If you’ve ever lost your iPhone, you know that it can be quite a stressful experience. You’re worried about who might find it and what they might do with your personal information or pictures of your loved ones. Plus, if you use your phone as an alarm clock, you may not have the time to replace it before work or school in the morning. Luckily, there are some easy and effective steps you can take to ensure that you can track down your lost iPhone as quickly as possible and protect yourself from potential theft.
Call it (it will ring, even if on silent mode)
This is by far one of my favorite features on a smartphone. If you call your lost phone, it will ring even if it’s set on silent mode. Use it as a last resort if you can’t track down your phone with GPS tracking. The downside? It won’t work unless you have an iOS device running iOS 7 or above or an Android phone running KitKat 4.4 and above. (Your mileage may vary.)
The main thing you need to do here is go into your phone settings> general > reset > erase all content and settings (ensure that backup of my data is unchecked). As long as your Apple ID and password are correct, iTunes should restore everything onto your new phone.
Check in at Apple Store
The first thing you should do when your phone is lost or stolen is head over to your nearest Apple Store and talk with an Apple Genius. They’ll be able to help you determine if any of your recent activity could have led to a hacker or other thief gaining access to your device, which will come in handy when filling out an incident report with Apple. If they can’t find it at their store or if it seems like it was never there—you may want to contact them again later. Sometimes phones aren’t returned until several days after they were reported missing. If your phone is on iOS 5, you can use its built-in location-tracking abilities to see where it last pinged Apple’s servers (here’s how). This doesn’t mean much unless your device has been turned off for a while if someone took it from you but turned off its location services before wiping everything on it, then that person wouldn’t show up in Location Services.
If you’ve got an Apple device (iPhone, iPad, or Mac), iCloud can help you find a lost phone. If your iOS device is out of reach and connected to Wi-Fi, it will automatically sync with iCloud and update its location every time it makes contact with a known Wi-Fi network. This helps track it down because even if someone turns off your missing device, any new owner will have no way of turning it off without knowing your Apple ID password. Plus, your data is safe in iCloud, so any new owner won’t be able to access that information. That said, before enabling Find My iPhone or Find My iPad/Mac in iCloud on one of these devices for remote tracking purposes, it’s best practice to encrypt them first.