The theft of iOS devices has become a serious issue in the U.S. and globally. Apple, with iOS 7, introduced a new Find My iPhone feature called Activation Lock. This feature is designed to prevent anyone from using (or selling) your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch if it gets lost or stolen.
In a previous article, we covered iOS’s Lost Mode. Lost Mode and Activation Lock are complimentary features that work together to increase your chances of regaining access to your iOS device if it becomes lost or stolen. While Lost Mode may help you recover your lost device, Activation Lock keeps your lost iOS device secure. This feature will not only help protect your device, but also acts as a deterrent to theives.
Enabling Find My iPhone (or Find My iPad, Find My iPod) on your iOS device automatically turns on the Activation Lock feature. This step also links your Apple ID to your device. Now your Apple ID password is needed if you (or someone else) want(s) to
(1) turn off Find My iPhone
(2) delete your iCloud account on your device
(3) erase everything on the device by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings
(4) reactivate your device.
To turn on Find My iPhone, simple tap Settings > iCloud (you may need to sign in with your Apple ID) then toggle on Find My iPhone.
As stated before, Lost Mode and Activation Lock complement each other. When you lose your iPhone, iPad or iPad touch, or if your device is stolen, the first thing you should do is place the device into Lost Mode. Lost Mode will lock your device with a passcode and display a custom message. Activation Lock will take this a step further making it extremely difficult for someone else to use your lost device by requiring your Apple ID password for reactivation. Since the person who finds your device can not modify your phones settings (e.g. turning off Find My iPhone), you may be able to easily track its location using iCloud. This is also true even if you forget to put your device into Lost Mode.