Can you locate a stolen iPad that’s probably been factory reset?

Several years ago, I was in an unfortunate situation. I was homeless, and what was getting me through it, was in large part being able to play my guitar through my iPad Air. However, one night while it was charging, someone stole it. It was dark outside, I was not paying close enough attention. I did have an iPhone 4, with find my iPhone/iPad app, but I was never able to locate it. I’ve long since given up, but I’m still wondering what, if anything I could have done to locate it?

Comments

  • edited May 11

    Sorry you were homeless, my friend, I know things are better now, but so amazing you had an iPad and an iPhone on the street... what a world we live in.... you know, the same thing could happen to me... only I would have a Pro2!

  • @LinearLineman said:
    Sorry you were homeless, my friend, I know things are better now, but so amazing you had an iPad and an iPhone on the street... what a world we live in.... you know, the same thing could happen to me... only I would have a Pro2!

    Thank you for the reply, truth be told, most of the hardships I’ve faced have been my own doing and creation. We never really know what tomorrow may bring, but we make the best decisions we can today, to prevent undo pain tomorrow.

  • If a device is stolen, the period immediately following is most critical and it's better to find out about the stolen device as soon as possible, so you can try to locate it and take measures to lock it and protect it. You can even remote erase it, if you have given up hope of ever retrieving the device, but at least you would be able to take measures to protect your data and your account. This needs to be done early though, not days afterwards.

    You'd want to put your missing device into lost mode as soon as you notice that your device is missing or stolen. Even if the device is offline, if you put it into lost mode early enough, you will be alerted the next time the device comes online.

    If a device has been factory reset, then no, there's probably not much that can be done about it at that point.

    It's also probably a good idea to use two factor authentication for your Apple ID, and use highly secure passwords (not passwords like John1984). Also change your password from time to time. Don't use the same password for years.

  • @CrazySynthMan said:
    If a device is stolen, the period immediately following is most critical and it's better to find out about the stolen device as soon as possible, so you can try to locate it and take measures to lock it and protect it. You can even remote erase it, if you have given up hope of ever retrieving the device, but at least you would be able to take measures to protect your data and your account. This needs to be done early though, not days afterwards.

    You'd want to put your missing device into lost mode as soon as you notice that your device is missing or stolen. Even if the device is offline, if you put it into lost mode early enough, you will be alerted the next time the device comes online.

    If a device has been factory reset, then no, there's probably not much that can be done about it at that point.

    It's also probably a good idea to use two factor authentication for your Apple ID, and use highly secure passwords (not passwords like John1984). Also change your password from time to time. Don't use the same password for years.

    Thank you very much for your reply, I had tried the find my iPhone/iPad app immediately, and several times thereafter, but no luck. I do use two factor ID now, and am not in a place where I have much to worry about stuff getting stolen. But I’ve always been curious about what more I could have done to recover it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the serial number to give to the police. I always thought it was strange that it just never showed up on find my iPhone, because I tried repeatedly ever day from my iPhone 4 at the time, and I’ve long since given up on a recovery.

  • No problem.

    Regarding the serial number:

    When you log into your Apple account management using your Apple ID, you will see a list of all the devices that you own, and when you click on one of the devices, information about the device will show up, including the serial number.

  • @CrazySynthMan said:
    No problem.

    Regarding the serial number:

    When you log into your Apple account management using your Apple ID, you will see a list of all the devices that you own, and when you click on one of the devices, information about the device will show up, including the serial number.

    Awesome, I didn’t even know that, thank you for that information, maybe I can do some digging & see what comes up.

  • Apple’s advise on stolen devices:

    https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201472

  • @klownshed said:
    Apple’s advise on stolen devices:

    https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201472

    Thank you very much, I’ll follow that as far as it will take me.

  • For your iPad to be found it need to connect to a wifi (unless you have cellular version). Unsecured wifi are getting very rare. The chance of wifi connection is fairly low.

  • @ecou said:
    For your iPad to be found it need to connect to a wifi (unless you have cellular version). Unsecured wifi are getting very rare. The chance of wifi connection is fairly low.

    Thank you for your reply!
    It actually did have a cellular connection, but I’ve never been able to locate the device, even after multiple attempts.

  • It's also probably a good idea to use two factor authentication for your Apple ID, and use highly secure passwords (not passwords like John1984). Also change your password from time to time. Don't use the same password for years.

    If you are using a secure (random, reasonably long) password and you don't have any reason to believe your password is compromised there's no real reason to change it.
    If your password has been leaked in one of the big data breaches consider it compromised.
    One reason bad passwords get used is because providers needlessly bug users to change passwords, and sooner or later they get sick of generating and retrieving strong ones, and switch to an easy to remember weak password. This particularly true when they make you play the 'guess what a valid password format' is.

  • @pauly said:

    It's also probably a good idea to use two factor authentication for your Apple ID, and use highly secure passwords (not passwords like John1984). Also change your password from time to time. Don't use the same password for years.

