How to disable an iPhone that has been stolen

Written by julius vandersteen
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How to disable an iPhone that has been stolen
If someone steals your iPhone, you can disable it remotely. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

You may have a lot of sensitive material on your Apple iPhone that you wouldn't want an unauthorised person to see. The iPhone has a touch-sensitive screen and comes with two built-in cameras to take pictures and shoot videos. It connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi and mobile data networks, enabling you to use email and access social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. If someone steals your iPhone, you can disable it remotely if you have installed Apple's free "Find my iPhone" app and have an iCloud account.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Apple iCloud account
  • Find my iPhone app

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    Sign up for iCloud

  1. 1

    Go to Apple's iCloud registration website and sign up for a free account. The iCloud service lets you sync an iPhone with other devices, including computers, iPads and iPod Touches, and to remotely disable a stolen iPhone.

  2. 2

    Press the "Home" button on the iPhone to go to the home screen. Tap the "App Store" icon on the home screen. Tap "Search," tap "Find My iPhone," and then tap "Search." Tap "Find My iPhone" from the search results. Tap the word "Free" next to the name of the app, and then tap "Install." Type your Apple ID at the prompt.

  3. 3

    Tap the "Settings" icon on the home screen, and then tap "Mail, Contacts, Calendars." Tap "Add Account," and then tap "iCloud." Type in your Apple ID and password. If you don't already have an Apple ID, tap "Create Free Apple ID" and follow the prompts. Type your iCloud email address and password at the prompt.

  4. 4

    Press the "Home" button and then tap the "Mail" icon to check your e-mail. If the iCloud account status is listed as "Not Verified," look for an email message about verification from Apple. Tap the message and then tap "Verify Now." Press the "Home" button twice to see the list of recently used apps, and then tap the "iCloud" app icon to switch back to iCloud.

  5. 5

    Tap the "Find My iPhone" option to "Yes." Tap "Allow" at the prompt to activate "Find My iPhone" on your iPhone.

    Disable remotely

  1. 1

    Launch a web browser on your computer.

  2. 2

    Go to the iCloud sign-in website and sign in. A map will appear showing the approximate location of your iPhone, if it is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi or a mobile data network.

  3. 3

    Click the blue button next to the name of your iPhone on the map to display the options. Click "Remote Lock."

  4. 4

    Type a four-digit number in the "Remote Lock" dialog box, and then type it in once more to confirm it. This disables the iPhone, since a thief will be unable to use it without knowing the code. Tap the "Find My iPhone" app on the home screen of another iPhone, an iPad or an iPod Touch and log in to your iCloud account to disable your stolen iPhone, if you don't have access to a computer.

Tips and warnings

  • If your iPhone is stolen and you don't think you will be able to recover it, you can log in to your iCloud account and click the name of your iPhone displayed on the map, and then click "Remote Wipe" to erase all data on the phone, returning it to the factory default settings.

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