How to Find Your Lost iPhone and Erase Data Remotely

Lost your iPhone? Don’t know how to find it or erase its data before it falls into the hands of a bad actor? Apple’s Find My iPhone feature is simple to use and comes in handy should your iPhone go missing. It allows you to view the location of your lost or stolen iPhone, play a sound on the phone to help you find it or alert others nearby, mark the iPhone as lost to remotely lock it to protect data, and erase all the data on the iPhone if needed.

To enable all the functions mentioned above, you need to activate Find My on your iPhone first.

How to enable Find My iPhone

  1. Click on the Apple ID menu. This is the first tab you’ll look at on the Settings screen, right below the search bar.

  2. Click on Find My option. This should be the third option after iCloud and Media & Purchases.

  3. Click on Find My iPhone option. Toggle on the options for Find My iPhone, Find My network (to locate your iPhone even if it’s offline), and Send Last Location (automatically sends location of your iPhone to Apple when the battery is critically low).

Once these are done, you are all set to find your iPhone in case it goes missing. To find the location of your lost iPhone, or erase data, sign in to icloud.com/find.

How to view lost iPhone on a map

  1. On the above link, once you sign in using your Apple ID and password via any browser, it should automatically start locating your iPhone.

  2. Within a few seconds, the location of your iPhone should appear in a map on the screen.

  3. If the device is seen located in an unknown area, readers are cautioned not to try to recover their iPhone themselves, and instead contact law enforcement – who may request the serial number or IMEI code of your device. Here’s how to find the serial number of your device.

How to play a sound on your lost iPhone

  1. Once your phone has been located, you’ll be able to look at an All Devices at the top of the map. Click on it.

  2. From the drop-down menu, select your lost iPhone model (your assigned phone name should appear here).

  3. Now, a floating box should appear on the top right corner of the screen. This should show a photo of your iPhone, phone name, remaining battery, etc.

  4. Click on the Play Sound button. This will make your iPhone vibrate and emit a beeping sound that gradually gets louder, irrespective of your phone being on silent mode or not. This feature is particularly handy when you misplace your iPhone in a nearby room or a nearby location and you aren’t able to see where you have kept it. You can follow the beeping sound and find it. You’ll need to unlock your phone to stop the sound.

How to mark your iPhone as lost

  1. From the floating window, click on the Lost Mode button.

  2. You will be asked to enter an optional phone number where you can be reached. This number will be shown on your lost iPhone. You will also be asked to enter a custom message that will show up on your iPhone as well. Note that these steps are optional. The Lost Mode will automatically lock your iPhone with a passcode to ensure that all the data within is kept secured.

How to erase data on your lost iPhone

  1. From the floating window, click on the Erase iPhone button.

  2. A pop-up message will ask for your confirmation. Please note that allowing this will remove all the content and settings from your iPhone. An erased iPhone can’t be tracked or located.


iPhone 12 Pro Series Is Amazing, but Why Is It So Expensive in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Shayak Majumder is Chief Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. A journalist since 2013, he has worked both on the industry as well as behind the desk in several organisations including Indian Express Online and MSN. As a reporter, he covered a wide range of verticals, from politics to the development sector. While at Indian Express, he regularly reviewed video games, gaming hardware and the growth of MMORPG in India. He is also a passionate musician and a former trainer, currently working on his upcoming EP.
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