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August 29, 2012

22

New “Lost Mode” in Find My iPhone (iCloud)

With iOS 6, Apple will be releasing an updated set of web apps on iCloud.com, including Mail, Calendar, Notes, Reminders and Find My iPhone. Find My iPhone is a useful feature that allows you to track or wipe your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch should it get lost or stolen. For more info check out my article on Protecting and Recovering Your iPhone and iPad from Loss and Theft. In this post I just want to point out the changes to Find My iPhone, in particular the new “Lost Mode”. The new user interface is largely similar to the old one, with a couple of minor improvements to the device box which is now in the top right corner. I’ve circled two of the new elements in red, the first one on the left is used for status information (in this case stating that this is an old location), and on the right side showing the charge/battery level of the device. At the bottom of the box are the same Play Sound and Erase iPhone (Remote Wipe), and the new Lost Most which replaces the Remote Lock and “Play Sound or Send Message” buttons from the previous Find My iPhone. Clicking on the Lost Mode button brings up the first step (above) which allows you to enter an optional phone number where you can be reached. This number will be displayed on your device’s screen, and can be called. Clicking next brings up the following step (below), where you can enter a message that will be shown on the screen of your device (together with the phone number if you entered one).

 Once you click Done, if your phone is online it will be put into Lost Mode (see below). This will automatically lock the device (using the current passcode), and display your message and phone number. You will receive an email to inform you that your device has been put into Lost Mode, and if your device is located, you will see it in Find My iPhone and receive an email. 

The screenshot below is what your iPhone’s screen would look like in Lost Mode.

If you click on Lost Mode again, you have the option of changing the phone number and the message, as well as choosing whether to receive email updates. If you find your phone, you can stop Lost Mode here too (or just enter the passcode on your phone).

  In Lost Mode, the dropped pins that indicate the phone’s location are persistent, meaning that every time the phone’s location is refreshed, a new pin appears (instead of moving the old one). This allows you to track where your lost (or stolen) device is going throughout the day.

All in all this feels like a decent improvement to Find My iPhone, as it definitely simplifies the process of tracking and recovering a lost device. For those of you hoping to play around with the new iCloud updates before iOS 6 is released, check out beta.icloud.com. You can also read my Frequently Asked Questions About Find My iPhone (and iPad).

22 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lost phone
    Sep 12 2012

    The new updates are cool but they don’t really deter a thief. The goal should be made to make thrives feel like stealing an iPhone is worthless. The best way to do that would be to not allow the phone to be powered off once in lost mode. The alert feature should go on for at least 5 minutes putting the phone in a state where it is completely frozen. The other option would be to have software that allows you remote access to turn your phone on if tos powered off. I don’t think these features are hard to do but I’m not a programer.

  2. Nov 23 2012

    A question is it POSIBLE TO TRACK IPAD BY SERIAL NUMBER ??? I BOX AND EVERYTHING…..

  3. neworleanz81
    Dec 1 2012

    I totally Agree with the following comment! Why haven’tall the programmers, researchers and high tech people ever figured this out or have they even discussed it?. The next phone I buy will have this feature. I have already had two Iphones stolen and the GPS feature was useless. Here is the comment:

    The new updates are cool but they don’t really deter a thief. The goal should be made to make thrives feel like stealing an iPhone is worthless. The best way to do that would be to not allow the phone to be powered off once in lost mode. The alert feature should go on for at least 5 minutes putting the phone in a state where it is completely frozen. The other option would be to have software that allows you remote access to turn your phone on if tos powered off. I don’t think these features are hard to do but I’m not a programer.

  4. Randy p
    Dec 24 2012

    How do you stop the lost mode

  5. Jan 9 2013

    Hi Randy, that’s explained in the article. If a device is in Lost Mode, just click on Lost Mode again in iCloud and then press the ‘Stop Lost Mode’ button.

    See the screenshots above.

  6. AndrewH
    Feb 13 2013

    I have had two iPads stolen the space of a few months. Apple do not care too much about the issue, except they feel sorry for me.

    The Find My IPhone feature is useless. They can bypass security features and just not register the device. However, once back to factory defaults, they can use the device as if their own. It is a sad indictment of apple not to be able to track a user via a serial number when it accesses the App Store.

  7. post
    May 25 2013

    As users of iTunes we do not have any choice.
    Our right to decide if we use or not Itunes to purchase from apple is taken. (other options are not legal).

    WE as ITUNES USERS should have the right to track the device using ITUNES. Apple has our names and devices serial codes.

    FOR WINDOWS AND ADOBE products YOU ARE allowed to REGISTER AND UN-REGISTER your serial code and product.

    Why WE, as ITUNES users, do NOT have that choice?

  8. Rfrechette
    Jun 7 2013

    What is really needed is a setting that enables the owner to remotely disable the device. The locked mode can be easily beaten by using the restore function when powering up the device and the erase function just gives the thief a conveniently cleaned up device to use as his own…

  9. Anna
    Jun 26 2013

    If they wipe the memory clean and start using it as their own device. Will it still show up in my list of devices or will it disappear. I am not sure if it is stolen or lost. I put it in locked mode but it just shows it is offline but that might be because it has died.

