It is admittedly difficult to know how to proceed when dealing with a stolen iPhone.
On the one hand, it would be morally correct to return the device to its rightful owner or hand it over to the authorities. On the other hand, things are not so clear when you have already been deceived by buying a stolen iPhone, something that makes it your property at the same time.
When a device is identified as stolen it is locked in one of the following ways:
Leaving aside what you will ultimately decide, I will show you if you can and how to unlock a stolen iPhone and what to do to find the real owner.
1. Stolen iPhone Passcode
The most common way to protect your iPhone from prying eyes is by activating a passcode.
The iPhone passcode is simply a password used to give access to the original owner and only him. It is usually installed when the device is first turned on, but this step can be easily skipped and activated at any time.
The passcode is required when you do the following:
- Turn on or restart iDevice
- Unlock device to access Home Screen
- iOS Update
- Erase the device
- View or change passcode settings
- Install iOS Configuration profiles
On older Apple models, it was a four-digit password similar to the one you use with your debit card at an ATM.
On the latest models, you can still enter a four-digit passcode, but you can also use a 6-digit or even go with a fully alphanumeric password for better protection.
The newer iDevices (iPhone X and beyond), don’t just stop there:
- you can use your fingerprint instead of your passcode if your device supports Touch ID
- you can use face recognition instead of your password if your device supports Face ID
More info@Apple Support
Can you unlock a stolen iPhone without knowing the Passcode?
If you need a passcode to proceed to the home screen then unfortunately you have little chance of unlocking the stolen iPhone.
First, avoid any tool that promises to bypass the iPhone passcode. Free or not, none of them work.
Generally, if you encounter a Touch ID, Face ID, or alphanumeric passcode, then nothing can be done. If it is a four-digit or six-digit passcode you can try the following trick.
A lot of people use these four-digit patterns:
- or the famous squares 1397 or 7139.
If I have already guessed your password do not worry, I am not psychic.
A recent survey showed that these ten iPhone passcodes were used by almost 20% of the 200,000 entries. The most popular was “1234”, which was used by about 9,000 people. The rest of the codes are either very simple (repeating a number), they create a pattern (line, square, etc.) or even words like LOVE = 5683.
Simply testing these 10 passwords gives you a pretty good chance of unlocking a stolen iPhone with a passcode, even on newer models since the same logic is also used in six-digit codes.
But before you start trying them all out you have to seriously consider that you get only 5 attempts to guess the stolen iPhone passcode right before seeing the “iPhone is disabled, try again in X minute” warning and then 5 more before the phone is completely disabled with the “iPhone is disabled, connect to iTunes” screen.
That is, you have a total of 10 attempts. If you are in your ninth then you have two options left:
- The tenth and last try. If you fail again then, there is no way to unlock the stolen iPhone anymore
- Find the original owner
How to find the owner of a stolen iPhone using Medical ID
There is always access to the Medical ID feature, even with a locked stolen iPhone, as its main purpose is to provide important medical information to the first to respond in an emergency.
Selecting Emergency in the lower left part of the screen will display a numeric keypad and now in the lower left, you can select the Medical ID.
If it is activated then you will see the name of the original owner and more information about his identity and of course, how to contact him or someone close to him.
How to find the owner of a stolen iPhone using SIRI
You may also be able to use Siri and locate the stolen iPhone’s owner, but only if has configured it so that allows Siri access when the device is locked.
Pressing and holding the Home button will activate Siri, but you should be smart about what you will ask. Unfortunately, Siri has a limited number of queries before the passcode is finally required here too.
Here are some good ideas that you could try in this case:
- “Reading the Call Log” – (Recommended)
- “Call my husband”
- “Call my mom”
- “Call my dad”
- “Call my boss”
- “Read my last message”
- “Who Owns This iPhone?”
- “What is my email address?”
2. Stolen iPhone: What to do when it's iCloud Locked
Once you have overcome the passcode then the Activation Lock screen is the next possible problem you are called to face.
We have already dealt extensively with how to remove the iCloud lock and all the ways to find out who is hiding behind the Apple ID and Password that does not allow you to use it.
Just select one of the following articles to continue unlocking the stolen iPhone that unfortunately fell into your hands.
3. What to do when a stolen iPhone is reported as blacklisted
The last issue a stolen iPhone may have is being blacklisted by a network or even Apple itself.
If this is the only obstacle left, then you can learn all about how to remove an iPhone from the blacklist and unlock it completely in the following articles.