How to activate Lost Mode if your iPhone or iPad is lost or stolen

By , Aug 8, 2014

iPhone in Lost Mode

Using Find My iPhone is the first step to protecting your iPhone or iPad in case it is lost or stolen. The feature lets you effectively track your device and even lock it, making it virtually useless to anyone who would find or steal it.

The most powerful feature of Find My iPhone is Activation Lock, a way for you to remotely lock your device by putting it in Lost Mode. Doing so, you will be able to remotely password protect the device, and add a custom message on its Lock screen so that if someone finds your phone, they can call you and arrange a meet up.

Also worth highlighting is that when put in Lost Mode, no one will be able to restore or reactivate your device without your Apple ID and password. If this might not prevent someone from stealing your device, it will at least prevent this person from doing anything with it.

In this post, we will show you how to enable Lost Mode of an iPhone or iPad that might have been lost or stolen.

Lost Mode can be enabled from both the Find My iPhone app on any iOS device, or from iCloud.com in any web browser. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will be using the Find My iPhone app but the steps to enable Lost Mode would be similar if you were to do it from iCloud.com.

How to put your iPhone or iPad in Lost Mode

1) From any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, log into the Find My iPhone app using your Apple ID. You don’t have to log in Find My iPhone from a device that you own (ie. it could be a friend’s device), but you must login using the same Apple ID/password as the device you are trying to put into Lost Mode.

Find My iPhone login

2) Once logged in, Find My iPhone will show a map and a list of devices that are linked to your Apple ID. Tap on the device you have lost or that was stolen to select it.

Locate Find My iPhone Lost Mode

3) Tap on the “Actions” button at the bottom of the screen, then tap on “Lost Mode.”

Find My iPhone turn Lost Mode on

4) You will be asked to confirm you want to turn Lost Mode on. Tap on “Turn On Lost Mode…” to continue.

Turn on Lost Mode

5) If the device you are trying to put in Lost Mode doesn’t have a passcode, Find My iPhone will require you to set one up on the spot. Type in a passcode and type the new passcode again to confirm. If you already have a passcode enabled on the device, then you can go straight to the next step.

Lost Mode create passcode

6) You will now have the option of entering a phone number where you can be reached. This phone number will be displayed on the Lock screen of your device. Although optional, it is highly recommended you add your phone number so people can reach you if they find your device. Tap “Next” when done.

Lost Mode phone number

7) Finally, you can enter a message to display on the Lock screen along with your phone number. By default, the message is “This iPhone has been lost. Please call me.” but you can customize it the way you want. Tap “Done” in the upper right corner to activate Lost Mode.

Lost Mode messsage to display

The device you used to put the other device in Lost Mode will now show that the device is indeed in Lost Mode (notice the red banner at the top and the lock icon on the lost device).

iPhone in Lost Mode

The device that has been put in Lost Mode will display your custom message and phone number on its Lock screen.

Device in Lost Mode

If someone tries to plug your iPhone in iTunes to restore it, they won’t be able to and they will see the following message.

Lost Mode error iTunes

How to turn off Lost Mode

There are two ways you can turn off Lost Mode: from Find My iPhone, or from the device itself.

Turn off Lost Mode from Find My iPhone: In Find My iPhone, make sure you select the device that was put in Lost Mode. Tap on Lost Mode at the bottom of the screen, then tap “Turn Off Lost Mode.” A popup will ask you to confirm, so tap “Turn Off.”

Turn off lost mode

Turn off Lost Mode from the device that was lost: On the device that was put in Lost Mode, slide to unlock it, and enter the passcode. This will automatically turn Lost Mode off.

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  • Jorge Salcedo

    What if the phone is off and they remove the sim card so it doesn’t connect to the internet? then they can remove the iCloud account and therefore restore the phone.

    • Neil Sardesai

      I think Activation Lock prevents that.

