Losing your iPhone can be a traumatic experience, especially if you are not taking the proper security precautions to keep your data from prying eyes. As someone who typically does not use a passcode, that would allow anyone who found my iPhone to access all sorts of information. As someone who makes regular use of Passbook to feed his obsession with Starbucks, losing my iPhone would also have severe financial implications or would it? At a bare minimum, I’d encourage readers to set up and use Apple’s free and very excellent Find My iPhone service. If you should lose or temporarily misplace your iPhone, you have a number of options. Here’s how to lock iPhone using Find My iPhone. It may be called Find My iPhone, but it also works for finding your iPad, Macs or iPod touch.

Find My iPhone devices

Sign in to Find My iPhone

The first thing you’ll need to do is access the Find My iPhone service and login using your Apple ID username and password. These are the same credentials you use for iCloud. You can login from any iOS device or by visiting iCloud.com.

1. When you login, you’ll see a list of your iOS devices and Macs.
2. Tap on the device that you would like to lock.
3. At the bottom, select Actions and tap on ‘Lost Mode’.
4. You will be prompted to ‘Lock your iPhone by entering a passcode.’
5. Enter a unique four digit password.

Lost Mode iPhone

Find My iPhone will attempt to lock your device using the provided passcode. If you see a green dot next to your device or computer, it means that Apple can see and access to the device.

Turn on lost mode

On a recent vacation, I managed to leave an iPad outside of the hotel in a sitting area, while chasing my 17-month old. A few hours later I realized that I had left my iPad sitting on an end table. I was able to locate the iPad using the service. I was away from the hotel, so dispatched a family member to pick it up. To be on the safe side, I used Lost Mode to remotely lock the device. Once you retrieve your device, you can enter the passcode to access your device.

If your iPhone or iPad does fall into the wrong hands, a passcode lock will prevent them from accessing your data. It does not mean your iOS device is completely useless to them. They can use recovery mode to reset the iPhone to it’s default factory state.

While I don’t practice what I preach, the best way to keep your data secure is to use a passcode. Going forward, I’m going to start  using a passcode whenever I travel. When it comes to security, at a minimum, iOS and Mac users should take advantage of Apple’s Find My iPhone service. It’s free and provides you with great tools for finding a lost device. Using the remote lock feature, Find My iPhone can help you protect your data, which if exposed could be more costly than losing the iPhone itself.