5 Steps to protect your iPhone or iPad if lost or stolen

Unfortunately a lost or stolen iPhone is part of life and there are too many people out there who will take your phone when you put it down.  My son just had his phone most likely stolen on Tues and it has not shown up.  After going through a bunch of what could be done, I figured out the following as good steps to take.  I did some of these but not all, and have now taken these steps with mine and the rest of the families iPhones

1. Install the latest iOS 7 release that allows you to keep the phone from being re-imaged unless you turn off Find iPhone.

2. Turn on Find iPhone with Activation Lock.

3. Disable ways to go into Airplane Mode.  Airplane mode turns off cell and wifi connections so you can’t ring or Find the iPhone.

4. You can try going to your carrier or police, but if you can’t find the iPhone there isn’t much they will be able to do.

5. Monitor your usage and Find iPhone to see if there is any activity from your account.

So let’s walk through these five steps.

1. Install iOS 7 to protect your phone with Find iPhone.

Forget iTunes Radio, thin fonts, and multitasking. The most important new thing about iOS 7 might be that your friendly neighborhood police officer loves it.

That’s right: In New York and elsewhere around the country, law enforcement officials are actively encouraging iPhone and iPad users to upgrade to Apple’s new mobile operating system. Why? Because the new Activation Lock feature in iOS 7 makes the phone very difficult to use or to wipe and resell if it gets stolen. Police and prosecutors hope that this technological development will lead to a reduction in smartphone thefts.

2. The specific feature you want is Find My iPhone with Activation lock.

With iOS 7, Find My iPhone includes a new feature called Activation Lock, which makes it more difficult for anyone else to use or sell your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch if you ever lose it. It starts working the moment you turn on Find My iPhone in iOS 7. With Activation Lock, your Apple ID and password will be required before anyone can:

  • Turn off Find My iPhone on your device
  • Erase your device
  • Reactivate and use your device

3.  I had done the previous two steps, but I didn’t do this.  Disable ways to get to Airplane Mode.  Why?  Because someone grabs your phone puts it in airplane mode and now you can’t ring it or find it, because it is not connected to the Internet or Cell network.  Most of us use airplane mode from settings, but without a password you can get to Airplane Mode through the control center.  Turn off control center in lock mode if you don’t want just anyone to be able to make your iPhone disappear.


4 and 5.  My son’s iPhone has not had any activity (data, phone calls, or SMS) since it disappeared and it has been in offline mode the whole time which means most likely the phone was stolen, not lost.  Even if you hard reset a locked iOS 7 iPhone when you turn it back on it will show up on the network and you can see if through Find My iPhone.

It was a bit painful to go through this process.  Luckily I have another iPhone 4S for my son or a galaxy Note 1.  I have some other ideas too on how I could make it so my son is not a target of those on his school bus.  It is sad that kids will do this to others on a bus, but it is a harsh lesson to learn that some people will pray on your trust of thinking your mobile devices are safe.

It takes less than 2 seconds to swipe control center on iPhone and hit that airplane mode icon, and the phone is gone.  iPhone’s are so small it is easy to hide.  And, I am sure they are ready for the mistaken excuse of it looked my iPhone and I put it in my pocket by accident.