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What happens when you report your Apple device as stolen?

If your Apple device is stolen, you’re probably wondering what you can do to get it back. 

Device thefts have become an increasingly common problem in recent years, with Apple products considered particularly lucrative targets for criminals looking to make some quick cash reselling your tech. 

The Met recently revealed that 57,174 mobile phones were reported stolen between October 2022 and October 2023 in London alone, with the figures indicating a 28% increase in mobile phone robbery in the city compared to the year prior. 

Whether your iPhone was nabbed in a restaurant, your iPad taken from your home, or your MacBook swiped from your backpack, the best course of action is to act fast. The sooner you lock down your device and report it stolen, the higher your chances are of getting it back (or at the very least, greatly inconveniencing the person who snatched it). 

Left part view of a silver-gray Macbook Air M1's keyboard

What happens when you report your Apple device as stolen? 

You should mark your Apple device as lost as soon as you discover it is missing. Doing this forces the device into Lost Mode, adding a passcode to your home screen, suspending your Apple Pay cards, and pulling up a phone number and message for whoever finds your device. 

Of course, if you watched your device get snatched you’re probably not expecting a call. However, if you’re unsure if your iPhone was taken from your purse or left in the Uber on the way home, it might be worth leaving your contact information in case someone picks it up. 

To enter your device into Lost Mode, head over to, sign in to your Apple account, and select the stolen device. Then click Mark As Lost and follow the steps to complete the process. 

iCloud also allows you to monitor your device’s location on a map, provided that the device remains switched on and connected to the internet. If the device does go offline, you’ll be able to view its last known location for up to 24 hours. 

Of course, Apple doesn’t recommend you visit any unfamiliar addresses and confront the thief. The safest course of action is to contact your local law enforcement and file a report to allow them to investigate. 

You should also contact your network provider and report your device as missing so they can disable your account and file any insurance claims. 

It’s generally a good idea to update your Apple ID password at this stage, along with any passwords you think might have been compromised. 

Finally, if you can’t see any possibility of your Apple device being recovered, you can choose to remotely erase your device via iCloud. This is a process that cannot be undone and will result in you losing any photos, videos, files, and messages you have not previously backed up, making it a serious last resort.

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