    If you are using a secure (random, reasonably long) password and you don't have any reason to believe your password is compromised there's no real reason to change it.
    If your password has been leaked in one of the big data breaches consider it compromised.
    One reason bad passwords get used is because providers needlessly bug users to change passwords, and sooner or later they get sick of generating and retrieving strong ones, and switch to an easy to remember weak password. This particularly true when they make you play the 'guess what a valid password format' is.

    At the end of the day, it's the users own responsibility to choose and decide what sort of password they decide to use.

    If somebody chooses to use dumb or weak passwords, then the reasons or excuses for doing so won't mean much should anything ever happen, because the only person to blame for the weak password would be the user who chose it to begin with.

    I'm not too worried about anybody getting into any of my accounts, because I'll be using something that might look something like this:

    $w0EUnq9dVnT0vjlWZfN$6#$vkEv

  • I am unsure about how it was several years ago, but my current understanding is that when you have find my iphone turned on and a factory reset is done the old account AppleID has to be added during set-up. The only way to get around this is to remove the device from your iCloud account.

    I run into this alot as an IT person in Education.

    I have also read that thousands of donated iOS devices are unusable because users forget to turn off find my iphone before donating and during set up of a wiped device, you get a prompt like add the password for AppleID m******@******g

    However, as the loss was a few years ago there is a chance that it was on an older OS. I also imagine there are ways for thieves to get around these locks, and that the SIM card was probably removed pretty quickly to prevent cellular tracking.

    If you never removed the device from your account then it should still be registered. Your AppleID and iCloud have different details on the device.

    Go to iCloud online and login. Then go to find my iphone and select all devices. Although it most likely won’t find the device, it should still be listed and maybe you can find out some info from there as well.

    Good luck in your sleuthing and hope you are in a better place.

  • @DYMS said:
    I am unsure about how it was several years ago, but my current understanding is that when you have find my iphone turned on and a factory reset is done the old account AppleID has to be added during set-up. The only way to get around this is to remove the device from your iCloud account.

    I run into this alot as an IT person in Education.

    I have also read that thousands of donated iOS devices are unusable because users forget to turn off find my iphone before donating and during set up of a wiped device, you get a prompt like add the password for AppleID m******@******g

    However, as the loss was a few years ago there is a chance that it was on an older OS. I also imagine there are ways for thieves to get around these locks, and that the SIM card was probably removed pretty quickly to prevent cellular tracking.

    If you never removed the device from your account then it should still be registered. Your AppleID and iCloud have different details on the device.

    Go to iCloud online and login. Then go to find my iphone and select all devices. Although it most likely won’t find the device, it should still be listed and maybe you can find out some info from there as well.

    Good luck in your sleuthing and hope you are in a better place.

    Thank you very much for your reply, indeed, my stolen iPad still shows up on my find my iPhone account, and I had the FMIP installed and registered on the device. I’m not seriously thinking that I’m ever getting it back, however I still go onto FMIP app from time to time, just to see if it happens to show up.

  • edited May 12

    @Ripper7620 said:
    Several years ago, I was in an unfortunate situation. I was homeless, and what was getting me through it, was in large part being able to play my guitar through my iPad Air. However, one night while it was charging, someone stole it. It was dark outside, I was not paying close enough attention. I did have an iPhone 4, with find my iPhone/iPad app, but I was never able to locate it. I’ve long since given up, but I’m still wondering what, if anything I could have done to locate it?

    To everyone that owns an iOS device - LOCK your device immediately after purchase with a master password so it cannot be tampered by a finder.

    In older iOS, these are found under Settings > General > Restrictions

    Under iOS 12:

    Settings > Screen Time > Turn ON
    Setup a password (Do NOT forget this Master Password)

    Under Screen Time:

    Content & Privacy Restrictions > ON
    Location Services > Don't Allow
    Account Changes > Don't Allow

    These settings will disable the Passwords & Accounts and Locations services and any changes to them (until Content & Privacy Restrictions are disabled using the master password) so the finder cannot change these and you will be able to locate it in Find My iPhone app. You can also Remote Wipe it from the app, if necessary.

    Usually, when you take your device into Apple Store, they may ask you to unlock it. Remember to lock it back and set the Account Changes and Location Services to not allow and turn Content & Privacy Restrictions ON with the master password after they are done.

    More here - https://www.macobserver.com/tips/quick-tip/enable-ios-restrictions/

  • @MobileMusic said:

    @Ripper7620 said:
    Several years ago, I was in an unfortunate situation. I was homeless, and what was getting me through it, was in large part being able to play my guitar through my iPad Air. However, one night while it was charging, someone stole it. It was dark outside, I was not paying close enough attention. I did have an iPhone 4, with find my iPhone/iPad app, but I was never able to locate it. I’ve long since given up, but I’m still wondering what, if anything I could have done to locate it?