      • Jorge Salcedo

        I just tried it, in order to remove the iCloud account from any device you have to put the password of it. so it’s pretty sure that once you click that “Lost mode” the phone will not be funtional again (well, only if you get it back)

      • Gary LE

        What if the person found my iPhone 5 with the most recent iOS with a pin # and he/she would eject the sim (before I had a chance to put my phone in “lost mode”) then can I remotely lock my phone without a sim?

      • Rook HD

        indeed I think if a thief has a brain, the first thing he should do is removing the sim card. But I guess Find my iphone works again when he ever connects the phone to wifi (if it doesn’t have a pin)

      • Emily Richard

        how can you jailbreak and be able to use the jailbreak? no way

    • Rook HD

      If the sim card is removed, can you still connect to wifi?

  • as28564444

    find my phone requires ios 7.1 :-( Happy jailbroken at 7.0

    • https://twitter.com/aidanharris1 Aidan Harris

      If you value your devices security you’ll update to iOS 7.1.2 right now. iOS 7.0 has lots of bugs and security flaws…

      You can jailbreak iOS 7.1.2 and most tweaks that work on iOS 7.0 have been updated to work for iOS 7.x.x…

  • David Gitman

    Enter DFU – possible restore

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

      You can try to restore all you want. You won’t be able to activate the phone

      • Abhinav

        DoulCi icloud bypass

      • https://twitter.com/aidanharris1 Aidan Harris

        A) It’s not permanent (at least everything I’ve read suggests it’s not permanent)
        B) Do you really think Apple is going to continue allowing DoulCi to work? Of course they aren’t it’ll be patched sooner or later…

      • http://www.eazycomputers.com/ PhoneTechJay

        Agreed you can bypass the activation but it the device still has the same UDID as when it was lost so they can lock it again at anytime.

      • InfinitePlusOne

        I am guessing they store in information in the phone at some specific place. This one of the best feature to be honest. I lost a HTC a while back if only that had this option back then. I would have tracked the prick and beat the life out of he’s body!

      • https://twitter.com/aidanharris1 Aidan Harris

        You mean like this?

        “Father Stabs Thief to Death After Tracking Him with Find My iPhone”

        iClarified[.]com/42898/father-stabs-thief-to-death-after-tracking-him-with-find-my-iphone

      • InfinitePlusOne

        Well I won’t be using weapon.

      • David Gitman

        yeah but I could not find the phone as well..so

  • Anmol Malhotra

    There’s no link for second article sir..

    How to track a lost or stolen iPhone or iPad with Find My iPhone

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

      Oops. Thanks. I added the link now

      • Anmol Malhotra

        Ok.. Great ;) :)

  • Eli Montoya

    Find an iPhone, remove sim card ASAP. Or return it ASAP. And there are 5 folders and some files you can remove to delete iCloud with ifile. I did it on 7.1.1 so technically… We’re never safe. Unless you have a passcode:)

    • Gary LE

      what if you’ve found an iPhone 5s and it has a pin/password and you ejected the sim and does this mean the the phone can not be locked remotely using “find my iPhone” app?

      • John Wickham

        No, removing the SIM has no effect.

      • Eli Montoya

        Removing the sim will disconnect from all incoming and outgoing connections so yes remotely using find my iPhone will it work. If you connect it via wifi or reinsert working sim, it will be locked and might be even tracked :p

    • Eni

      How did you do that when the iphone was locked? how can you jailbreak and be able to use the jailbreak? no way

      • Eli Montoya

        It wasn’t locked. So I jail

      • Eli Montoya

        It was mine, I Jailbroke it. Deleted some files and restored. And it was blank. So that’s how I know:) not sure about 7.1.2 but yea it might be possible

  • Jayvee Rivera

    They should also add a feature that won’t let the thief turn it off.

    • Ruben

      If you are jailbroken that wouldn’t be an issue. The tweak LockSafety prohibits thief’s to turn of your device. You have to unlock it first in order to switch off your device.

  • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

    Yes, as explained in the post :)

    • Magixi

      Yes, I just saw it. Thanks for reply :)

  • Ruben

    Find my iPhone is actually nothing compared to cylay. I can only recommend it with the combination of LockSafety.