Guide to Recover Lost or Stolen iPhone 4S/4/3GS

By Sidharth | Apple

I was searching for a way to find lost iPhone on forums only to know that not many have a solution. Of course there are numerous stories of how people lost their iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, iPhone 4S, but none of them have any solution. There were many questions posted by the users, most of them were cringing over their lost, stolen iPhone.

No useful answers popped out from the community on how to really recover a lost iPhone. And so, the journey to find out ways to recover an iPhone begun.

Here is a simple guide which I have compiled for recovering your Apple iPhone device. I have done quite a bit of research over the week, and I hope the outcome of this post will help you to retrieve your Apple iPhone. You can also check out cell phone tracking ways to find any cell phone like iPhone with the use of GPS location tracking system.

Also, no matter if it is iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, recovering your stolen, lost iPhone follows the same procedure. For Nokia users, you can check out this guide to recover lost Nokia phone.


Recover Lost/ Stolen iPhone:

Navizon has released a beta version of the Navizon GPS application for Apple iPhone, this features a new option called Locate-by-SMS which allows you to locate your lost iPhone by sending an SMS text message to it.

When an SMS is received that begins with the keyword you specified in the settings, the software will automatically determine the current location and send a reply containing the location of the device. If the location is in USA and a street address has been identified, then the SMS reply will contain full details, otherwise it will just contain a link to a point on Google Maps.

This Navizon application attempts to determine the location three times before a failure SMS Navizon_iphone_recovermessage is sent. Navizon also includes GPS location tracking option that allows users to track their friends and family members.

You can see the Video on how Navizon recovers any lost iPhone.

How to use Navizon to locate your stolen/lost iPhone

You can activate this feature by going to the settings and enable the Locate-By-SMS function. Enter your chosen keyword and your Iphone device is set. When you send a sms to your iPhone with the chosen keyword, Navizon will send back the coordinates of your phone to the senders number.

Download Navizon now

Retrieving your iPhone’s GSM cellular ID location

This program is called FindMe which allows you to get the GSM cellular ID of your iPhone using twitter. Findme application tells you the GSM tower’s cell ID as well as its latitude and longitude with the help of Google Maps.

How Findme should be used to retrieve the GSM cellular ID

First create a new Twitter account for your iPhone (create a new account). Open the Settings panel, and look for the “Protect My Updates” check-box. It’s towards the bottom of the page, just above the Save button. Check this and click Save. With protected updates, only the Twitter users you approve will see the updates for this iPhone-only account (just you? you + spouse? spouse, kids, and “special friends?” Up to you). After creating your phone’s Twitter account, you’re ready to set up your iPhone to tweet in on a regular basis.

You can also use a public Twitter account if you want everyone to be able to track your progress say while you are traveling. Link. You can also use Google Latitude for tracking your lost phone.

How to Protect your Current iPhone

Though everyday lots of iPhone are stolen and lost, you must be keep an eye on your device — it is your responsibility to keep your own iPhone safely until you are damn rich to afford another one! Just be careful!

Another way to protect is by registering to Myfoundcast. Myfoundcast is free and has a patent pending (application for a patent has been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The law imposes a fine on those who use these terms falsely to deceive the public. Details of the patent filed will remain confidential) technology is the internet’s first lost and found service that allows you to create custom wallpaper and embed information into that wallpaper so when somebody finds your iPhone they will know how to return it.

All members are given a unique tracking ID and automatically registered in our lost and found database. You may register the serial number of any iPod or iPhone.

They have a annual free membership now, so register as soon as possible!

About the Author

Hi, I am Sidharth. Full-time blogger. Editor of Blogote. And a self-proclaimed geek!

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(57) comments

Tera May 5, 2011

Most of you are retarded. Don’t just run around assuming none of the applications work. If you prepare your phone properly (just like any preventative care), you’d be able to use programs like, say “iLocalis”.

