downloaded apps.

The FRP is automatically activated when you setup a Google account on your Galaxy device.

Once the FRP is activated, it prevents use of your device after a Factory Data Reset in an untrusted environment. This means if your device is Factory Reset any other way than heading into your Settings > General Management > Reset > Factory Data Reset, the FRP Lock will be enabled. When you try to start up your device after completing a factory reset in an untrusted environment you are required to log in to the original Google Account in the initial setup.

If your device has been lost or stolen, and has been Factory Data Reset in an untrusted environment, this will trigger the FRP lock.

You will the following message:

“This device was reset.To continue, sign in with a Google Account that was previously synced on this device”.

 

What do I need to know about FRP?

 

If you want to reset your device to factory default settings in an untrusted environment, ensure that you know your Google account login credentials as you will need it to log in once you have reset your device. If you want to reset your device to factory default settings, but don’t remember your Google account credentials, you can action one of the following:

 

  • Check your Google account settings and reset your password via the device or at google.com 
  • If you have reset your password, it can take24-72 hours for the password reset to sync with all devices registered to the account.
  • If you enter this password incorrectly on the device, the time period restarts again for another 24-72 hours to sync with your registered device

 

If you already reset your device, but don’t remember your Google username and/or password, the device cannot be used. If this is the case, please action the following:

  • If you know your Google account username but cannot remember the password, you can reset your password on the device, or at google.com. It can take 24-72 hours for a new password to sync with all registered devices. Try logging in to your device with the new password after the suggested timeframe.
  • If you have multiple Google accounts registered on your device, but you can’t remember which Google account you initially set up your device with, visit https://www.google.com/android/devicemanager. Log in with your Google account and check the list of devices registered to the account. If you don’t see the device listed on the account, it means that your device is not currently linked with this Google account. Repeat the process until you have found the correct linked Google account.
  • If you cannot remember any of your Google account information, and the FRP Lock has been triggered, visit one of our Authorised Service Centres to receive professional assistance. Please ensure that you have your Proof of Purchase to show evidence of ownership of your device.
  • If you purchased the device second hand from ebay or Gumtree you will need to contact the seller and ask for their Google Account details

If you want to reset your device to factory default settings, ensure that you know your Google account login credentials as you will need it to log in once you have reset your device.

Other Methods.

If you were to Google “FRP Lock Bypass” on Google you will find many methods to try and bypass the protection. I have tried quite a few, and none work. As soon as Google becomes aware of a bypass method they will counteract it with an update or patch.

iOS Activation Lock

With iOS 7, released on September of 2013 Apple added a new security feature to all its touch enabled devices in an attempt to cut down on device theft.

This feature was called Activation Lock.

 

 

Before iOS 7 when somebody stole a touch enabled Apple device, all they had to do to make it functional was reset to factory settings either via the Erase all Settings and Data option on the device, or through iTunes on a computer.

This would set the device to an “As New” state allowing the thief to use the device without any issues.

iOS 7 changed all that with Activation lock.

Basically, when a device is registered with iCloud, and Find My iPhone is turned on in iCloud Settings on the device, it becomes locked the Apple ID and Password that was used to register it. It cannot be reset to factory condition without the password, and will be locked if it is attempted to be reset through iTunes on a computer.

With Find my iPhone (iPad or iPod) active, the owner can track the device’s location through the iCloud.com website or from another device that has the Find my iPhone App installed.

The owner can then choose to delete all content from the device and lock it. When this happens, a screen requesting the Apple ID and password will appear on the device preventing any access to it until the credentials are provided

Many thieves will attempt to sell off these locked devices to unsuspecting customers through online services such as E-Bay or Craigslist where its impossible to view the device before purchase.

If you purchase a device secondhand please make sure that the seller has disabled iCloud, otherwise the device is usless!

How to verify that the device has been wiped?

 

When a iDevice is first turned on when it was first bought, it will start up at the Welcome (Hello) screen. When a device is reset, it will return to this screen. However, if the owner did not properly remove the device form their Apple ID, the device will show the activation lock screen after selecting a language and connecting to Wifi.

When buying in person, start the setup process, select a language, and connect to a wifi network. If the device is properly wiped and removed from the Apple ID of the previous owner, the next screen should be the Restore screen, where you can choose to use an iCloud backup to set up the device from, or continue and set up as new.

If buying sight unseen, its best to have the seller provide contact information, and withhold payment until you are certain the device is not locked.

Other Methods:

As with the Android FRP lock, there are plenty of methods out there to try and disable the iCloud protection. There are even business that will do it for you, for a fee. I have not used these but I have tried many methods, all of which failed.

If you have proof of purchase from the seller with the model and serial number listed, and signed by the seller, you may be able to go to the Apple Store and they may be able to unlock it for you.

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