    To everyone that owns an iOS device - LOCK your device immediately after purchase with a master password so it cannot be tampered by a finder.

    In older iOS, these are found under Settings > General > Restrictions

    Under iOS 12:

    Settings > Screen Time > Turn ON
    Setup a password (DO NOT FORGET THIS MASTER PASSWORD)

    Under Screen Time:

    Content & Privacy Restrictions > ON
    Location Services > Don't Allow
    Account Changes > Don't Allow

    These settings will disable the Passwords & Accounts and Locations services and any changes to them (until Content & Privacy Restrictions are disabled using the master password) so the finder cannot change these and you will be able to locate it in Find My iPhone app. You can also Remote Wipe from the app it if necessary.

    Usually, when you take your device into Apple Store, they may ask you to unlock it. Remember to lock it back and set the Account Changes and Location Services to not allow and turn Content & Privacy Restrictions ON with the master password after they are done.

    More here - https://www.macobserver.com/tips/quick-tip/enable-ios-restrictions/

    Great advice, thank you.

  • @Ripper7620 said:
    Several years ago, I was in an unfortunate situation. I was homeless, and what was getting me through it, was in large part being able to play my guitar through my iPad Air. However, one night while it was charging, someone stole it. It was dark outside, I was not paying close enough attention. I did have an iPhone 4, with find my iPhone/iPad app, but I was never able to locate it. I’ve long since given up, but I’m still wondering what, if anything I could have done to locate it?

    Hope you’ve found much better circumstances now. I can definitely relate to the situation, I moved to Seattle/Everett in 2008, following a love interest and ended up getting in way over my head with the expense of living there, compounded by the economic crisis at the time. My music and devices definitely helped get me through the few months I was homeless there, staying a shelter. I can imagine how infuriating & crushing it’d have been to lose that.

  • @ZenEagle said:

    @Ripper7620 said:
    Several years ago, I was in an unfortunate situation. I was homeless, and what was getting me through it, was in large part being able to play my guitar through my iPad Air. However, one night while it was charging, someone stole it. It was dark outside, I was not paying close enough attention. I did have an iPhone 4, with find my iPhone/iPad app, but I was never able to locate it. I’ve long since given up, but I’m still wondering what, if anything I could have done to locate it?

    Hope you’ve found much better circumstances now. I can definitely relate to the situation, I moved to Seattle/Everett in 2008, following a love interest and ended up getting in way over my head with the expense of living there, compounded by the economic crisis at the time. My music and devices definitely helped get me through the few months I was homeless there, staying a shelter. I can imagine how infuriating & crushing it’d have been to lose that.

    Thank you very much for your reply, my particular situation was of my own doing, making several bad decisions in a row. Thank you for asking about my current situation, although I’m on disability, I was making $20/hour working as a cook in Las Vegas hotels, so my income is decent, and I cannot complain about anything ATM. It’s very rough when you lose everything, and to try to get out of a situation like that, but I’ve been very blessed, and things like making music is going well. I was able to build a very powerful pc with my back pay, get a nice keyboard, and a Maschine MK3, so I’ve got it pretty awesome.

  • @Ripper7620 said:

    @ZenEagle said:

    @Ripper7620 said:
    Several years ago, I was in an unfortunate situation. I was homeless, and what was getting me through it, was in large part being able to play my guitar through my iPad Air. However, one night while it was charging, someone stole it. It was dark outside, I was not paying close enough attention. I did have an iPhone 4, with find my iPhone/iPad app, but I was never able to locate it. I’ve long since given up, but I’m still wondering what, if anything I could have done to locate it?

    Hope you’ve found much better circumstances now. I can definitely relate to the situation, I moved to Seattle/Everett in 2008, following a love interest and ended up getting in way over my head with the expense of living there, compounded by the economic crisis at the time. My music and devices definitely helped get me through the few months I was homeless there, staying a shelter. I can imagine how infuriating & crushing it’d have been to lose that.

    Thank you very much for your reply, my particular situation was of my own doing, making several bad decisions in a row. Thank you for asking about my current situation, although I’m on disability, I was making $20/hour working as a cook in Las Vegas hotels, so my income is decent, and I cannot complain about anything ATM. It’s very rough when you lose everything, and to try to get out of a situation like that, but I’ve been very blessed, and things like making music is going well. I was able to build a very powerful pc with my back pay, get a nice keyboard, and a Maschine MK3, so I’ve got it pretty awesome.

    I feel ya man, life can be so unpredictable , sometimes hard to avoid those landmines. Sort of like a domino effect, wiped out before you know what hit you. Making it through the storms really does help you to appreciate what we have when it’s not pouring.

    Glad to hear you’re back on your feet though .. and sweet rig btw! I recently picked up the MK3 myself, Amazing platform, loving it so far, though I’ve still a lot to learn before I get over the hill with it... .keep getting distracted by new apps/plugins ;)

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