How to Find the Owner of a Lost and Stolen iPhone or iPad

Suppose you find someone’s lost iPhone somewhere and you want to return the device as soon as possible. How will you do that? Will it be easy to find the right owner of the lost iPhone? Generally, most iPhone owners use passcode on their device to protect their data and privacy. Nevertheless, here are some tricks that can help you find the original owner of the lost iPhone.

How to Find the Owner of a Lost iPhone or iPad

If the iPhone or iPad has No Passcode

If you find an iPhone or iPad with no passcode enabled, then you can check into their Contact app. Usually, on the top of the list is ‘My Card’ that has the number, email, and other details of the owner like Spouse, Mother, Father, etc. You can call one of them. Alternatively, you may also take a look at the Contact list and see if you can connect with ‘Wife,’ ‘Brother,’ ‘Dad,’ etc.

You may also check the call list and try to contact the most recent incoming or outgoing number. Alternatively, you may go to the lost iPhone’s message inbox and find out the person who s/he regularly chats.

Though these steps are an intrusion to privacy, for the greater good of contacting and returning the iPhone, we will have to take these actions. Overall tracking the owner of an unlocked phone is easy. But what about contacting the owner if the device is locked with a password?

If the iPhone or iPad has Passcode Enabled

If the iPhone has passcode enabled, then it will be a bit tough to find the original owner, though some options are still open.

Check Medical ID

If the iPhone has a Medical ID set up, you can access it from the lock screen. Medical ID will have emergency contact number which you can call and return the misplaced iPhone.

Check Medical ID to Find the Owner of Lost iPhone or iPad

Ask Siri to know the Lost iPhone’s Owner Details

If above method did not work, launch Siri on the iPhone by holding the home button or right-side button. Now ask Siri ‘Show my Contact Card‘. It will show the name of the person and, in most cases, other details like email, etc.

You may also ask Siri ‘Call last dialed number‘, ‘Call last received number.’ Once you connect to the person, you may inquire if they are a family member, friend, co-worker and explain the situation.

Alternatively, you can ask Siri to “Call Mom, Dad, or Home.” And if contact is saved by these names or relation is set in My Card, Siri can help by making the call to a related member.

Ask Siri to know the Lost iPhone Owner Details

Note: : Siri needs internet to work. If mobile data is switched off on the lost iPhone’s, you can turn it on by asking Siri ‘ Turn on Mobile Data,’ or use the Control Centre. To open Control Centre:

  • On iPhone X and later: Swipe down from top right corner
  • On iPhone 8 and earlier: Swipe up from bottom of the screen
  • Now tap on the icon that looks like a mobile tower to switch on mobile data

Keep the lost iPhone ON and Answer Incoming Calls

If you are still not able to get the original owner of the iPhone/iPad, then keep the device “ON” so that the owner can call. Even his relatives or friends may call on the number, and you can inform them that you have his/her lost device and they should collect it from you. It may sound odd to answer a phone that isn’t yours, but we are doing this with the best and harmless intentions.

Wait for the Find My iPhone Lock Screen Message

iPhone owners are smart. Hopefully! The moment a person loses their phone, they will use Find My app or iCloud to lock the device, erase it, or/and display a lock screen message on the lost iPhone. This message can be their name, address, or/and a number they want you to call, to establish a connection. Wait for this message and hope for the best.

Insert SIM card of Lost iPhone in Some Other Phone

If you could not find the owner’s number and the person has no generic contacts like Dad, Mom, Brother, Wife, Boss, etc. you can give one last shot. Take out the SIM Card from the lost iPhone and put it in a spare phone of yours. If there are a few contacts saved in the SIM card’s memory, you may call them and explain the situation.

Connect the Lost iPhone to PC or Mac to know the Name

Suppose you find a device in a café or local restaurant. It will be helpful if you know the name of the person to whom this iPhone belongs. If you could not see the name via Siri, connect the iPhone to a computer. Open iTunes on PC or Finder on Mac, and you will be able to see the iPhone’s name. Most people have their name set like ‘Arshmeet’s iPhone.’ Now you may put a sign or spread the message with person’s name.

Connect Lost iPhone to PC or Mac to know the Owner of Lost iPhone

Contact the iPhone’s Carrier

On iPhone 8 and earlier, Carrier’s name appears in the top left of the screen. On iPhone X and later, swipe down from top right to open Control Centre. On this screen in top left, you can see the Carrier name. Though the Carrier Store may not give the owner’s detail or be of much help, you may give a green signal to this method.

iPhone (and most phones) have a unique number called an IMEI imprinted inside the SIM tray (or somewhere). The Carrier can use the IMEI information and track the owner and contact him.

Contact Police

Lastly, if nothing works, contacting the local police is the best and the perfect option. There are no finder’s keepers for phones. You must inform the police and hand over the device to them in case you cannot find the owner in a short duration. Why? Read the next heading!

A Word of Caution Regarding Lost iPhone

The moment you pick up an iPhone irrespective of whether it is locked or unlocked, switched ON or OFF, there can be potential action against you. A person who loses his phone most likely will inform the police from their end and also their carrier to report it lost or stolen. Once it happens, that iPhone cannot be activated on most networks.

If you pick up a lost iPhone even with the best intentions, your action may be considered as theft if the owner tracks you using law enforcement or Find My iPhone. Whether you turned ON the iPhone or not or your good intentions, etc. will become secondary. The authorities may treat you as a person with a stolen iPhone in possession. So, when you come across a misplaced phone, keep this in mind. Your best intention may go against you!

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The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.