Over the past few weeks, 9to5Mac has been covering how criminals in Brazil are stealing people’s phones and using them to drain user’s savings in just a moment. Over the weekend, my iPhone 12 was stolen, but iOS 15 and many other precautions were very helpful and ensured that the situation was not as bad as it could have been.
One of the greatest features available on iOS 15 is the ability to make the iPhone findable even after being turned off or factory reset as long as Activation Lock is enabled. Turns out, this really works in real life, as I still have access to the iPhone’s position even though I factory reset it.
Although it’s up to the police to do something, at least I can safely know exactly where the iPhone 12 is, even though I’m not going to do anything all by myself. Alongside that, it’s easier than ever to restore the backup to my old-new iPhone, an XS.
Not only does this mean I can safely bring all of my data back, but I can also easily repair the Apple Watch without losing my Cellular data.
Now, I want to share a few precautions before being stolen and what I did next:
How to protect your iPhone before being stolen
For many of you, as I thought it was for me, it might be unthinkable that someone will intimidate you with a gun and ask for your unlocked iPhone. It happened, but here’s what I’ve done way before something like that happened:
- PIN SIM: In Brazil, we discovered that the first thing robbers do is to use your iPhone’s SIM with another phone, as you can learn more here. So don’t forget to create a PIN for your SIM. In “Settings” and “Cellular,” make sure you have created a four-digit PIN, so no one can use your SIM after your iPhone is turned off or when it’s inserted in another smartphone.
- Protect your email accounts: I love the Mail app, but not on my iPhone. That’s why I use the Outlook app since it lets me block the app with my face so no one can access my Apple ID easily.
- Check out your Photos gallery: Type “Card” and “Credit card” in the Search Bar of your Photos app. If it happens that your credit card is there, please, remove it.
- Check out your Notes app: Believe it or not, many people save their passwords on the Notes app. If you do so, at least block the note with your face. Here’s how to do it
- Face ID/Touch ID is your best friend: If the app lets you block it with your fingerprint or face, do so. A few examples: WhatsApp, Google Drive, bank apps, and 2FA apps lets you block them with your face.
- Save the Serial Number and IMEI: These two are key information to have. Both of them are available in the box of your iPhone, in the iPhone’s Setting, or on iCloud. If anything happens, Apple and the police will know from these numbers if the cellphone is stolen or not.
- Use 2FA apps not SMS: Using two-factor authentication is really important these days but using your cellphone number as the main factor is not a great idea. Every time you can, use a proper app.
My go-to two-factor authentication apps used to be from Google and Microsoft, but ever since I downloaded “Authenticator” by 2Stable, I have never regretted it. It works well with all my Apple devices, which meant that with my Apple Watch, I was able to access a friend’s computer and find from my Watch all my 2FA codes. My suggestion: find a 2FA app that works across all your Apple devices, like this one. You can learn more about it here.
iPhone stolen: what to do next?
From here on out, it becomes the standard procedure: Factory Reset your iPhone as quickly as you can. You can use another Apple device or iCloud to do so. Learn more about how to do that here.
Factory resetting your iPhone also removes all the cards from the Wallet. Also, don’t forget to call the police and your bank to remove your virtual token.
Next, just for precaution, don’t forget to change all your main passwords: Apple ID, main email, Facebook, and Twitter.
If you live in selected states in the US, it may be a good idea to check out the Apple Care+ Theft and Loss option. After registering the case with the police, you pay a fee, and you can get a new iPhone. This feature was introduced in 2018, and I wish Apple expanded it globally, as you need to be robbed in these states to use this concierge.
I hope these tips are useful if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. I’m fine, I’m not harmed, and my accounts are protected. Don’t forget to upgrade your iPhone to iOS 15 as soon as it’s available. As a matter of fact, always update your iPhone and apps to make sure that everything is as secure as possible.
Do you have any additional tips? Don’t forget to share them with us in the comments section below.