Find My iPhone Lost Mode: How Does it Work & What Does it Do?

In this day and age, we keep a lot of personal information on our iPhones. Losing your phone can be incredibly stressful, which is where Find My iPhone Lost Mode can help. But what does Lost Mode do on iPhone? Lost Mode is a feature of the Find My app, which combines Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into a single app. When an iPhone is in Lost Mode, it will be locked and will display a custom message. At the same time, it will turn on tracking so that you can see the location of the device, even if your location services were originally disabled.

What Does Lost Mode Do on iPhone?

The main functions of Lost Mode are to protect the data on your phone from being accessed, and to assist you in locating the lost device. Lost Mode allows you to write a custom message that will appear on the screen. This can be used to communicate that the phone is lost, provide information on how to contact you, and even offer a reward if the phone is returned. It also automatically puts your device on Low Power Mode to help preserve battery while you search. However, Lost Mode only works if the feature has been turned on via iCloud, and the device must be on and have an internet connection. You can turn on Lost Mode from any device, including someone else’s iPhone.

Another important Lost Mode feature is that it disables Apple Pay so that no one can use your phone to make any purchases. This means that any credit or debit cards set up for Apple Pay will be removed from the device. Other cards such as student identification and Express Transit cards will also be removed so that they cannot be accessed. While the credit, debit, and student ID cards can be removed from the device even if it is offline, Express Transit cards can only be removed once the phone is online again.

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Does an iPhone on Lost Mode Receive Notifications?

When your iPhone is in Lost Mode, it can still receive phone calls and FaceTime calls. However, it will not display alerts, notifications or even alarms. This means that, while you or a friend can still call the phone and speak with whomever may have found it, the person in possession of your phone will not be able to see any of your private notifications. They will only be able to receive incoming calls, but cannot make any outgoing calls. This protects sensitive information on the iPhone while making it easier to return.

Access your lost iPhone's status by signing into the iCloud

Track Your iPhone’s Location & Connectivity

An iPhone on Lost Mode can be tracked via iCloud. Not only can you see the real-time location, you can also tell if it's online. When a device is marked as lost, status notes will appear below the Mark As Lost section. This will either say pending or activated. ‘Pending’ means that the device isn’t connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network. The moment the device goes online, Lost Mode will officially turn on and the status note will change to ‘Activated’.

Losing a phone can be a difficult ordeal. If you've already lost your iPhone, you can learn how to track a dead iPhone, or an iPhone that is turned off or in another location. 

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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life. In the last 10 years, she has been published in dozens of publications internationally and won an excellence award. Since joining iPhone Life in 2020, she has written how-to articles as well as complex guides about Apple products, software, and apps. Olena grew up using Macs and exploring all the latest tech. Her Maui home is the epitome of an Apple ecosystem, full of compatible smart gear to boot. Olena’s favorite device is the Apple Watch Ultra because it can survive all her adventures and travels, and even her furbabies.