What you should never do is attempt to retrieve your iPhone if you think it has fallen into the wrong hands. There have been cases of people attempting to recover stolen iPhones using Find My iPhone and being hurt, or worse. There was even a case of a UK man tracking down and killing the person who stole his son's iPhone.
He claimed he lashed out in self defence after being stabbed by the mugger, pleaded guilty to culpable homicide, and was jailed for six years. However, you might be able to use the information provided by Find My iPhone to help the police with their enquiries. There is a section below that explains how to do this. The simplest method to find an iPhone, if you've got a paired Apple Watch or an HomePod, is to tell those devices to ping the iPhone for you.
On your Apple Watch, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the Control Centre. On the lefthand side you'll see an icon of an iPhone with curved lines emanating from it: this is the ping button. Tap it. At this point the iPhone which is paired with this Apple Watch, assuming it's reachable, will 'ding' so you can hear where it is. Keep pinging the phone until you find it. You'll be able to use the same feature on a HomePod as long as you have installed the software update released on 17 September Find My iPhone is a free service provided by Apple.
Assuming you've already set up Find My iPhone, your iPhone will be able to broadcast its location to you. Whether you've left your iPhone in the back of a cab, think you might have left it in the office, or, worst-case scenario, it's been lifted from your pocket, you should be able to use Find My iPhone to track it down, as long as you set up Find My in the first place. Chances are you will have set it up when you first started using your iPhone so it's worth checking whether you can use the service.
We have a guide to setting up Find My iPhone at the end of the article. If you don't have an iOS device handy to search for your iPhone using the Find My app, but you do have a friend with an iPhone, here's what to do:. Pre iOS 13 you could just log out of their account and log in to your account using their iPhone, in which case, you can follow the steps in the previous section.
The same goes if you are attempting to track a lost iPhone using a Mac or PC. You can log onto iCloud and access the Find My service there. This is an essential step if your iPhone has been stolen. If you have Apple Pay set up on your device this will be disabled and any cards set up will be suspended.
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When if you retrieve the iPhone you will be able to reactivate your cards via iCloud. Read more about how to use Apple Pay on iPhone here. If you get your iPhone back you should be able to unlock it using your passcode, but if there are any issues you should be able to get it unlocked at an authorised repair centre. There's a great reason to update to iOS 13 - now the Find My service is able to track iPhones and other Apple products using a Bluetooth signal that they produce. This means that even if your iPhone is not connected to the web it will still be able to broadcast it's location to you.
Find My iPhone: How to Track an iPhone
Because hopefully the person who has your iPhone won't have been able to use it without unlocking it, it is likely that it isn't connected to the web, therefore this new Bluetooth method is a great way of tracking the lost device because it can be 'seen' by Bluetooth beacons in shops and so on regardless of whether it is connected to the web.
Either borrow a friend or family member's iOS device and sign in to the Find My iPhone app, or if you have Family Sharing set up, a member of your family can view your lost device in the Find My iPhone app on their own iOS device. If accessing Find My iPhone via the website or on another device, it's important you sign in to the same iCloud account linked to the lost iPhone.
After signing in, select your phone from the list of devices to view its current location. If the device has been turned off, the last known location will be shown. When viewing the device's location, select Actions at the bottom of the screen followed by Lost Mode. You'll be asked to enter a phone number and a message that will be displayed on the lock screen asking whoever has your device to get it back to you.
If a passcode was not set on a phone that's put into Lost Mode, you'll be asked to create one when enabling Lost Mode. When enabled, Lost Mode will lock the device, prevent notifications and messages from showing up in your lock screen, and continue tracking the phone's location.
The phone will still ring for incoming phone and FaceTime calls. This should help you track down the phone if it's nearby.
Or maybe you'll be lucky and the person who has the phone will answer it to help get it back to you. Any credit and debit cards added to Apple Pay , along with student IDs and transit cards stored in the Wallet app, will be disabled until you regain access to the phone and log in to your iCloud account. Once the Apple Card is available, it will also be disabled in these circumstances.
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If the phone is turned off and Lost Mode is enabled, you'll receive an alert when the phone is turned back on, complete with its current location -- assuming it has some sort of data connection. When you recover your phone, you'll need to enter the passcode you created when enabling Lost Mode. Then sign in to your iCloud account. If you're able to track your phone to a house or apartment building, don't confront the potential thief on your own.
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Call the cops and ask for their help. Sure, you want to get your phone back, but getting into a confrontation and potentially getting hurt isn't ideal. If you're unable to get your phone back, contact your carrier and explain that your phone has been lost or stolen. The carrier will flag your device's International Mobile Equipment Identity IMEI number and, in most cases, will prevent that number from working on the network, rendering the device useless to whoever has it. Keep in mind that if you have your service suspended you'll reduce the odds of tracking the phone unless it's connected to a known Wi-Fi network.
Suspending service is something you should only do after you're sure you can't recover the phone.
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You'll need to fill out some paperwork and pay a deductible in order to get a replacement device. Filing a claim will erase your iPhone and prevent anyone else from being able to use it. Should you find your phone after filing a claim, you can cancel it. But you'll need to set up your iPhone as new. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy , which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. Don't show this again. The fastest way to find your lost or stolen iPhone First step: Take a deep breath.