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How To Make It Harder to Disable Find My iPhone


Find My iPhone is a handy and now free utility from Apple that allows the location of your iPhone to be tracked if you lose it or have it stolen. There are numerous accounts of people who have been parted from their iPhones and happily reunited thanks to Find My iPhone – including a particularly dramatic one this month that has been dubbed a ‘Christmas Miracle’.

One major weakness with Find My iPhone is that if your phone is stolen and the thief is at all iPhone-savvy, it is very easy to turn off Location Services, which immediately renders Find My iPhone useless / deactivated.

The guys over at Mac OS X Hints have a handy tip on how to make it considerably harder for an iPhone burglar to turn off Location Services and get Find My iPhone off their tail. I thought it would be well worthwhile to share this tip here …

The way to make life harder for a thief trying to disable Location Services is to use Restrictions and a passcode, like so:

  • Open Settings and go to ‘General.’
  • Scroll down and tap on ‘Restrictions.’
  • Turn on restrictions and enter a four digit passcode and repeat to turn on.
  • Under ‘Allow Changes:’ turn both of the switches Location and Accounts to Off.

Once you’ve done this, Location Services cannot be turned off without entering your passcode. It’s only a four-digit passcode, so of course it is far from impossible to crack – but in the vast majority of cases it may well cause enough delay to heavily increase the chances of recovering your iPhone.

Thanks to the team at Mac OS Hints for the tip.

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  • Hondamaker

    Very cool. Just tried it. Thanks!

  • maximus808

    Can the thief turn off the phone to disable this though? I guess he has to turn on the phone at least once right? This is a good trick. Thanks.

  • jhanlon

    Great tip.

  • noob

    I don't see an "Accounts" tab that I can turn on and off. Just the "Location" tab. Am I missing something?

    • patrickj…

      Should be there. Maybe you don't have any email accounts setup?

  • daniel

    Is there a way to use the iPhone Configuration Utility to block out changing this setting?

    • patrickj…

      I would certainly expect so, but I'm not sure, haven't delved into the details of the configuration utility.

  • Rod

    I don't have a an 'accounts' option and I have Yahoo, gmail, and exchange emails setup on the phone.

  • Terri

    Is it possible to block the location by putting the phone inside something like a metal box that would block the signal to locate it?