What to Do if Your iPhone Gets Lost or Stolen

If you are reading this and your iPhone (or iPad) has just been stolen, I want to say how much I hope you had already enabled Find My iPhone on your device. If you did not then there will be little you can do beyond standard detective work to get your device back; this is also why every iDevice users should enable Find My iPhone as soon as they can.

So – the worst has happened and your device has been stolen, follow these steps:

Use Find My iPhone

Get to Find My iPhone using an iOS device, Mac, PC, or any iCloud-compatible browser. Login to your account and open the Find My iPhone app online. There you should select your iPhone in the list of devices. Your device should appear on a map so you can try to find it. You can also use the Play Sound tool to make your device make a noise which may help you find it if it is simply mislaid nearby.

There are two other tools:

  • Enter Lost Mode
  • Erase iPhone

Enter Lost Mode: lets you leave a message on your iPhone display. You can use this message to ask for your device back and request that anyone who finds it calls you up (though you’ll need to use another number). The mode also locks your iPhone using the standard passcode you have set.

Erase iPhone: You can use this tool to erase all the data on your device, protecting your information, but do follow the next few steps first as you cannot track an iPhone once it is erased.

Cancel Apple Pay

You will also need to disable Apple Pay on the lost device. The payment service is highly secure, but when it comes to your personal credit cards it makes sense to minimize risk if your device is lost or stolen.

Visit iCloud and enter the Settings app.

You should see a list of My Devices, which likely includes your lost device. Tap the icon that relates to your lost device and a new menu appears. This lists your device and any cards you have set up for use with Apple Pay on that device. Look for the word ‘remove’ written in light blue and tap this.

Keep an Eye

You can continue to track your iPhone using Find My iPhone’s useful Map. You can share this information with local law enforcement when you report the theft.

Call your Mobile Provider

You will need to call your mobile phone network provider to let them know you think your phone is stolen, though you may want to use Find My iPhone to track its location if the police intend tracking it down. Otherwise you may just want to bar outgoing calls on that line.

Change Passwords

You use a passcode on your iPhone, surely? I hope so, but if you do or you don’t you will want to change things like email, iTunes, online banking, iCloud, social networking, and other passwords, just to be on the safe side.

Safety First

As I said at the beginning you should really take a few precautions before your iPhone is stolen.

  • Set up Find My iPhone in Settings>iCloud toggle feature to on (green)
  • Create a complex passcode and secure your device using Touch ID.
  • Set your iPhone to delete itself if an incorrect password is entered ten times. You can do this in Settings>Touch ID & Passcode> set Erase Data to on (toggle to green).
  • Set your iPhone to Send Last Location. This feature will automatically send the location of the iPhone to Apple when the device battery becomes low, you can then find that location in Find My iPhone. You set this up on your iPhone in Settings>iCloud>Find My iPhone > set Send Last Location to on (green).

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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