Reports are surfacing of an issue with Activation Lock that is affecting an increasing number of iPhone users.

MacRumors forums and Twitter have seen reports of an issue which sees an iPhone linked to an Apple ID email address that is not the user’s own. Many affected users have taken to MacRumors forums and Twitter to discuss the issue with their smartphones.

Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus Activation Lock
Image source: Apple

Affected users complain online

According to MacRumors reader Balders, who just bought a new iPhone 7 Plus, the problem meant that he couldn’t access the phone.

“It appears someone has already used it as the iPhone is asking for the account used to activate it — o…[email protected] Apple say it needs replacing […] Now got to wait for an expedited replacement iPhone once I’ve returned this one,” he wrote.

The problem is due to the fact that if the wrong Apple ID is displayed, users can’t sign in. This means that they can’t set up the new smartphone.

At the moment it looks like the problem affects new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus handsets that are being used for the first time, as well as iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus that have been restored to default settings. However it appears that the older models are less likely to be affected.

Twitter sees various posts on the subject

At the same time there have been reports of a sudden malfunction.

“I purchased an iPhone 6s full-price and outright directly from an Apple Store in September 2015. The phone was unlocked (I switched from T-Mobile to Verizon after I purchased it without issue),” wrote MacRumors user TheKricket. “I recently purchased an iPhone 7 Plus and after that phone was activated on Verizon’s network, the iPhone 6s now indicates that it has an “Activation Lock.” It is also linked to some unknown iCloud account (not the account I activated it with or have been using it with for close to a full year).”

These threads have received replies from other affected smartphone users on MacRumors. Similar posts have been seen on Twitter.

“Got my brand new iPhone 7 Plus… with an activation lock on it… WTF? Anybody else with the same problem?” tweeted @the_street_ch.

“Something weird is going on. Possible @apple security issue with iOS 10 & wiping an old iPhone, reboots to Activation Lock & unknown email,” added @Metagamers.

Apple can fix issue or replace handset

Some of the affected users were able to fix the problem by providing Apple with proof of purchase. It has been reported that you can complete this process by booking a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store, or by calling the company’s support team.

Other users have been more unfortunate. In a few cases an Activation Lock screen connected to the wrong Apple ID has appeared on multiple occasions. Some users affected in this way report that they have received a new handset from Apple.

At the moment it is not clear what is causing the issues. There has been no official comment from Apple.

One of the strangest things about the story is that it isn’t just the iPhone 7 that is affected. Given that older handsets are also having the same trouble, it could suggest that Apple security is the source of the problem.

The Activation Lock is supposed to stop anyone getting unauthorized access to your smartphone. It’s still not clear exactly what is going wrong.

iPhone 7 not suffering any large scale issues

It isn’t rare for there to be some issues following the launch of a new gadget, and smartphones are more susceptible than some other pieces of technology. A lot of the time the issues are temporary, involving factors such as wireless connectivity or battery life, but others can be more lasting, including iPhone 6 bendgate and some storage issues.

Up to now the new Apple smartphone hasn’t suffered any problems worthy of a -gate suffix, although some people did try to blow so-called hissgate out of proportion. For those who haven’t heard of the issue, some users found that the iPhone 7 made a hissing noise when certain tasks were being carried out. Experts later revealed that it was unlikely to present any problems.

The new Jet Black finish has also attracted some criticism of its own. Users found that the colorway scratched incredibly easily during normal use.

To be fair to Apple it does recommend that you use a case to prevent cosmetic damage to your smartphone. However one man found that a faint mark was left on his Jet Black iPhone 7 after he wiped its case with his shirt.

If something as abrasive as a shirt can leave a mark, things have got a bit ridiculous. Anyone planning to buy a Jet Black handset should definitely get themselves a case.