  10. Andrew
    Jun 27 2013

    I have spoken with Apple reps at length as well as the Police. It would appear that even if you could locate the device, the Police (at least here in Australia) are not allowed to execute a warrant.

    Apple have stated they have no such capability to remotely wipe or disable IPads and the like. This is just nonsense. At the end of the day, Apple profits from the theft of their devices, because people normally go back to re-purchase an Apple product (via insurance claims or not). It’s a sad indictment on Apple that they inadvertently reward theft though their relaxed approach toward security.

    The ACCC here in Australia instruct consumers to hit up Apple for compensation – you can imagine how well that approach pans out. Apple, as a corporate entity, are mainly interested in pushing bottom line and not necessarily looking after the consumers who have had their EXPENSIVE devices stolen and reset – even though the device is registered (like a credit card) to a designated user.

    There are no winning when battling Apple on this issue. They simply don’t have any motivation.

    My devices still show up as registered to me. So if there are any thieves on this forum, trying to find out if they can wipe a device, then yes is your answer: and nobody will be none-the-wiser.

    Andrew

  11. Lemmy
    Jul 11 2013

    My iPhone 5 was stolen today. I tracked it to the exact address through Find My iPhone and called the police, who appeared there within 15 minutes, as they are aware of this service and now had an active lead to follow. Using my wife’s phone, we then sent a text to my phone informing the thief to look outside on his front street and watch the police arrive and that he had ten minutes to ‘do the right thing’. He went out the back door and dropped it in a mailbox; we found it by playing the locator sound from my computer. So anyone who say this is useless is wrong. Apple ROCKS!

  12. suresh.sarikonda
    Jul 18 2013

    I am using iPhone 4, I am not able to see anything other than zoomIn, ZoomOut, Standard, Satellite, Hybrid options. Is this lost mode facility not there for iPhone 4???

  13. Jul 21 2013

    @Andrew: With iOS 7 the Activation Lock will provide an extra layer of security for stolen phones: http://www.securitygeneration.com/security/iphone-and-ipad-activation-lock-coming-in-ios-7/

    @Lemmy: Nice one! Glad to hear it worked well for you :)

    @Suresh: You have to click on your device, and the panel should appear with the three options you see in the screenshot in this post.

  14. Jay
    Sep 13 2013

    I used ICloud to track my phone down today. I had left it somewhere at work…on a big site. I set the message to appear on the screen so that someone finding it could contact me. However, when it was found the message was hidden behind the lock screen so nobody could read it. Surely this shouldn’t happen? What can I do to avoid this if it happens again…which I dearly hope it doesn’t!

  15. Sep 16 2013

    @Jay: That doesn’t sound normal. For me the message always appeared on the lock screen. You might want to try testing it again.

  16. Ric Tranum
    May 10 2014

    very nice

  17. Cassandra
    Jun 15 2014

    My IPhone 4S was stolen yesterday and I tracked it through the app however the circle around the location pinned is probably a five mile radius. It tracks it to woods behind some houses which I have tried to walk through and use the sound player option but no success. I involved the police and they were great and went to about 7 or 8 of the houses and no success. I am not sure why the app can’t narrow the accuracy of where it is. No insurance. Ugh!

  18. Cassandra
    Jun 17 2014

    Apple said it was within 100 feet of where the app marked it. Searched the woods for 2 hours with a friend who had a metal detector—-no luck

  19. amy black
    Jul 8 2014

    I had my iphone 5c stolen 3 days ago… the thief turned it on 2 hours later and saw that it was locked then quickly turned it off. Has not turned it on since. I turned on the “lost mode” and left a message on the phone with my husbands number and that the phone was stolen to please call. My husband has had strange text messages since then with random phone numbers and saying “iphone device was found near…view location” with this link http://www.myappleid.me.pn. asking for my username and password, Apparently this is a scam and Apple has never heard of this. The site login looks legit but its not. -fyi

    On another note, a homeless man picked up my husband’s phone a few months back. we were able to find him and the phone a few miles away at a park filled with homeless people. we walked around and played the sound until we were able to pinpoint the guy passed out. another homeless guy reached into his pocket and pulled out the phone still making the sound. Definitely feels good when you are able to solve a case b/c of a handy feature. Wish i was as lucky this time around.

  20. amanda
    Aug 14 2014

    I have a ipad mini. Had it only 2 months when stolen. that was five months ago. yesterday got email telling me where it was cause had lost mode on. I had maybe changed code from computer few times n these months I mean it was five thought it was long gone. now I got it back and don’t know code. Apple had me take it off the account so no longer showed up in icloud. we tried to restore it for some reason keeps knocking me off and I have talked n talked to them people to i’m mad it isn’t enough I paid so much for it lucky to have got it back but now got a expensive paper weight. Can any one pls tell me where go next n what to do

  21. Aug 14 2014

    Hi Amanda,

    Sounds like you just need to get some support with restoring it. There is no reason why it shouldn’t work. If you can’t get support on Apple’s community forums, take it in to an Apple store, or call Apple’s telephone support which you should still be covered by if your iPad is less than one year old.

    Good luck!

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