What to do if your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch is lost or stolen …! In the event of loss or theft of an iPhone, you must be prepared. We teach you how to protect your smartphone and find lost or stolen iPhone using ‘ Find my iPhone ‘ and other equally effective methods, even if turned off or without battery.
If your iPhone is no longer in your possession, you may not see it anymore but there are still some things you can do to resolve the situation. Data theft can be just as damaging (if not more) than the loss of a very expensive gadget.
If you have not properly protected your iPhone, a third party may be able to access your email, banking or social media accounts. Here’s what to do when the unthinkable happens.
How to find lost iPhone:
Use Find my iPhone
With the power of iCloud, it is possible to locate your device as long as it still has access to some type of data connection (cellular or Wi-Fi). This will not work if your iPhone is not using the Find My iPhone service (but you should turn it off as it is enabled by default), ran out of battery or was last used in airplane mode. Definitely worth a try.
You can also download the Find My iPhone app for another Apple device if you have one. iCloud will try to locate and track your iPhone, so you can decide if it has simply slipped to the back of the sofa or if it is in a place unknown to you.
If you have enabled the setting, you may also be able to see the last known position of your iPhone before it has been turned off or lost.
If you believe it was stolen or someone else may have found it, you can enable the Lost Mode under the device in question. You will be asked to provide a phone number on which you can be contacted ( not the number of your lost phone!) Hoping that whoever found it will return it.
If your phone has been stolen but remains traceable, you can give this information to the police.
There have been some examples where law enforcement officers have used Apple’s Find My iPhone location data to recover stolen devices, although prepared … this might not be your case.
One thing you should not do is try to be a hero and recover the device yourself, which could potentially put you in a dangerous situation.
If you only have a four-digit passcode enabled, you have used an easy-to-guess passcode (like 123456), or you think a thief might have already accessed your phone, you can perform remote wipe by selecting Erase iPhone.
Keep in mind that you will not be able to keep track of the phone after doing this and that all information on the device will be lost. Make sure you have a recent backup before choosing this option.
Thanks to an iOS feature called Activation Lock, your iPhone cannot be used (or possibly sold) by a thief once deleted. Even after deleting the device, you will need to use your personal Apple ID and password.
Until such credentials are provided, the phone will request to be activated. It is useless for the thief, and it is highly unlikely that even Apple will unlock it.
If you are able to locate your phone using Find My iPhone, the Activation Lock has been enabled on your device.
What happens if you can’t find lost or stolen iPhone?
If you can’t find your phone, there are still some things to do to ensure your most important accounts stay safe. If you failed to set a security code on your phone, you are still using a four-digit passcode or you have used something very obvious like 123456, so the following advice is for you.
Your personal email address is probably more important than you think. This is where the password is reset, most likely your Apple ID is registered and I bet you have a similar bank account or financial service. Access to this (and any connected work email address) should be deleted / suspended immediately after noticing that your iPhone has been lost or stolen .
Changing the password is sufficient to request a new authentication for the various devices, even if you are using a specific password for access (such as those provided with two-factor authentication of Gmail), so you can revoke the access by registering and reconfiguring the permissions in the security settings.
Twitter and Facebook (among others) also integrate with iOS. Revoke Twitter access by going to Settings> Apps on the Twitter main website, then clicking Revoke next to each entry. If for some reason you can’t revoke your access, simply change your Twitter main password and your phone’s login will be updated.
To revoke access to Facebook, you must change the password (or revoke the app’s specific password in Settings> Security> Application-specific passwords ).
There may be other apps and services that the thief could access as Dropbox, Evernote, Slack, Instagram, Snapchat and so on. Each of these services should allow the user to access and revoke access from their iPhone or, otherwise, simply change the password.
Next, you’ll need to contact your operator and block the SIM, as a thief could use your mobile number to make phone calls.
I hope you also have access to the IMEI number of your iPhone (found on the original box, and probably also on the receipt) so you can make a police report.
Let’s recap what to do if you can’t find lost or stolen iPhone
In addition to reporting it to the police, there are other precautionary measures you need to take when you lost your iPhone or it was stolen, or any other device. These will help you protect all your information.
- Change the password you associated with your Apple ID account.
- Change the passwords of all the emails, social networks and other services you have opened on your iPhone.
- Contact the telephone company to block the phone number.
- If Apple Pay is configured, contact your bank to block the associated card, although in principle it cannot be used without a password or Touch ID.
Prevent another lost or stolen iPhone
The best thing you can do to avoid problems if your iPhone disappears is to lock your phone with a passcode of six digits or a harder password to delay any potential security breach. Go to Settings> Touch ID and passcode and set up fingerprint scanning and a security code.
Next, make sure you’ve found Find my iPhone in Settings> iCloud> Find my iPhone and also activate Send the last position.
How to locate an iPhone turned off or without a battery
It is relatively easy to find a lost or stolen iPhone that ran out of battery thanks to the “Send My Last Position” feature we mentioned in the previous sections. To activate it, you have to go to the “Search my iPhone” section from the “Settings” panel.
Once activated, Apple will store the last position of your iPhone up to 24 hours before the battery runs out, although logically you should keep in mind that it may change once the phone is turned off.
In this sense, for now, it is not possible to locate an iPhone switched off, even if Apple is expected to develop a technology in the future that will allow it to find an iPhone lost remotely and that can provide information to the owner.