Stolen iPhone Guide: What You Can Do if Your iPhone is Stolen

2 minute read
| Deep Dive

If you’re the victim of an iPhone theft, there are steps you can take after to try to get it back. But there are also preventative steps to take before it happens. Here’s what you can do.

Before

Turn on Erase Data, which can help secure your stolen iPhone.

Turning on Erase Data

These preventative measures are more about keeping your data secure. First, make sure you have two-factor authentication enabled on your Apple ID. Second, having a good password makes it harder for criminals to break into your device.

Third, you can enable Data Protection on your iPhone. This is a setting to erase all data on your iPhone after 10 failed password attempts. As long as your data is backed up to iCloud, it won’t be lost even if your iPhone is erased. Next, make sure Find My iPhone is turned on. Go to Settings > Your Apple ID > iCloud > Find My iPhone.

When you report your device to the local authorities, they might ask you for the phone’s serial number. You can find this in Settings > General > About. Write this down and keep it in a safe place, or store it in a password manager that you can access on another device.

After

Turning on Find My iPhone can help you locate your stolen iPhone.

Using Find My iPhone

As long as you turned Find My iPhone on, there are other things you can do. Sign into icloud.com/find on a Mac or PC, or use the Find My iPhone app on someone else’s iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. If your family uses Family Sharing, any family member can help locate your stolen iPhone.

You can put your iPhone into Lost Mode. When this happens, you can set a custom message to appear on the lock screen, such as a number to call. It also locks the screen with a passcode.

But when you turn Find My iPhone on, a feature called Activation Lock is automatically activated. It’s designed to prevent someone else from using your iPhone. When it’s turned on, your Apple ID is stored on Apple’s activation servers and linked to your device.

After that, your Apple ID email and password is required before the thief can turn off Find My iPhone, erase the device, or reactivate it to try to use it. Finally, you should also report your stolen iPhone to the local authorities. They might ask for your iPhone’s serial number, but you stored it in a safe place during our prevention steps.

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Lars A. Gundersen

Just make sure you don’t hand your iCloud accont credentials over to the thiefs if you put your iPhone in lost mode, as i recently saw first hand: iPhone just stolen? You might give the thief your Apple ID password trying to get it back

brettdog
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brettdog

One additional protection:
If someone does get your device and you enable the control panel swipe up on locked screen, then the “hacker” can put device into airplane mode which will allow them to try passcodes forever if you don’t have wipe after 10 invalid tries.
You may want to disable control panel on lock screen.
It’s a little inconvenient but a little safer.
I would like to see Apple provide 2 control panels, lock screen (to use flashlight, etc) and unlocked screen for more sensitive items.

brettdog