If you lose your iPhone—or if some devious thief steals it—the panic that follows makes it difficult to know what to do next. Where should you start
looking? Should you alert the police? How can you use your IMEI number to block your iPhone?
Don’t worry: in this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about reporting and retrieving your stolen iPhone. We’ll even explain how to lock your lost iPhone
to prevent anyone from using it.
With that in mind, here’s what to do when the unthinkable happens.
How to Locate Your Lost iPhone
The first thing you should do when your iPhone goes missing is to search for it. That might include searching the house or tracking it on a map. If you
think someone has stolen your iPhone, it is important to find out where it is, but don’t try to recover it yourself.
The following are all the ways to track and locate a missing iPhone.
Try Calling It
Usually, a missing iPhone is simply lost at home. It might be stuffed behind the sofa, locked in the car, or buried under a pile of
clothes. After searching your home or office thoroughly, then try to call your iPhone.
As it rings, retrace your steps, and keep an ear to your ringtone. If vibration mode is enabled, you may hear the telltale sound of it buzzing
Somewhere on the floor.
Don’t worry if your iPhone is on silent; it’s possible to make it ring with the Find My app.
Apple’s Find My Service
Apple’s Find My app makes it easy to track your iPhone
on a map, as long as it has a cell signal or a Wi-Fi connection. For this feature to work, Find My iPhone must be turned on in your settings, luckily, the option
is on by default when you sign into iCloud.
Launch the Find My app on another Apple device or go to
and sign in with your Apple ID, then select the Find iPhone button. To use the Find My app on someone else’s iPhone, head over to the Me tab and tap the
option to Help a Friend.
Once you login, Find My displays the location of all your connected Apple devices. Choose your lost iPhone to get directions to its location.
If your iPhone is offline,
Select the option to Notify When Found instead.
What It Means When Find My iPhone Is Offline and How to Find It Anyway. What does it mean when Find My iPhone says “offline”? How do you find an iPhone that’s
offline? Here is everything you need to know.Read More
If you think someone has stolen your iPhone, don’t try to get it yourself for your safety.
Play a Sound From Your Lost iPhone
Find My can only give an approximate location on the map. As such, you may still experience difficulty finding your lost iPhone, even if you know it’s somewhere in
the house. Fortunately, you can use the Play Sound option in the Find My app or on iCloud to make your iPhone play a pinging sound.
The feature works even if your iPhone is on silent mode with the volume all the way down.
Enable lost mode to lock your iPhone
In Find My or iCloud, you can choose to Mark as Lost or enable Lost Mode for your missing iPhone. Upon doing so, your iPhone gets locked —so you can create a passcode if you haven’t used it yet —and you can write an onscreen message for whoever finds your lost device.
To safeguard your data, you should mark your iPhone as lost to lock it whether you think someone stole it or not. Doing so makes your iPhone unusable
By anyone who finds it and makes it impossible for them to access sensitive services like Apple Pay.
You may see another option to erase your lost iPhone. Do not use this yet.
Use Google Timeline to Track Your Lost iPhone
You may already know that Google tracks our every move. While privacy advocates complain about this privacy breach, it can save your bacon if you lose
your iPhone. Actually, you can track your device using Google Timeline instead of Find My or iCloud.
Log in to your Google account on the
website. Here, you will see all the recent locations where Google spotted your iPhone.
Similar to the Find My app, this only works if you already had Google Maps installed on your iPhone and turned on location history in the account settings. Google
Enables this setting by default, so it’s only disabled if you chose to turn it off yourself.
At the risk of repeating myself, I wish to point out that if you think someone stole your iPhone, don’t try to retrieve it yourself.
Ask Around the People and Places close to You
It’s a good idea to ask your friends and family members on social media to keep an eye out for your missing iPhone. There is a high possibility you left your iPhone at a
friend’s house the last time you visited. You simply need to ask them to look for it.
Also take a look in the lost and found boxes at any public places you have recently visited. That includes teashops, theaters, gyms, and more. You may also try calling the public transportation company if you have recently used a bus or train.
