Losing a smartphone is no doubt a painful experience that at least one in every two people (just a cursory assumption) have gone through. Aside from losing monetary investment, there’s also the risk of losing personal information should one’s smartphone get stolen or go missing. Thankfully, smartphone manufacturers have different tools in place to help users recover a missing device. For Apple, putting a device in Lost Mode is one way to recover a missing iPhone or iPad.
For starters, Apple lets you mark an iPhone or iPad as lost using the Find My app if you suspect that your device is missing or stolen. Now, when you activate the ‘Mark As Lost’ feature, your smartphone is automatically put in Lost Mode. This mode locks your device remotely, displays a custom message on the screen, and renders your phone unusable to whoever took it.
With your iPhone in Lost Mode, your phone number appears on the lock screen. That makes it easy for whoever finds your missing device to contact you. If it was stolen, Lost Mode makes it easy for you to track your iPhone in real-time. In the sections below, we highlight some things that happen when an iPhone is in Lost Mode.
iPhone Will Be Locked
This is the first thing that happens when you activate Lost Mode on your iPhone. Apple will remotely lock your device, rendering it unusable until you, or whoever has your iPhone, unlocks it with a passcode. If you put your iPhone in Lost Mode by accident or just out of curiosity, you can deactivate it by simply entering the device passcode.
But if someone else gets their hands on your iPhone, they will also have to unlock it using the passcode. If they don’t know the passcode, the device will remain locked with your contact information on the screen.
Lost Mode also temporarily disables your iPhone’s biometric authentication (Face ID, Touch ID). That is an extra security measure to ensure that the iPhone can only be unlocked or recovered when a passcode — which is more secure — is entered.
Notifications Are Disabled
Activating Lock Mode on your iPhone also (temporarily) disables notifications. That means the notification alerts/sounds from your apps are disabled. Likewise, the notifications will not be displayed on the lock screen. Alarms are also temporarily disabled.
There are only three things you can do with an iPhone that’s in Lock Mode.
- Unlock the device using a passcode.
- Stare at the contact details on the lock screen (if any), and contact the owner of the device using another phone.
- Make and receive calls.
Apple lets an iPhone in Lock Mode receive (mobile and FaceTime) calls so that the owner of the device can communicate with whoever has their missing iPhone. For outgoing calls, on the other hand, an iPhone in Lock Mode can only make calls to the number added to the lock screen message when setting up Lock Mode.
Location Services Is Remotely Enabled
Location Services is remotely enabled when an iPhone is in Lock Mode to help you track the location of the missing device. If Location Services was disabled before the device went missing, Apple will (temporarily) force-enable the iPhone’s Location Services so you can easily track its current location in real-time.
When you find your iPhone and input its passcode, Lock Mode is disabled and Location Services as well.
Payments Are Suspended
When you activate Lock Mode on your iPhone, you are intimating Apple that someone stole your iPhone. That’s how Apple understands it. To keep your money away from the reach of whoever has your iPhone, Apple Pay will be suspended temporarily. Consequently, all credit or debit cards connected to your Apple Pay are also suspended.
The suspension is only temporary; you can use Apple Pay and the connected cards when Lock Mode is deactivated.
Note: You might be required to sign in with your Apple ID to resume using Apple Pay and the suspended cards.
Low Power Mode Is Enabled
Of course, missing devices can be charged, but you cannot guarantee that whoever finds your phone has a charger. That’s why Apple automatically enables Low Power Mode on any iPhone (or iPad) in Lock Mode. Apple does that to help extend the battery life of the missing device, thereby handing the owner more time to track it. Or more time to be in touch with whoever has the missing device.
Low Power Mode and Lock Mode are disabled once the device is unlocked using a passcode.
Secure Your iPhone
If your iPhone ever gets stolen or missing, you can put it in Lost Mode using another iPhone or on a PC. All you need to do is sign in to your iCloud account and remotely activate Lost Mode on the device. If the iPhone didn’t have a passcode before it got stolen/missing, you will be required to create one.
Next up: An Apple ID forms the core of many Apple apps and services. What happens to the apps and services when you sign out Apple ID on your iPhone? We explain all of it in the guide linked below.
Last updated on 12 April, 2023
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