What Is the iPad's Lost Mode?

What to Do If You've Lost Your iPad

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Have you lost your iPad? Don't pull your hair out! There's a few things to do to find it and protect yourself. Getty Images / Jessica Peterson

The iPad is an extremely secure device. Not only is it impervious to viruses and resistant to most forms of malware, it also has powerful features to protect your device in the event it is lost or stolen. The iPad's Lost Mode is a great way to both lock down your device and even display a custom message with your phone number so that it can be returned.

Lost Mode allows you to lock the device with a passcode.

This means anyone attempting to use the device will be asked to put in a 4 digit code before the iPad can be used. It will also disable all text messages, phone calls, notifications, alerts, alarms, events or any other personal message. Lost Mode also disables Apple Pay for newer devices like the iPad Air 2. In essence, the only thing the iPad will be good for when Lost Mode is enabled is displaying the custom message you choose to put on the screen.

In order to use Lost Mode, you will need to have Find My iPad turned on. This feature allows you to track your iPad's location and turn on the Lost Mode no matter where your iPad is located. You can turn on Find My iPad in the iPad's iCloud Settings. Find out how to turn on Find My iPad.

Before you turn on Lost Mode, you want to find out where your iPad is located. After all, there's no need to turn it on if your iPad is simply hiding behind a pillow or under a bed.

In order to check your iPad's location, go to www.icloud.com in a web browser on any PC, tablet or smartphone. After signing into iCloud, click on the Find My iPhone. Alternatively, you can use the Find My iPad or Find My iPhone app on another iOS device.

By default, a map with all of your devices will be displayed.

If you have multiple devices such as an iPhone or another iPad, click on All Devices at the top of the screen and choose the lost iPad from the list.

In addition to turning on Lost Mode, you can also play a sound on your iPad. This is a great way to locate your iPad if it is simply lost somewhere near your current location. When you have your device selected, a window appears in the upper-right corner of the screen. Simply tap the Play Sound button to play a sound on your iPad.

If your iPad isn't at your current location, you can turn on Lost Mode by clicking the Lost Mode button. This will lock the iPad with a passcode and display a message on the screen.

Should you erase the data on the iPad? If you don't recognize the location, your iPad may be stolen. However, Lost Mode will both lock it with a passcode and disable Apple Pay, which does a good job of protecting the device. If you have saved more sensitive data on the device and backup your iPad on a regular basis, erasing the iPad might be the best choice.

Note: The Find My iPad features can only work if the iPad is connected to the Internet, whether by a 4G data connection or by connecting to a Wi-Fi network. However, even if it isn't connected, any commands you give it will be enabled immediately after it connects to the Internet. For example, if your iPad is stolen and the thief tries to use it to browse the web, your Lost Mode or Erase iPad will carry out as soon as the iPad connects to the Internet.

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But I Don't Have Find My iPad Turned On!  If you have lost your iPad and don't have the Find My iPad Feature turned on, you will want to change the password for your Apple ID.  If you think the iPad was stolen, you should report it to the police.  If you have registered your device with Apple, you can find your serial number at supportprofile.apple.com, otherwise, you can find this information on the iPad's box.