What to do if your iPad is lost or stolen

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Even the most diligent, and careful individuals might misplace their iPad or iPhone from time to time.  A while back I was guilty of leaving my iPhone on a rollercoaster at Disney World.  So I know first hand the overwhelming panic that can wash over you, and how helpless it can feel.  Luckily I was able to reclaim my iPhone from the lost and found.  It could have gone very differently for me that day.  The experience definitely made me rethink the steps I would have needed to take to recover my iPhone, or possibly remote wipe the data in the event that I wasn’t able to locate it.

Turn on Find my iPad

I know this isn’t of any comfort for those of you who neglected to turn on Find my iPad–but, this is a biggie.  You have many more opportunities to get you iPad back if you have this feature activated. When you first buy and activate your iPad you will be prompted to turn it on.  However, in the event that you decided not to then, please turn it on now by going to Settings–> iCloud–>Find my iPad/iPhone and turn the toggle to on.  Additionally, while you are already on this screen, toggle on the Send Last Location to automatically send the location of your device when the battery is critically low.


Sign into iCloud and Track you iPad

  1. Sign into Find My iPad/iPhone on a Mac or PC, or launch the App on another iOS device.
  2. Once signed in, select the device you are searching for to view its location on a map.
  3. If you think your iPad may be close by, or if you’d like to alert others nearby that it is lost, you can play a sound.  The iPad will play a loud “sonar like” sound for a few seconds.

Activate Lost Mode

If you can’t find your iPad, use can use Lost Mode as soon as possible to lock it and keep track of its location. This also works for devices that are part of a Family Sharing Plan, allowing you to turn on Lost Mode for family members, too.  Lost Mode will allow you to remotely lock your device with a 4-digit passcode, and also give you the option to display a custom message with a phone number on the lost device’s lock screen.  Lost Mode will also suspend Apple Pay on the lost device.


Track iPad in Lost Mode

While tracking your device in lost mode you can see the iPad’s current location and continue to track it and see its movement on the map.  A couple of items to note–if your device is already online when you toggle on Lost Mode or remotely lock it, tracking immediately begins. In addition, if location services were never turned on, they will now be temporarily activated when the device is placed in Lost Mode. However, if your device is offline when you place it in Lost Mode, tracking will not commence until the it comes back online.


What else can you do?

What other options do you have if Find My iPad was never activated?  First and foremost, change your Apple ID password.  That way no one has access to all of your iCloud data, and they won’t be able to use any of the other services that are protected by your Apple ID password.  Now that someone has access to your iPad, it’s probably a good idea to change the passwords of any services or accounts that you accessed using your iPad including email, social networks, bank accounts, etc.  Lastly, you need to report your lost or stolen iPad to local authorities as well as your wireless carriers that they can disable your account and prevent any unauthorized use.

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One thought on “What to do if your iPad is lost or stolen”

  1. Good post, quite informative, thank you for sharing. Also, there’s the option to disable an iDevice through iTunes, which is also neat – it might not help a person that’s lost a device, but at least it’ll make it useless to the thief as well.

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