With another iPhone, you can easily find your lost iPhone. For this to work, you must have previously enabled both the Find My iPhone and Find My Network features on the lost phone. Below is how to proceed.
Log in to iCloud
- First, borrow an iPhone from someone.
- Then connect the borrowed phone to the internet.
- Launch the Find My application.
- There are four icons at the bottom of the app.
- Now click on the Me icon at the bottom right.
- Swipe up to reveal the Help a Friend link.
- Tap on Help a Friend.
- It will redirect you to the iCloud Find My iPhone login page.
- Select Use a different Apple ID.
- Then, log in with your Apple ID & Password.
Once logged in, you will receive an email confirmation with the following message: Your apple ID was used to sign into iCloud via a web browser. Since this is a borrowed phone, do not save your iCloud ID and password on it.
Locating your lost iPhone
The Find My Map
Using Apple maps, the Find My application can display your lost iPhone’s current, or last known location. When logged into Find My, you will see a list of all the devices connected to your iCloud account at the bottom.
When the lost iPhone has internet access
Your lost iPhone will show on the map as a colored iPhone icon in a green circle if it has an internet connection. In this case, you can enable Lost Mode, Play an alarm to help you locate it, or even erase its data.
When the lost iPhone does not have internet access
According to Apple, Find My Network can help you locate a lost iPhone even when it is offline. But in my experience, it can only show the last known online location of the lost phone. However, Apple further explains that nearby devices on the Find My Network can securely Send the location of your missing device to iCloud.
During my tests, I disabled WiFi on my iPhone and then ran a search on Find My. I noticed that I could not track its current location whenever it was offline. Maybe there were not enough nearby devices connected to the Find My Network that could send my missing iPhone’s current location to the iCloud network.
Instead, the Find My app only revealed my iPhone’s last known location using a black phone icon in a grey circle. Approximately 15 minutes after being disconnected, its last known location was named Old Location.
Consequently, if your iPhone gets lost, goes offline, and someone moves it away from its last known location, finding it will be complicated.
You should use this method when you believe you may not be far from your lost phone. The Play Sound button on the Find My app will make the lost iPhone play an alarm sound. It works even when silent mode is on. Below is how to do it.
- Tap on the Play Sound icon at the bottom.
- You will receive an email with the following message: A sound was played on your iPhone.
- Initially, the lost phone vibrates while a low-volume alarm sound gradually increases in volume.
Will the Play Sound feature work without an internet connection?
The Play Sound feature won’t work unless the lost iPhone is connected to the internet. In that case, iCloud will display the following message: Sound Pending. This iPhone will play a sound when connected to the internet.
How to unlock an iPhone with play sound enabled?
To stop the alert sound, you must unlock the lost iPhone by using its passcode. After entering the passcode, you will receive an email confirmation that your iPhone has been found.
Lost mode lets you lock a missing iPhone remotely and display your contact information if someone finds the phone and wants to return it. Let me explain how to set up lost mode.
- Tap on the Lost Mode icon at the bottom.
- You will receive an email confirmation that Lost mode is enabled iPhone.
- After the prompt, click Continue to enable Lost Mode.
- Type an alternative phone number through which you can be reached and click next.
- Finally, type the message you want to be displayed on the lost iPhone and click done.
- You can also opt to receive email updates as the location of your iPhone changes.
I am a lost iPhone! Return me to my owner for a handsome reward :). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.Nebaa
Notice how the battery icon of the lost iPhone turns yellow on the iCloud map. That happens because, in Lost Mode, the lost iPhone switches automatically to Low Power Mode.
On the iCloud map, if you look closely, the iPhone icon will show the Lost Mode message you just wrote together with a green call button. It confirms that you have successfully enabled Lost Mode on your iPhone.
Our beautifully crafted message and phone number appear in the middle of the display of the lost iPhone. And below that, is a gigantic Call button. If someone taps the call button on the lost iPhone, it will call the number included in the Lost Mode message. So be sure to use the correct phone number.
To edit the message, tap the lost mode button again. In this same menu, you can disable lost mode if you change your mind.
Can you activate Lost Mode if the lost iPhone has no internet connection?
No, Lost Mode will not work immediately if the lost iPhone does not have access to the internet. Instead, you will see the following message: Lost Mode Pending. This phone will go into Lost Mode when it connects to the internet.
Fortunately, when an iPhone is locked, you can still turn on its WiFi & Cellular Data. However, a locked iPhone can only connect to previously saved WiFi networks because you cannot type a new WiFi password without unlocking the phone. Also, your lost iPhone’s cellular data cannot work if you did not activate a data plan.
How to unlock an iPhone with lost mode enabled?
Lost mode blocks an iPhone’s lock screen, wallet, and apple pay. If your iPhone is in Lost Mode, you can only unlock it using your passcode. Face ID will not work.
- Swipe up from the bottom of the lock screen.
- Enter the iPhone’s passcode.
- Then your Apple ID password would be required for verification purposes.
- Apple Wallet and Apple pay will only unlock after entering your Apple ID password.
- After unlocking the phone, you will receive an email confirmation with the following message: iPhone has been found.
Erase the iPhone
iCloud Find My offers a third option: Erase iPhone. This command will erase everything on your iPhone and reset it to factory settings.
How to remotely erase your lost iPhone
At this point, you have already logged into the Find My app using your iCloud ID and password as described earlier on. Select the lost iPhone from the list of connected devices in your iCloud account and follow the steps below.
- Tap on erase iPhone
- You will receive the following prompt: Erase this iPhone? All content and settings will be erased. If Find My Network is enabled, you will still be able to locate this iPhone.
- If you still want to proceed with erasing the lost phone, click continue.
- Select; Use a different Apple ID.
- Sign into your iCloud account using your Apple ID and Password once more.
- This time, iCloud may send you a Two-Factor authentication code.
- If that happens, you will see the following message: A message with a verification code has been sent to your devices. Enter the code to continue.
- Enter the verification code and click continue.
- Type a phone number that will appear on your lost iPhone. This step is optional but highly recommended.
- Type your phone number in the space provided and click Next.
- On the next screen, you can enter a message that will appear on the lost iPhone.
- Type your desired message in the space provided and click done.
iCloud will send an erase request and wipe your iPhone immediately (if it has an internet connection). Even after erasing it, your iPhone remains password-protected.
iCloud usually sends the authentication code to your registered iCloud mobile number. So if your registered mobile number is inside the lost phone, you will not receive the verification code. Fortunately, I found a way to sort this issue (I will explain how to do it in another post).
Can you erase a lost iPhone that is offline?
The borrowed iPhone will display the following message if your lost iPhone has no connection: This iPhone will be erased when it connects to the internet. At this point, if you want to cancel the erase request, simply tap on Stop Erase Request.
If you backed up your iPhone, you can always restore it using the backup on your computer (if you find it). Here’s how to back up your iPhone on a PC or Mac (I will link to a suitable post in the future).
While testing this process, I had to log in to my apple ID multiple times on an iPhone that was not mine. Eventually, iCloud served me a two-step authentication process that required a six-digit code from my iPhone. After that, it asked me to change my Apple ID password.
Things could become very complicated if that happens to you. Just imagine this. Your iPhone is lost, and you cannot log in to iCloud on another phone until you use a 6-digit authentication code. And guess what? iCloud sent the code to the phone number on your lost iPhone.
I may have entered my Apple ID password incorrectly about two times. That is likely why iCloud requested the two-factor authentication. Fortunately, I found a solution to this issue which I will explain in another blog post and link to it from here.