It’s also worth inquiring from the police if anyone has returned a lost iPhone. You may need to
find your iPhone’s IMEI number
before doing so to show that it’s your iPhone. You can get this on the original packaging or on your purchase receipt.
How to Recover a Stolen iPhone
Locating a lost iPhone is one thing, but another issue is all about getting it back. Of course, if you’ve just lost your iPhone at home or left it at
the office, it’s fine to pick it up yourself.
However, if you belief someone stole your iPhone, you need to be extra careful.
Report Your Stolen iPhone to the Police
Despite the fact that you can get direction to your iPhone via the Find My app, don’t try to recover a stolen iPhone yourself. Cases have been reported in whichof
people were attacked, shot, or even killed when trying to do so.
While some people successfully recover their stolen goods through literal confrontation, these are the fortunate minority. Instead, report your
stolen iPhone to the police.
Provide them with as much supporting documentation as possible. This include your IMEI number—which you can find on the original box or the purchase receipt—to
Prove that the iPhone is yours. It’s also a good idea to give the last known address of the iPhone, if you were able to track it.
Unfortunately, it might happen that the police treat this as a low-priority case, depending on the crime rate in your region. Even if that’s the case, you can
use the official police report as part of the replacement device claim.
Report Your Stolen iPhone to Your Insurance Company
If you insured your iPhone against loss or theft, now is the ideal time to contact your insurance company about replacement device claim. Make sure to
Give them as much information as possible, including a copy of the police report and a list of all the steps you’ve taken trying to recover your lost iPhone.
How to Block a Lost or Stolen iPhone
If you are unable to recover your iPhone, there are a couple of safety measures you should take to make sure your data remains safe. If you haven’t by now, use the Find My
app or iCloud website to turn on Lost Mode and create a secure passcode to lock your iPhone.
It’s also a good idea to take further steps to completely wipe the device or revoke access for certain accounts.
Activation Lock Still Protects an Erased iPhone
If you already have a backup of your iPhone and you’re sure that you’ll never get it back, you may want to consider remotely erase it using Find My or the iCloud
website. It’s impossible to track your iPhone after erasing it, so only use this option as a final resort.
To do so, simply select your iPhone in Find My or on iCloud and then tap on the option to Erase This Device.
Apple has made it difficult for anyone to set up your iPhone without your Apple ID and password even if you erase it remotely, thanks to
So, there’s still a possibility your iPhone might get returned and
make its way back to you even after you erase it.
Change Your Email and Account Passwords
In the unlikely event that someone else unlocks your iPhone—maybe if they discovered your passcode—you can still protect most of your iPhone’s data
by changing your account passwords.
List every app and service you use with your iPhone, including:
- media services
- Cloud storage services
- Email accounts
- Online shopping
Then log into the website for each of these services and create a new password for your account. In addition, find an option in the account settings to revoke
access to existing devices.
Doing this will prevent anyone from signing in as you on your lost iPhone without typing in the new password. It’s especially important
to change your email password, as this is where your other password reset links will be sent.
Block the SIM Card in Your Lost iPhone
At this point, you’ll need to proceed to contact your carrier to block your SIM card. A thief can use your mobile number on another device to make
calls and generate expensive data bills.
You do not need your IMEI number to block the SIM card for a stolen iPhone. But if your cellular provider asks for it, you can find the IMEI number on the
original box or on your iPhone purchase receipt.
How to Avoid Losing Your iPhone in the Future
Whether you are recovering or replacing your iPhone with a new one, you’ll probably want to know how to protect yourself from the future loss. While
it’s hard to avoid losing it in future, make sure your data is secure if you do.
The best step you can take is to create a 6 -digit passcode that is not easy for other people to guess. Set up this from Settings, where you may also be able
to enable Face ID or Touch ID to make it more convenient to savely unlock your iPhone.
In addition, make sure to enable Find My iPhone by heading over to Settings > [Your profile ] > Find My. Turn on Send Last Location for higher chance of finding your
iPhone when the battery runs out.
Also keep in mind, even if you think it’s gone for good, a good Samaritan can still turn your iPhone in to the police. Make sure you know what to do if
find someone else’s missing iPhone
so you can return the favor as well.