With iOS 7, Apple Find My iPhone option includes a feature called Activation Lock, which is designed to prevent anyone else from using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Activation Lock starts working the moment you turn on Find My iPhone, helping you keep your missing device secure.
With Activation Lock, your Apple ID and password will be required before anyone can turn off Find My iPhone on your device. If your phone happens to fall in the wrong hands, they will not be able to use your device, erase your data, reactivate the iPhone. Even if you erase your device remotely, Activation Lock continues to deter anyone from reactivating your device without your permission. Just keep Find My iPhone turned on, and remember your Apple ID and password.
It works in a very simple way. Indeed, when you enable Find My iPhone on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 7, your Apple ID is securely stored on Apple’s activation servers and linked to your device.
From that point on, before anyone can turn off Find My iPhone on your device, erase data, reactivate and use your smartphone, this person will need a password.
Activation Lock enables automatically when you turn on Find My iPhone in iOS 7. The same happens when you upgrade to iOS 7 from a previous version of iOS that has Find My iPhone already turned on.
To turn on Find My iPhone on your device: Go to Settings, tap iCloud, sign in with your Apple ID (if necessary) and turn on Find My iPhone.
If you ever misplace your device, that’s you’ve lost it or you think it may have been stolen, you put it into Lost Mode immediately using Find My iPhone.
Lost Mode locks your screen with a four-digit passcode. It lets you display a custom message with your phone number to help you get it back. You can remotely erase your device if needed, but your custom message will continue to display even after the device is erased.
While Activation Lock works in the background to make it more difficult for someone to use or sell your missing device, Lost Mode indicates to anyone who finds your device that it still belongs to you and can’t be reactivated without your password.
To put a device into Lost Mode, sign in to icloud.com/find from a Mac or PC or use the Find My iPhone iOS app.
When purchasing an used iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from someone other than Apple or an authorized Apple reseller, you should check for Activation Lock before purchasing. In this case it is up to you to ensure that the device has been erased and is no longer linked to the previous owner’s account.
To make sure that you can use the device you purchase: Turn the device on and slide to unlock. If the passcode lock screen or the home screen appears, the device has not been erased. Ask the seller to completely erase the device by going to Settings – General – Reset – Erase All Content and Settings. Do not take ownership of any used iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch until it has been erased!
Remember that Activation Lock works only with iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch devices running iOS 7. Find My Mac doesn’t include Activation Lock.
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