Programs like this can tell you the last place your phone was BEFORE it was turned off. They also have functions that allows you to text your phone EVEN IF THE SIM CARD HAS BEEN CHANGED allowing you to instantly attain the thief’s phone number. Then, you can make a police report and at least have a phone number of the thief and they can take it from there. Others allow you to play a noise for prolonged periods of time remotely for phones lost around the house.

Having a phone is YOUR responsibility and posting on here whining and complaining that you lost your phone/had it stolen is your OWN fault. You should have kept up with it or at the very least, did your damn homework and prepare your phone for situations like this.

It’s called being PROactive. All I see on these forums are REactions.

Here’s the simple truth:

YOU LOST YOUR PHONE. DEAL WITH IT. Go get another one and protect it the right way now. Kthxbai.

Jamal Nasir Khan April 22, 2011

To all the Kind Souls around,

I just bought an iphone4 and have misplaced it but am sure has not been stolen it must be lying some where but unable to recall it is switched off but have the IMEI no I check the sim number calling it but its always closed and have even asked the monitoring agencies to track they say it can be traced only when it is switched on, meaning that if its lying some where switched off I am deprived of it? please help me I am poor and just because of its fency stuff I have spent a fortune and can not bare its loss. Please help SOS its a distress call to all.


hunger March 21, 2011

lost maah phone.. pml

PUNTO March 15, 2011

Can I still get my phone back? I need help. I just lost my phone and it’s like the person who has it now put it off or change my sim card. I called and the person did not pick and I sent a message but I do not think the person want to give it back. Please help me, I cannot loose this iphone.

    micelular April 10, 2011

    did u find itt?????????

g November 10, 2010

You all suck. Don’t lose your phones. I have all of them.

Robert September 28, 2010

Lost mine also

Kelly September 13, 2010

I lost my iPhone 3GS after having it for a week! Possible it’s stolen not sure. The battery is dead and I did not download any apps tat have been suggested! What can I do! I might have put google maps or something through google on it not sure. Any suggestions?

    Amanda J. October 18, 2010

    I got my iPhone 3GS as a Christmas Present last year. On August 29, 2010, I went to an indoor theme park. (Fairly small one.) Went to use the bathroom and put the phone on top of the toilet roll holder (the phone almost blended in with it) Thought to myself this looks like a good place to accidentally forget about it. In which I did since I thought it was in my purse and left. I didn’t have any of those apps about how to find your phone since I was glued to mine and never thought it would happen. Well I waited to see if the retard would text/make phone calls. They texted picture messages twice (assuming it’s my picture…) I finally gathered all the information I had a filed a police report. Because I had that phone number (to whichever phone they text…=) The officer that was working my case got my phone back. I got it back today. The case is missing and they dropped it a few times and it has scratches on it, but hey…I got it back! But…can’t really use it now since I got the iPhone4 since. =) Good luck!

      roma January 3, 2011

      wud you like to sell off your i ph 3gs????????????

J September 3, 2010

If anyone finds a black 16G iPhone please call 6046008825 it had a dot-textured grey rubber sleeve on it, picture of a baby on front

Dr Deborah August 7, 2010

August 7, 2010 — I just loaded a NEW app called Fonehome. After reading reviews of the various ‘lost iphone apps,’ I discovered this NEW (July 2010) and INEXPENSIVE app.

Testing it – the sound is disappointing but the location is BANG-ON!

(I’m in Canada – one of the complaints I read of iHound is that it didn’t give canadian addresses AND it needs to be RUNNING!)

jessica August 3, 2010

i lost my iphone 3gs 🙁 aug 1 2010, but i guess the person who took it is to stupid to put money in the phone…fml

julie July 5, 2010

Now that the iPhone supports multitasking, I found a great app for tracking and recovering an iPhone / iPod / iPad. It’s called FoneHome. Super cheap compared to Mobile Me and it works great!

