If you’re reading this article right now, you probably are here for one of two things;
- Your iPhone just got missing, you think it has been stolen and looking for how to reset it to secure your data.
- You’re looking up a friend or relative who just had their iPhone stolen.
If any of the above highlights your situation, then time is of essence to you and that’s the reason I’ll quickly run you through how to reset a stolen iPhone before things begin to go out of hand.
How To Reset A Stolen iPhone
Apple saw before time that you may have the need to wipe your iPhone due to theft and have added a way to reset your device remotely. No contact needs to be made with the iPhone, no payment whatsoever and it can be performed from another iPhone, iPad or from a PC.
It only takes about a minute or two to complete the process. Follow the below guide carefully to reset your stolen iPhone.
1. Resetting Stolen iPhone From Another iPhone/iPad
To be able to effect this from another device, in this case an iPad or iPhone, you need to have your Apple ID signed in on the device. While you can use a friend or family member’s iPhone, it’s best to do this from another Apple device you own, say a second iPhone or iPad. It doesn’t really matter on what device so long as you have your Apple ID signed in.
- First, open the Find My app, It’s an Apple application that is pre-installed on every iPhone. If you cannot easily find it among your apps, try using the search box. If still not found, you may want to re-install it from the App store.
- With Find My app open, tap on Devices at the bottom of the app
- In the Devices window, you’ll find a list of devices you own. Basically Apple is able to know this because they’re all operated with one Apple ID.
- Select from the list your stolen iPhone and Tap on it
- Scroll up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the rest of the options under the selected iPhone device
- Tap on Erase This Device at the bottom of the screen
- Tap on Continue
- Tap on Erase on the top right corner of the screen
- You’ll be asked to input your Apple ID password, Do so in the box provided
- Again, tap on Erase and allow it time to complete the process. After the Erase process completes, you’ll find just under the name of the iPhone, ‘Erase Pending’.
If you got to the last step and everything plays out as described, then you’ve successfully put forward the request to have your stolen iPhone reset.
2. Resetting Stolen iPhone From PC
Doesn’t matter if it’s on Windows, you can reset your stolen iPhone from your Mac or Windows device. Follow the below guide;
- Open your browser, enter the URL – iCloud.com
- You’ll have to login using your Apple ID and Password. This will be required especially if this is the first time you’re logging in on the device.
- Click on the Find iPhone button
- Click on All Device that’s just above the Map, which shows all the devices connected to your Apple ID
- Click on the stolen iPhone, click on Erase and your Apple will start the erasing process for your iPhone.
Can A Stolen iPhone Be Reset?
Yes, you can easily reset your iPhone if you think it has been stolen and this you can even do remotely. Now, you do not have to worry about a stranger making the content of your iPhone public because every information will be wiped completely.
However, your iPhone reset will be completed when the iPhone gets connected to the internet, otherwise your data may still stick around on your phone.
This is why you may see ‘Pending’ when you tap on ‘Erase’ in the Find My app. The reason for this is because Apple needs your iPhone connected to the internet to initiate the remote erasing.
However, that doesn’t mean your iPhone can be accessed by the thieve, Apple also had that figured out. As an add-on to resetting your iPhone, Apple also secures your iPhone with an Activation lock which acts as an extra layer of security alongside your Passcode. So your iPhone content is safe.
Can You Unlock An iPhone Reported Stolen?
Once an iPhone is reported stolen, it cannot be unlocked. This is so because reporting an iPhone as stolen would involve getting all things done to indicate that the iPhone was stolen. This will include using the Find My app to Erase your iPhone but that’s not all. It also includes reporting the case to your Carrier and to the police as well.
Apart from Apple wiping your iPhone and setting up an Activation and passcode lock which is a double layer security, your Carrier also contributes to that security by stopping the iPhone from connecting to any foreign network once the case is reported to them. The iPhone basically becomes a block of brick that is capable of doing nothing useful. I’m not sure how a thief can undo that.
And in the case the lost iPhone is found after it has been reported stolen, the owner would have to prove beyond every reasonable doubt that the phone is there to the appropriate bodies.
Nobody wants their iPhone stolen but unfortunately it’s a risk you must be aware of and yes, it can happen at any time. While you forbid the thought of losing your iPhone to thieves, you may want to prepare ahead for it by having an iPad or Mac using the same Apple ID as your iPhone with which you can easily erase your iPhone with. Secondly, you may also want to have an Apple plus plan to cover some cost of acquiring a new phone if ever your iPhone gets stolen.