Can I erase my iPhone remotely when my mobile provider has suspeneded the service to it?

Anonymous April 20, 2014
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I lost my iPhone, so I went on the computer and tracked it through iCloud. At first it was offline (battery was dead, calls went straight to voicemail), but I set up alerts and the lock mode so I got an email as soon as it came online. It was at a residential address so I knew someone took it, so I called AT&T and had them suspend my service after trying to call them to get my phone back.

I’m now thinking I don’t want whoever took it to have access to all my information on my phone. Does the lock screen still work with the service suspended? I tried unsuspending so I could wipe the phone, but they have to restart the phone in order for it to work again, so it is currently offline find my iPhone and service is active.

  1. Kelly W
    April 29, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    If you used the Find my iPhone lock screen functionality:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5818

    Then you're good. They shouldn't be able to get past the lock screen to wipe the phone even. As Jan mentioned, you won't be able to send more commands to the phone, since they can't unlock it to wipe it and setup service. I think you turned your stolen phone into an excellent brick for the thief :)

  2. Jan F
    April 20, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Since you received a email notification I assume the iCloud commands went through to the phone. This means the device is now locked and they won't be able to retrieve any data from it (assuming you didn't jailbreak the device).

    If it was running iOS7 they are basically locked out all together. Since iOS7 you cannot restore a phone without knowing the password for the Apple ID (used for Find my iPhone).

    I'm afraid you won't be able to send any more commands to the phone. With the service suspended and the device locked there is no mobile data connection and no way to connect to a WiFi.

    Worst-good case they did manage to reset the iPhone which means all your data is erased but also it is no longer connected to your Apple ID.

  3. Oron J
    April 20, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Once your mobile provider has suspended the service, you have no way to reach your phone and send it instructions. Perhaps you could contact AT&T and ask them to enable the service temporarily to allow you to erase the data.

    Out of curiousity, if you know where the phone is, why don't you call the police and ask them to retrieve it for you?

    • Cathy
      April 20, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      I live in las vegas and ive pretty much given up on the police helping me out. Ive been a victim of two hit and runs (one where i was still chasing the car as i was on the phone with 911) and have been told "they cant do anything". My friend has also had identity theft with paper trail evidence and they advised her to hire a private investigator.
      Thanks for the replies, i just wanted peace of mind. Was going to get a new phone anyways