Find My iPhone 5s

Activation Lock is a new feature that was introduced alongside iOS 7 in 2013. On the surface, Activation Lock is nothing more than an extension of Find My iPhone, a service that allows you to track a lost or stolen iPhone as well as remotely erase it. In actuality, Activation Lock is more powerful than it would appear as it prevents anyone from erasing or activating your device without entering your Apple ID and password first.

Maybe the best part of Activation Lock is that it is deeply integrated in Find My iPhone. There is no special setting to turn on to take advantage of Activation Lock, and Apple itself doesn’t make a big deal out of the new feature, which has been praised by authorities for curbing iPhone thefts in certain metropolitan areas.

In this post, we will show you how to make sure you have Activation Lock turned on. If not, we will show you how to secure your iPhone or iPad with Find My iPhone Activation Lock.

Admittedly, the steps are pretty simple and straightforward, and chances are you already know how to do all this. If that’s the case, feel free to chime in in the comments section and tell us what other safeguards you have in place to secure your device. Otherwise, read on…

If you use iCloud, then you probably use Find My iPhone

When activating a new device for the first time, or after a complete restore, you automatically activate Find My iPhone if you decide to use iCloud. Of course, the setting can always be manually turned off later on, but if you use iCloud, you’re probably using Find My iPhone too.

As you can see on the screenshots below, Apple makes it fairly clear that Find my iPhone is on by default when you use iCloud. Note that Location Services must be turned on in order to be able to locate your iPhone or iPad on a map using Find My iPhone.

iCloud Find My iPhone

How to make sure Find My iPhone Activation Lock is enabled

Even if you use iCloud, it might be a good idea to check and make sure Find My iPhone is indeed enabled on your iPhone or iPad.

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings, tap on your account at the top and select iCloud > Find My iPhone. If the toggle is off, make sure to turn it on.

Find My iPhone Send Last Location

Additionally, you have an option to enable “Send Last Location.” This feature will automatically send the last known location of your iPhone or iPad to Apple when the device runs out of battery and is about to shut down. This can be a great feature if you left your phone somewhere and it ran out of battery. At the very least, Find My iPhone will be able to tell where it was last located.

As mentioned above, there is no special setting to turn on to take advantage of Activation Lock. If you enabled Find My iPhone, then you enabled Activation Lock. From now on, if your device is lost or stolen and you put it in Lost Mode using Find My iPhone, Activation Lock will prevent anyone from erasing or reactivating your device.

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Share your security tips

Find My iPhone and Activation Lock are the best way to track and lock a device that has been lost or stolen, but you might have some tips on how to take the security of your device further. If that’s the case, please share your security tips with us in the comments section below.

  • This, paired with BioProtect’s shutdown protection setting is like pure security heaven

  • Andy

    Jailbroken users should use iCaughtU Pro and Activator as well. If you don’t have Wi-Fi, location services or cellular data turned on when you lose your phone, you can text your phone number a specific message such as “ONDATA” (can be configured in Activator) and it’ll automatically turn on whatever is needed.

    iCaughtU Pro can disable the power button on the lock screen and if the thief tries turning off the phone, a photo will be taken and sent automatically to your email along with the location and time. You can also set commands to email you pictures of the front and rear cameras. Obviously you should also disable any important toggles in the lock screen so Airplane Mode can’t be toggled on and other toggles such as location services and data can’t be turned off.

    • Felipe Queiroz Drumond

      I suggest BioLockDown. This tweak prevent other people from disable data, wi-fi, enable flight mode or turn of the device, mainly when you lost it. Of course, using any tweak someone still able to remove the simcard 🙁

    • Sleetui

      Can’t figure out how to setup iCaughtU, gave up eventually – no good tutorials either :/

    • Diance

      Mind further elaborating how to set up the specific message “ONDATA” using activator?

      • Andy

        Click on More, Received Message.

  • Brian 

    MOST SECURE WAY FOR JAILBROKEN DEVICES:
    – Install PowerDownEnhancer2, which will require a passcode in order to shut down your iPhone.
    – Install CCToggles, which can be used to disable Airplane Mode on the lockscreen.

    No longer can a lost device be turned off or put in airplane mode by somebody else, which made Find My iPhone useless.

  • Pato_

    Who the f*** doesn’t know this? Everybody does lame lame post

  • White Michael Jackson

    I have everything but the sim ejector? how would i do that on an iphone 4s

    • dedegarrido

      You have to remove the metal ejector inside the iPhone; I think the process is a little complicated on an iPhone 4S, couldn’t find a post specifically about it, but you can watch a tear down on youtube and try to do it on your own risk. (it’s the same as the iPhone 5 ejector, just the place where it is at that is different.)

  • Sam Harrison

    People who have that on and with no passcode that “find my iphone” can be bypassed by turning location services off or even turning your cellular data off or even turning the phone off.

  • adal.javierxx

    cool #dedegarrido…. thanks for sharing

  • David

    So, does anybody knows if you can still track an iPhone after its been wiped (using DFU) but has activation lock? I’ve made some testing myself and it didn’t worked, but maybe I’m missing something. It would made sense that you could still track and not just nobody was able to use it if they dont have your password

    • dedegarrido

      After a restore, you can’t track your iPhone anymore, but the activation lock prevents the activation of your iPhone.

      • David

        Thanks for the confirmation there. See, thats my point, wouldn’t it make sense to be able to keep tracking it after a wipe? Sure it’s better than nothing that nobody can activate the phone, which may lead to drop iPhone thefts, but it also would be nice to keep ability to track so that maybe you could recover it. Just saying…

      • Soylent Green

        You really beleive this reduces iphone theft?
        Unbelievable, full of fluoride & controlled.

  • Soylent Green

    Really secure against joe bloggs, useless against snoopers aka marketeers, why don’t you ppl do articles that have meat on the bone?
    Such as the fact that apple continue to say that imessage has end to end encryption & no-one can access them, which (as proven by numerous security experts around the globe) is a blatant lie, this could tie in with the known NSA backdoors aspect and call them out on our privacy concerns, they lied about splitting the fibre with Prism then got caught with there pants down, yet still they lie about imessage? Pure control, all these ppl like johnny ive and his peers were recruited by the nsa & gchq so long ago that it is completely feasible that they are in-fact one and the same.
    Bottom line if you do stuff that you would rather law enforcement or etc does not know anything about get yourself a $50 pay as you blow handset & make as much plausible deniability as possible by leaving no paper trail regarding the purchase & etc.
    But come on start asking for some explanations from apple over blatantly telling lies about privacy.