This is Apple’s ‘Zombie Check’ Tool Used to Reduce iPhone Repair Fraud

Last week, The Information‘s Wayne Ma reported a few refined fraud scheme wherein arranged thieves would purchase or scouse borrow iPhones, take away treasured elements just like the processor or common sense board, change in pretend elements, and go back the purposefully-broken iPhones to obtain replacements they may resell.

iPhone Serial Number Reader


Apple was acutely aware of the expanding fraud in 2013 and, within the years since, it has controlled to “dramatically cut back” the velocity of iPhone-related restore fraud in its retail shops, in particular in China, in accordance to the record.

One of Apple’s countermeasures was once to broaden diagnostic tool that its retail staff may just use to temporarily come across pretend portions in iPhones, the record mentioned. To evade this tactic, alternatively, many fraudsters began to deliberately disable the iPhones so that they could not be became on and subjected to diagnostics.

Fraudsters even went so far as acquiring Apple buyer information, together with serial numbers, for iPhones that had already been offered in China. In some circumstances, the unsuitable serial numbers can be etched at the again of the iPhones.

To fight the usage of stolen serial numbers, The Information reported that Apple got here up with a screening way referred to as “Zombie Check” internally that examined whether or not serial numbers for the damaged iPhones held for inspection have been additionally related to iPhones nonetheless the usage of Apple’s on-line products and services like appzz.website.

According to an interior Apple report bought by way of appzz.website, the software was once to begin with restricted to China, however Apple started rolling it out to Apple Authorized Service Providers world wide in February 2018.

The aptly-named Serial Number Reader is a easy software with a Lightning connector on one finish and USB-A at the different. It is used to validate the serial selection of an iPhone 6 or more recent that won’t energy on by way of retrieving it without delay from the common sense board, even supposing a supply mentioned it does not all the time paintings.

To use the software, a technician connects the tip with the Lightning cable to the iPhone and the tip with the USB cable to a Mac working macOS 10.8.5 or later. Then, the technician launches the better half Serial Number Reader app at the Mac and the iPhone’s serial quantity must seem typically.


The software can retrieve serial numbers from iPhones which were broken in various tactics, together with devices with a non-functional show. Liquid injury is additionally no impediment, as long as the liquid is now not leaking out of the instrument.

Apple’s interior report states that “serial quantity validation guarantees guaranty and repair eligibility related to a serialized instrument is correctly carried out.” The report provides that “validation guarantees Apple most effective gives guaranty carrier on authentic Apple merchandise,” thwarting fraudsters.

Apple’s efforts seem to be operating. Apple’s annual Form 10-Ok signifies that, in 2017, Apple’s guaranty bills lowered to $4.32 billion from $4.66 billion a 12 months previous. The serial quantity software, it might seem, is reasonably efficient.
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