What Is the iPad's Lost Mode?

Find or secure your missing iPad

The iPad is an extremely secure device. Not only is it impervious to traditional viruses, but you can even secure it with a passcode, a fingerprint, or your own face. But what if you lose your iPad?

You can find your missing tablet using the free Find My iPad app, and one cool feature of it is Lost Mode, which locks down your device and can even display a custom message with your phone number so you can be contacted to return the device. Here's how to use it.

These instructions apply to devices running iOS 9 and later.

iPad lost mode
 Screenshot of iPad

How to Turn on Lost Mode on Your iPad

To use Lost Mode, you'll need to have Find My iPad turned on. This feature allows you to track your iPad's location and turn on Lost Mode no matter where it's located. Here's how to do that.

  1. Open your iPad's Settings.

    The iPad Settings app
  2. Tap your name at the top of the screen.

    Apple ID in Settings on an iPad
  3. Select iCloud.

    iCloud in iPad settings
  4. Tap Find My iPad.

    Find My iPad in iPad Settings
  5. Tap the slider switch to on/green.

    Turn on Find My iPad in iPad Settings
  6. Now you can use Lost Mode if you misplace your device.

How to Locate Your Lost iPad and Turn on Lost Mode

Before you use Lost Mode, you want to find out where your iPad is. Follow these steps to use Find My iPad and turn on Lost Mode.

The Find My iPad features can only work if the iPad is online via a cellular connection or a Wi-Fi network. However, even if it isn't, any commands you give it will activate once it connects to the internet.

  1. On any PC, tablet, or smartphone, go to www.icloud.com in a web browser and sign in with your Apple ID and password.

    On an iPhone or another iPad, you can skip the web browser and launch the Find My iPad app. (The quickest way to open this app is through Spotlight Search.)

  2. On the web, click Find iPhone.

    If you're finding your iPad with another iOS device, its location will appear as soon as you sign in.

    Find iPhone on iCloud online
  3. If you're using a web browser, click All Devices at the top of the screen.

    All Devices in iCloud Find My iPhone
  4. Click or tap the name of your iPad to show its location and a menu with options.

    iCloud Find My iPhone selected iPad settings
  5. If the program can't find your iPad or it appears somewhere outside of your house, you may want to activate Lost Mode to secure the device until you can reclaim it. Tap Lost Mode to turn it on.

    Your iPad will lock and show a message with your phone number.

    Lost iPad lock screen
  6. Lost Mode will both lock the device with a passcode and disable Apple Pay, which will secure it (and your money). If you have saved more sensitive data on the device and back up your iPad regularly, erasing the iPad might be the best choice. You can do this by tapping the Erase iPad button in the Find My iPad app or website.

What to Do If Find My iPad Is Off

If you've lost your iPad and don't have the Find My iPad feature turned on, you won't be able to use Lost Mode. You may want to change the password for your Apple ID to prevent any unwanted purchases, especially if you don't have your iPad locked with a passcode.

If you think someone stole your iPad, you should report it to the police. It would be useful for you to have your iPad's serial number at this point. If you have registered your device with Apple, you can get help finding your serial number on Apple's Support page. Otherwise, you can find this information on the iPad's box.

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