What is Lost Mode?

Lost Mode is a feature on Apple products: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Apple Watch, that allows you to remotely lock your device. So, for example, if you can’t find your iPhone and you are worried it could be in a public place somewhere, you can use Lost Mode to lock the device so anyone who finds your iPhone can’t use it or view your personal information.

How Lost Mode helps you find your iPhone (or other device)

So putting your device in Lost Mode means no one else can use it or view your information, but it also allows you to display a message on the screen. You can use this message to tell the person who finds your iPhone how to contact you. For example, you might have a message saying: This iPhone has been lost. Please contact the owner at (555)555-5555.

What else happens when you put your device in Lost Mode

  • Your device can still receive calls (including FaceTime).
  • Your device doesn’t display alerts or play sounds for messages, notifications or alarms.
  • Apple Pay is disabled. Also if you use Transit or student ID cards, these will be disabled on your iPhone. When you get your iPhone back and sign in with your Apple ID, your Apple Pay, Transit and student ID cards will be re-enabled.
  • You can see your device’s location on the Find My map (except for Mac), even if you had your Location Services turned off when you lost your device – it will be automatically turned on when you put your device in Lost Mode. For a Mac, you can’t locate it unless it can connect to one of its known Wi-Fi networks.
  • If your device’s battery runs out, the device’s location can not be updated.

How to use Lost Mode

Go to Find My iPhone on iCloud. After you sign in, you will be able to see your devices on the map. Note, you can also use the Find My app on your iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac that is signed in using the same Apple ID.

Before you put your device into Lost Mode, there a couple of things you should note:

  • You will need a passcode to unlock your device when you find it. If you already use a passcode on your iPhone, iPad, iPod or Apple Watch, then you will just use that code, but if you don’t already use a code, you will need to create one. If you are locking your Mac using Find My, you will need to create a new passcode. You should remember the passcode to unlock your device.
  • Putting a family member’s device in Lost Mode may require their Apple ID password.

Put your device in Lost Mode

  1. Click on All Devices at the top, then select the device you want to put into Lost Mode from the list.
  2. Click on Lost Mode, or on Lock for a Mac. Follow the onscreen instructions to put your device into Lost Mode.

Turn off Lost Mode

When you find your device, you can simply enter your passcode on the device to turn off Lost Mode. You can also use Find My on iCloud to turn off Lost Mode:

  1. Go to Find My iPhone on iCloud. Click on All Devices and select your lost device. Click on Lost Mode, then click on Stop Lost Mode and click again on Stop Lost Mode.

If you believe your device is lost for good, you can erase your device remotely using Find My.

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Dr. Stacey Butler is a tech writer at macReports covering news, how-tos, and user guides. She is a longtime Mac and iPhone user and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Here is her LinkedIn profile.

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