The last few weeks, 9to5Mac has covered how criminals in Brazil steal people’s phones and use them to empty the user’s savings in just a moment. During the weekend, the iPhone 12 min was stolen, but iOS 15 and many other precautions were very helpful and made sure that the situation was not as bad as it could have been.
One of the biggest features available on iOS 15 is the ability to make the iPhone available even after it is turned off or reset at the factory as long as Activation Lock is enabled. It turns out that this really works in real life, as I still have access to the iPhone position even if I reset the factory.
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Not only does this mean that I can safely bring all my data back, but I can also easily repair my Apple Watch without losing my mobile data.
Now I want to share some precautions before I get stolen and what I did next:
How to protect your iPhone before you are stolen
For many of you, as I thought it was for me, it may be unthinkable that someone will scare you with a gun and ask for your unlocked iPhone. It happened, but here’s what I did before something like that happened:
- PIN-SIM: In Brazil, we discovered that the first thing robbers do is use the iPhone’s SIM with another phone, so you can learn more here. So do not forget to create a PIN code for your SIM card. In “Settings” and “Mobile”, make sure you have created a four-digit PIN code so that no one can use your SIM card after the iPhone is switched off or when it is inserted in another smartphone.
- Protect email accounts: I love the Mail app, but not on the iPhone. That’s why I use the Outlook app, since it allows me to block the app with my face, so that no one can easily access my Apple ID.
- Check out your photo gallery: Enter “Cards” and “Credit Cards” in the search field in your Photos app. If it happens that your credit card is there, you can remove it.
- Check out your Notes app: Believe it or not, many people store their passwords in the Notes app. If you do, 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 allows you to block it with a fingerprint or face, do so. A few examples: WhatsApp, Google Drive, banking apps and 2FA apps let you block them with your face.
- Save the serial number and IMEI: These two are key information to have. Both are available in the box on the iPhone, in the iPhone setting or on iCloud. If anything, Apple and the police will know from these numbers whether the cell phone has been stolen or not.
- Use 2FA apps, not SMS: Using two-factor authentication is very important these days, but using your cell phone number as the main factor is not a good idea. Use a proper app whenever you can.
My two-factor authentication apps were previously from Google and Microsoft, but ever since I downloaded “Authenticator” from 2Stable, I’ve never regretted it. It works well with all my Apple devices, which meant that with Apple Watch I could access a friend’s computer and find all my 2FA codes from Watch. My suggestion: find a 2FA app that works on all your Apple devices, like this one. You can learn more about it here.
iPhone stolen: what should I do next?
From here on out, the default procedure is: Reset iPhone as fast as you can. You can use another Apple device or iCloud to do that. Learn more about how to do it here.
The factory default setting of the iPhone also removes all the cards from the wallet. Don’t forget to call the police and your bank to remove your virtual token.
Next, just in case, do not forget to change all your master passwords: Apple ID, Master Email, Facebook and Twitter.
If you live in select states in the United States, you may want to check out the Apple Care + Theft and Loss option. After you have registered the case with the police, you pay a fee and you can get a new iPhone. This feature was introduced in 2018, and I would like Apple to expand it globally, as you have to be robbed in these states to use this gatekeeper.
I hope these tips are helpful if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. I’m fine, I’m not hurt, and my accounts are protected. Don’t forget to upgrade your iPhone to iOS 15 as soon as it becomes available. In fact, always update your iPhone and apps to make sure everything is as secure as possible.
Do you have any extra tips? Do not forget to share them with us in the comments section below.
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