How to Find Your Lost or Stolen iPhone

Losing your iPhone or having it stolen isn’t just a major annoyance, it can also result in a complete stranger gaining access to some of your most private data. That’s why Apple includes the Find My iPhone feature with every iPhone. But in order to use the function, you’ll first need to enable it on your iPhone. Knowing how to use it couldn’t hurt either. So read on to learn how to locate, lock and wipe your lost or stolen iPhone.

Enable Find My iPhone

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone and select the iCloud tab.

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Find My iPhone to enable the feature.

  3. Select Allow when you receive a prompt explaining that Find My iPhone has the ability to show the location of your phone on a map. 

    Find My iPhone will now be active.

Locate, Lock and Wipe your iPhone

With Find My iPhone now actived on your device, you will be able to locate, lock or wipe it using any Web browser. To do this.

  1. Navigate to, log in using the iCloud account associated with your iPhone and click the Find My iPhone icon.

  2. Click the Devices box in the top left corner of the screen and choose your lost iPhone from the list of devices. Your iPhone’s location will automatically be displayed on the map along with a box giving you basic information about your phone.

  3. To pinpoint your iPhone’s location, click the Play Sound button in the information box. A loud alarm will go off on your phone, allowing you to quickly track it. Tap the OK button on your iPhone to silence the alarm.

  4. To lock your lost iPhone, click the Lost Mode button and enter the password you want to use to unlock the phone when you locate it again.

  5. To Wipe your iPhone, click the Erase iPhone button.  To confirm the command, tap Erase. This is a worst-case scenario option that will clear all of your apps and personal data from your phone, so only use it if it’s completely necessary. 
Daniel P. Howley
Daniel P. Howley
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
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Submit Comments

  1. Chase Says:


  2. Bradley Says:

    It only works if your iPhone is powered on.

    The most common thing with a stolen iPhone, is the person powers it off. Bam, gone and unable to be tracked.

    Launch DFU/Recovery mode, format, and now you will never get it back.

    Sorry, but Apple should prevent iPhone shutdown when iOS is switched into lost mode, and try to be as power efficient as possible by closing all apps and focusing on being located.

  3. John Says:

    I agree with Bradley. Somebody took both of my iPhones out of my backpack at school and they turned both of them off immediately. Apple should also make a setting where you can turn it off only if you are on the home screen, on the lock screen. With the lost mode you can put a passcode on it(if its not one already) and find it fairly quickly, unless they smash it with a hammer.

  4. zakkie Says: can’t be accessed from smartphone :( so I have to travel 5 km to get laptop :( and the phone was off, will it work to erase data and apps when the phone turn on later?

  5. Mankumar Says:

    If some body finds my lost iPhone but if he deleates findiphone apps then how to locate I phone

  6. jose cervantes Says:

    Good post.

    However, all of this is useless if you can just turn off your phone then reset it at home.

    I lost my iPhone 5 when it fell from my seat/table in a restaurant, and within 5 minutes it had been snatched up, turned off and lost forever.

    Apple should have a feature where you can’t turn the iphone off if it requires a password.

    That’s why jailbreaking is years ahead of official iPhone functionality. You can download a tweak called iCaughtU that prevents people from turning off your ipad or iphone while it is on, takes a picture of them and sends you an email with it if they get the password wrong, and lets you pop up a customized message to them.

    This will at least force them to have the phone on until battery ends, for you to be able to go and track the location. I think they MAY still be able to take it into DFU mode. Though it is an option.

    I am not promoting this product…Just sharing it. I installed it on my ipad now…but losing an iphone SUCKS and Apple should take security/theft more seriously.

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