The iPhone Setting Thieves Use to Lock You Out of Your Apple Account
The recovery key was designed to make Apple IDs safer. Instead, these victims permanently lost family photos and other precious digital possessions.
By Nicole Nguyen and Joanna Stern. April 19, 2023
Greg Frasca has been locked out of his Apple account since October, and he’ll do just about anything to get back in.
He has offered to fly from Florida to Apple’s California headquarters to prove his identity in person, or write a check for $10,000 to reclaim the account. It holds the only copies of eight years of photos of his young daughters.
This is all because the thieves who stole Mr. Frasca’s iPhone 14 Pro at a bar in Chicago wanted to drain cash from his bank account and prevent him from remotely tracking down the stolen phone. They used his passcode to change the 46-year-old’s Apple ID password. They also enabled a hard-to-find Apple security setting known as the “recovery key.” In doing so, they placed an impenetrable lock on his account.