Lost or Stolen iPhone

iPhone Life Magazine - - News - BY SAM COSTELLO

Here's ev­ery­thing you need to do to make sure your in­for­ma­tion is safe.

Has your iPhone been stolen? When you dis­cover that your iPhone has gone miss­ing, you may feel anger, worry, and sur­prise. Don't dwell on those feel­ings, though— you need to take ac­tion. What you do right away when your iPhone is stolen is very im­por­tant. It could make the dif­fer­ence in pro­tect­ing your data or get­ting your phone back. Fol­low­ing these 11 steps can help you re­cover it or, at the very least, min­i­mize the dam­age a stolen phone can re­sult in. Good luck.

1) LOCK YOUR IPHONE & POS­SI­BLY DELETE DATA

The first thing you need to do is pro­tect your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. If you have a pass­code set on your iPhone, you're pretty safe. But if you don't and you set up Find My iPhone be­fore los­ing your phone, log in to Find My iPhone on a friend's phone or on your com­puter via iCloud.com to lock your phone and add a pass­code. That will at least pre­vent the thief from us­ing your phone. If you can't get the iPhone back or it has ex­tremely sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion on it, you may want to choose Erase iPhone to delete the phone's data. Delet­ing data won't pre­vent the thief from us­ing your iPhone, but at least they won't have ac­cess to your per­sonal data af­ter that. If your iPhone was is­sued to you by your em­ployer, your IT depart­ment may be able to re­motely delete the data, too. Con­tact them to learn about your op­tions.

2) RE­MOVE DEBIT & CREDIT CARDS FROM AP­PLE PAY

If you use Ap­ple's wire­less pay­ment ser­vice, you should re­move any credit cards or debit cards you've added to the phone for use with Ap­ple Pay (they're easy to add back later). Ap­ple Pay is very se­cure, but it's nice to have the peace of mind that your credit card isn't vir­tu­ally sit­ting in a thief's pocket. Sign in to iCloud.com > Set­tings > My De­vices, se­lect your phone, and click Re­move All un­der Ap­ple Pay.

3) TRACK YOUR PHONE WITH FIND MY IPHONE

You al­ready locked your phone in Step 1 us­ing Find My iPhone, but you can also use this free ser­vice to track your phone's lo­ca­tion us­ing the de­vice's built-in GPS. The only catch? You need to have set up Find My iPhone be­fore your phone was stolen.

4) DON’T TRY TO RE­COVER IT YOUR­SELF; GET HELP FROM THE PO­LICE

If you've been able to lo­cate your iPhone us­ing Find My iPhone, do not try to re­cover it your­self. Go­ing to the house of the per­son who stole your phone is a def­i­nite recipe for trou­ble. In­stead, con­tact the lo­cal po­lice depart­ment (or, if you've al­ready filed a re­port, the one you re­ported the theft to) and let them know that you've got in­for­ma­tion about the lo­ca­tion of your stolen phone. While the po­lice may not al­ways help, the more in­for­ma­tion you have, the more likely po­lice are to re­cover the phone for you.

5) FILE A PO­LICE RE­PORT

If you can't re­cover the phone right away, file a re­port with the po­lice in the city/neigh­bor­hood where the phone was stolen. This may or may not lead to the re­cov­ery of your phone (in fact, the po­lice may tell you there's very lit­tle they can do ei­ther be­cause of the value of the phone or the num­ber of thefts), but hav­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion should help when deal­ing with cell­phone and in­surance com­pa­nies. Even if the po­lice tell you they can't help at first, if you can get data about the lo­ca­tion of your phone, hav­ing the re­port may be ne­c­es­sary for get­ting the po­lice to help you re­cover it.

6) NO­TIFY YOUR EM­PLOYER

If your iPhone was given to you through work, no­tify your em­ployer of the theft im­me­di­ately. You may even want to do this be­fore you file the po­lice re­port, since your cor­po­rate IT depart­ment may be able to pre­vent the thief from ac­cess­ing crit­i­cal busi­ness in­for­ma­tion. Your em­ployer may have given you guide­lines about what to do in case of theft when they is­sued the phone to you. It's a good idea to brush up on them.

7) CALL YOUR CAR­RIER

Whether this should be the sev­enth step in the process or should come ear­lier de­pends on your cir­cum­stances. Some phone car­rier may be more in­clined to take ac­tion when you've got a po­lice re­port, while oth­ers may act right away with­out one. Call­ing your car­rier to re­port the theft and have the ac­count tied to the phone suspended or can­celed helps en­sure that you don't pay for charges in­curred by the thief. Be­fore you can­cel your ser­vice, try track­ing your phone us­ing Find My iPhone. Once ser­vice is turned off, Find My iPhone will only work when con­nected to Wi-Fi.

8) CHANGE YOUR PASS­WORDS

Chang­ing your email ac­count pass­words will pre­vent the thief from read­ing or send­ing mail from your phone. Beyond that, chang­ing on­line bank­ing, iTunes, and other im­por­tant ac­count pass­words will help pre­vent iden­tity theft or fi­nan­cial theft.

9) CALL YOUR PHONE IN­SURANCE COM­PANY, IF YOU HAVE ONE

If you have a phone in­surance pol­icy from your car­rier or an in­surance com­pany that cov­ers theft, be sure to call the com­pany. Hav­ing a po­lice re­port is a big help here. If you can re­cover the phone with the help of the po­lice that's ideal, but re­port­ing the sit­u­a­tion to the in­surance com­pany will get the ball rolling in the mean­time and help you get money to re­place your phone if you can't re­cover it.

10) NO­TIFY PEO­PLE

If your phone's gone and you weren't able to track it via GPS and/or lock it, you're prob­a­bly not go­ing to get it back. In that case, you should no­tify the peo­ple in your ad­dress book and email ac­counts of the theft. They prob­a­bly won't be get­ting calls or emails from the thief, but in case the thief has a bad sense of hu­mor or more se­ri­ously bad in­ten­tions, you'll want peo­ple to know that it's not you send­ing trou­ble­mak­ing mes­sages.

11) PRO­TECT YOUR­SELF IN THE FU­TURE

Whether you get your iPhone back or have to re­place it with a new one, you may want to change your habits and be­hav­iors to pre­vent fu­ture thefts. Set­ting a se­cure pass­code, en­abling Touch ID or Face ID, and en­abling Find My iPhone are all great places to start.

Sam Costello has been writ­ing about tech­nol­ogy since 2000. He has pub­lished ar­ti­cles with CNN.com, PC World, In­foWorld, and Com­put­er­world, among oth­ers. He has writ­ten about PDAs, mon­i­tors, and print­ers for Sam­sung's con­sumer web­sites, and about apps, stream­ing me­dia, and eBooks for the Que Pub­lish­ing web­site.

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