What should I do if I lost my iPhone or iPad?

BY Osas Obaizamomwan

Published 17 Apr 2015

icon Find My iPhoneLosing, or having you phone stolen can be an extremely stressful and annoying process. While we all try to be careful, mistakes happen and iPhones and iPads are lost every day. If you have lost your device there are more than a few things you can do in hopes to recover it or at least have peace of mind that your data won’t be stolen.

Preemptive Measures

I advise all iPhone and iPad users to immediately set up Find my iPhone upon purchase. If you have an iOS device with Siri, you can also inform her that you are the owner of the phone or iPad, and can begin creating contact information for yourself. This way, if a good Samaritan does find your phone, he or she can simply ask Siri, “Who’s phone is this?” and she will promptly display all your contact information.

You should also take down your iPhone’s IMEI number. The IMEI number can be found by going to Settings -> General -> About. With this number on hand you can contact your cellular carrier and inform them that your device has been stolen and they can blacklist the device to prevent the phone from accessing the cell network.

If you have Find My Phone enabled, log into your iCloud account, access Find My Phone, and choose to either erase the phone, place it into lost mode, or play a sound. This is the easiest and most efficient way to find a lost iPhone or iPad.

Lost Mode - iPhone

There are also third-party applications, like Lookout that also help in locating and protecting a lost or stolen iPhone. But if you haven’t set up these precautionary applications, there are still some important things you can do.

What should I do if I lost my iPhone or iPad?

Here is a list of things you should do before and after you have lost and iPhone or iPad.

Before you lose your device:

  1. Create and Enable Passcode or Touch ID
  2. Download and Enable Find My iPhone
  3. Make daily backups for your device
  4. Save IMEI number

After your device is lost:

  1. Call your device
  2. Use Find My iPhone to Play Sound (if you believe the device is nearby)
  3. Use Find My iPhone to Place into Lost Mode (will lock the device with Passcode)
    If you believe that your phone is not likely to be recovered soon or at all, you will need to take more drastic measures
  4. Use Find My iPhone to Erase/Wipe device to protect private information
  5. Call your service provider and report your phone as lost or stolen
  6. File a police report (only if you plan on filing an insurance claim)
  7. Change all of your email, social, and personal passwords linked to the lost or stolen device

Hopefully you never lose your device, but if you do follow these steps and you can at least rest assured that you did everything you could to find your device and protect your data.

What options did we miss? Let us know in the comment section.