According to a report by MacRumors, Apple recently notified its retail stores and authorized service providers about changes in repair policies. Retail stores and services should no longer fix iPhones marked as missing or stolen.
Apple already has strict repair rules regarding potentially stolen devices. For example, the company will not fix an iPhone if a customer cannot disable Find My iPhone. With the new rules in place, technicians should check a device in GSMA Device Registry databases to ensure it is not stolen or missing. If the device is flagged as such, stores and service providers should decline the repair. It is also unknown whether technicians should take any further steps in handling potentially stolen smartphones.
GSMA Device Registry is a global database where users can report their phones' IMEI numbers and mark them as stolen, missing, or illegally obtained. Mobile network operators can use the information from the GSMA Device Registry to block reported devices from accessing networks. The project is intended to prevent fraud, crime, and improve security.
It is worth mentioning that the new repair rules imposed by Apple do not affect unofficial third-party shops, which often do not care how customers obtained the devices they want to fix. Still, repairing modern iPhones in such services is a challenge that gets worse every year. Apple keeps placing more hardware and software limitations that cripple devices repaired using unofficial tools or non-genuine parts.