How to Protect Your iMessages on a Stolen iPhone

Apple’s iMessage may be a fine SMS/MMS tool, but as we recently reported, it isn’t without its problems.

If you are unlucky enough to find your iPhone stolen or lost, then under some circumstances it is possible that the iPhone can continue receiving iMessages. Even moving your phone number to another handset, changing your Apple ID password, and remote wiping the handset may not stop the problem.

There are two possible fixes, and they are as simple as turning on your iPhone’s SIM card PIN and calling your phone carrier…

The first fix is perhaps an obvious one that seems to have taken longer to figure out than it really should have.

Macworld’s Lex Friedman suggests that, if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation outlined above, you can avoid iMessages going to the wrong device by first wiping the device remotely, then calling your carrier and having them cancel the phone’s SIM card. The final step is to activate a new SIM, associating it with your own number. It is perhaps the best fix, seeing as once it is done there are no lasting effects.

The other option is to switch on your iPhone’s SIM PIN.

Different to your iPhone’s PIN, a SIM PIN locks the actual SIM card, meaning you will need to enter a code every time you turn on your phone. It may not be that big of a problem, but if you are the kind of person that somehow manages to forget 4-digit numbers regularly, you might not be so keen on the idea.

The SIM PIN option also means that Verizon customers are out of luck – they don’t have a SIM to lock, or more specifically, the one contained inside the Verizon iPhones are not used in the same way as every other carrier. Macworld reports that setting the PIN for Verizon handsets can, at worst, cause more problems than fixes.

Either option will work for most, and the first is probably the easiest and best in our opinion. Let’s just hope that none of us ever need to think about it, anyway.