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Been looking for a phone upgrade and my dad has an iPhone (iPhone 13) given to him by his work, which he doesn’t use anymore. He offered to let me use it on the condition that the company can’t see that it’s being used.

Based on what I’ve seen, the only way that a company IT department can track usage of an iPhone is through MDM or a connection to a company network/company cell network; and afaik there wasn’t any MDM on the phone to begin with. He performed a factory reset on the phone before giving it to me (Erase All Content and Settings), and I’d be using my own personal SIM, connected to my own personal network. He has also never used these company phones with a company SIM and has always used his own personal SIM and network for these kinds of devices.

I know that a lot of these new iPhones have an eSIM inside them, so would it be possible for the IT department to track whether it’s being used or not through that eSIM ICCID, even if the eSIM is not being used? Furthermore, are there any other ways that a company might track whether an iPhone is being used or not? HWID maybe?

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  • Tracking aside, one should not use company property for personal use. And company property should not be given to other individuals.
    – schroeder
    Apr 25, 2023 at 8:01

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It very much depends on the organization. Apple has a MDM solution (Apple Business Manager) which would allow pretty sweeping controls over a device and visibility as to it's use*. The marketing literature is a bit sparse on how exactly it is managed but knowing Apple and it's prevalance on all products (laptop, phone and ipad) it is likely tied into their security chip rather than anything esim based.

Now, an employer does not have to use the MDM solution. They may have a completely different solution or no visibility as to the use of the device at all. The latter is not uncommon in my experience.

So, there is definitely a way for IT to tell if an Apple device is being used and to some degree for what. But we cannot tell you if the IT department in question has these controls.

*even under the strictest MDM policy Apple maintains that user secrecy is still upheld.

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  • I spent so much time describing the MDM solution and then read "Without MDM" in the title. The last two paragraphs don't feel like a researched answer although it is about as specific as this forum will probably provide.
    – foreverska
    Apr 25, 2023 at 13:57
  • Does the Apple MDM solution survive factor resets? Tied to the org account?
    – schroeder
    Apr 25, 2023 at 19:18
  • To my understanding, depends on the generation. Modern stuff there's a heavy tie in with the security chip on board and unless it's released from MDM/ABM it should persist no matter what.
    – foreverska
    Apr 25, 2023 at 21:43
  • That's what I was thinking, which would mean that even if there was no "MDM" installed as an app, it could still be possible for the employer to gain access to the device.
    – schroeder
    Apr 26, 2023 at 7:42

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