Use MDM to manage Activation Lock and Lost Mode

Learn how to manage Find My iPhone Activation Lock and Lost Mode on supervised devices with Mobile Device Management (MDM).

This article is intended for system administrators at businesses and educational institutions.

Activation Lock is a feature of Find My iPhone. It's designed to keep information safe and prevent reactivation of lost or stolen devices. Lost Mode is used to lock a missing device, display a message on its screen, and find its location.

Learn how to use MDM tools to manage Activation Lock and Lost Mode on supervised devices.

Activation Lock on supervised devices

You can use a compatible MDM solution to enable Activation Lock during setup or when the user turns on Find My iPhone. Then you can clear Activation Lock to erase the device and deploy it to a new user. Learn how to manage Activation Lock with Profile Manager. Or refer to your MDM solution documentation for details.

Lost Mode and Managed Lost Mode

If Find My iPhone is turned on, the user can activate Lost Mode when they sign in to iCloud. They can use Lost Mode to lock a missing device and track its location. 

With iOS 9.3 or later, you can use MDM to put a supervised device into Managed Lost Mode. Managed Lost Mode is a dedicated mode that you must disable before anyone can use the device again. You can send messages to the device while the device is in Managed Lost Mode. But only the MDM server can access device location information when the device is in Managed Lost Mode. The user can’t unlock the device until you turn off Managed Lost Mode. The user is notified if anyone accessed location information during that time.

Refer to your MDM solution documentation for additional details.

Activation Lock on unsupervised devices

MDM can't control Activation Lock on unsupervised devices. On an unsupervised device, Activation Lock is enabled when the user signs in to iCloud and turns on Find My iPhone.

If you deploy unsupervised devices, the previous user must turn off Find My iPhone before you deploy the device to a new user. Follow these steps:

  • If the user has access to the iOS device, they can turn it off in Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone.
  • If the user doesn't have access to the iOS device, they can sign in to iCloud.com or the Find My iPhone app on another iOS device. Then erase the device and remove it from the device list.
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