What To Do If Your iPhone Was Lost Or Stolen

March 22, 2019

What To Do If Your iPhone Was Lost Or Stolen

iPhone's are lost or stolen everyday all over the world. iPhones have become a favorite target for thieves due to their high resale value. To combat this global issue, Apple implemented Find my iPhone and Activation lock. With find my iPhone you are able to track, disable, and even erase an iPhone if has been lost or stolen.

What is Activation Lock?

Apple released Activation lock in 2013 with iOS 7. Activation lock renders an iPhone practically unusable requiring the original owners Apple ID and password in order to activate the iPhone. What this means is that if someone other than you has your iPhone it will still be tied to your Apple ID and will not be able to be used on another account. Activation lock is tied to find my iPhone. Activation lock is enabled when find my iPhone is turned on. You can check if it is enabled following the steps below.

How To Enable Find My iPhone

Open the Settings app

Tap on your profile.

Tap on "iCloud."

Tap "Find My iPhone."

Make sure Find My iPhone is toggled to the on position (in green).

At this screen, enable "Send Last Location" for extra security. If your battery is critically low, it'll send its last known location to Apple. If your iPhone is lost and your battery dies, this is a feature you'll want to have.

Find my iPhone is the most important feature to have turned on if you have lost your iPhone or have had it stolen. You can take it a step further and have a pass code on and the two factor authentication enabled.

Two-factor authentication will require an extra verification code to be entered before your Apple ID and iCloud account can be accessed.

Steps To Take When Your iPhone Is Lost Or Stolen

The first step you want to take is to go to icloud.com from another iOS device or from your desktop computer. If the device is connected to the network or WiFi the iPhone's approximate location will appear on a map. If the iPhone runs out of battery, loses its connection, or is turned off, Find My iPhone will show the last known location for 24 hours. After that, it can't be located again until functionality is restored.

Activate Lost Mode

The next step you want to do is to place the iPhone in lost mode. Lost mode allows you to place a message and a contact phone number on the iPhone's screen. (ex. This device has been lost, please call 12345678910). Lost Mode can be turned on by following the steps below.

Go to iCloud.com or open the Find My iPhone app on another device. Sign in with your Apple ID.

On the web, click on "All Devices" and find the missing device in the list. On iOS, scroll down to the missing device and tap it.

On the web, a menu will pop up with the option to play a sound, erase the phone, or enable Lost Mode. On the iPhone, tap "Actions" to get to this menu. Choose Lost Mode.

If activating Lost Mode on a device without a pass code, you will be prompted to create one.

You'll be asked to enter a phone number where you can be contacted. Enter the number or choose "Next" to skip the option.

At the next screen, you can write a message that will be displayed on the iPhone, such as an email address or a reward offering.

Choose "Done" to activate Lost Mode and then check "Notify if Found." The iPhone is now locked and can only be accessed using the pass code you designated when turning on Lost Mode or the pass code that was already on the device. If it's offline and later located, you will get an email when it connects to the Internet and can convey its location.

There are two other options in find my iPhone which are "play sound" or "erase iPhone". The play sound option just plays a loud beeping sound which you can hear if you lost your iPhone nearby. Erase iPhone wipes all the data and information from the device. Use this option if you don't have any plans of seeing your iPhone again as it will erase everything and will no longer be able to be accessed through find my iPhone. 

If Your iPhone Is Lost Use Find My iPhone Map

If you lost your iPhone use the find my iPhone map to track and locate it. Lets say you lost your iPhone at a restaurant, you can log into icloud.com from another device and use the map to locate it. Under find my iPhone you will see a map. If the iPhone is still connected to your cellular network or a WiFi connection, the approximate location will appear on the map. You can then select the play sound option to help you locate it.

If Your iPhone Was Stolen Call The Police 

If your iPhone was stolen do not try and track the device yourself, this can be dangerous. Instead call your local police or sheriff department. They can use the find my iPhone feature to go and retrieve your iPhone. Getting the police involved is the smartest and safest way. 

Report Your iPhone Lost/Stolen With Your Carrier

Lastly you are going to want to contact your carrier and tell them that your iPhone was lost or stolen. The carrier will then blacklist the iPhone making it unusable on most networks around the world. 

Losing your iPhone can be frustrating but unfortunately it happens every day. If you find yourself in that situation use Apple's find my iPhone feature to track and locate your device.

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