What To Do When Your iPhone is Stolen

My son’s iPhone was stolen this week at school. This was the first time I had to personally deal with an iOS device theft and there are a few really important things to consider in those first few minutes and hours after the device is stolen. Here are the things you need to do:

  • Login to “Find My iPhone” from either an iOS device (even a kind stranger’s device is ok, they just need the “Find My iPhone app-just make sure you logout of the app when you are done) or even just a web browser (“Find My iPhone” is a web app available when you login to your iCloud account from any web browser)
  • Track the location of the stolen device using “Find My iPhone” and take a screen shot of the current or last known location
  • This is the most important step…either turn on “Lost Mode” or select the “Erase iPhone” option. More on which one to choose in a bit.

My son’s iPhone was stolen from his locker during gym class at school. We suspect the thief saw his locker combination and stole it while he was in gym class. He will be using a lock with a physical key and will be wearing the key around his neck during gym from now on. In our case my son’s iPhone was setup with a passcode and had TouchID, so we knew that the contents of the iPhone were secure. But that wasn’t the only concern. You can get a lot of information from the iPhone just from lock screen and by asking Siri even when the iPhone is locked. iMore has a really good article about the options for locking down your lock screen and Siri to limit the data a would be thief could get from your locked iPhone. In our case we didn’t lock down these options as tightly as we could. That is a trade you make. It is really handy to be able to get to Siri and see text messages from your lock screen, but it also gives the thief that same access.

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