Dan June 14, 2010

IMEI no. is useless. My telco cant do anything about it. Called apple, they say they can trace the phone back.
Face it, once loss means u are not going to get back
All those crap about mobileme and rewards are not going to work.

I just loss my iphone!

ahmed May 22, 2010


i lost my iphone 3g in india on 3 may 2010 and i am imei mo can u pls help me how to track my iphone.



meeka May 10, 2010

None of this helps i lost my phone yesterday!!

    Sébastien February 22, 2011

    Off course this does not work … as soon as the finder of your phone shuts it down to put his own sim card in it … all these applications become useless …

joshyy March 5, 2010

i lost my iphone 3g!

sameer February 8, 2010

i lost my 3g iphone today 7 feb 2010, how to trace stolen iphone, i have all programs like sygic india, compass yesterday only i update some applications also, help me

    sergio April 28, 2010


    Dennis July 16, 2010

    Just lost my Iphone 4. I am absolutely distraught 🙁

      daniel July 19, 2010

      i feel your pain dennis, i lost my ipohone 4 last night on the train, i keep calling it hoping somone will answer i would give them a huge reward but so far, no luck it does keep ringing which i assume means its still on

      cassidy day July 27, 2010

      join the club.

      mazz September 9, 2010

      i feel the pain too… we shud do something.. its amazing with so much tech in this devises we cannot locate our own paid iphones … sad 8(

Florianne December 4, 2009

I lost my iPhone…
I went to school this moring listening music with it and in lunch time i found that it was gone from my bag…
I am so sad…
I bought it yesterday… I am so so so sad…

Tim November 13, 2009

I got my iPhone back!! Here is the cold hard TRUTH! Forget all you have read and heard except rewardingreturn or a similar technology to encourage honesty through bribery because nothing else will work! Here is how I got my iPhone back …

Unless a reward that appears on the phone works nothing else will, here is why. My phone was stolen from me and the thief removed the Rogers (Canada) sim card (so my number was gone) he then installed a new sim card. He also did a device erase (too easy to do) so all the apps were gone. Rogers was told 15 minutes after it was gone that it was STOLEN. Rogers did not care … they had a new customer and would sell me a new phone at FULL PRICE $699, that is ALL they would do even though they know it as put back on their network within 8 hours.

Call the police. Get a sympathetic officer who actually wants to do their job. Go to your iTunes and click on “preferences” then “devices” and rest your pointer on your device's last backup. Information will appear including the IMEI number. This number is golden as the police with this number and a call to the correct department of your cell provider can easily locate the phone and thief even with a device erase and new sim card installed. Rogers has a police only department for this that will NOT speak to you the rightful owner but if detailed information is required, Rogers requires a WARRANT. Rogers Law Enforcement Division (416)935-5300.

The police who picked up my phone would not lay charges but I did get my phone back a little worse for the ware.

Two last pieces of advice … lock the phone and enable “erase if 10 bad passcode attempts” because “restore” is amazing and restores EVERYTHING and no personal info has wound up in the wrong hands. Lastly write down the MAC address before you loose the phone as if is not in iTunes and it could possibly be used to locate it as well.

Ontario, Canada

    Deborah August 7, 2010

    thank you tim. I am also in Ontario (Canada) and also with Rogers. I also told them quickly of the phone loss. They would even pause my account – I had to keep paying while I finagled another phone!

    I’ll try contacting the police and RIGHT NOW I’m going to do those two last things!


    mazz September 24, 2010

    your’re lucky you found this officer,, here in US they dont care … i try and try and nothing 🙁

elle November 9, 2009

i have lost my iphone,
but dont have any kind of find me apps on it.
and when i ring it it goes straight to voicemail, so im guessing its got no battery,

    hypnotica December 30, 2009

    im having the same case as u.. cn anyone help us with it?

diana October 4, 2009

me robaron mi iphone 3gs
la empresa donde lo compre lo puede encontrar por el gps?
no tenia ninguna aplicacion de rastreo-

    victorino November 4, 2009

    jajaja noo parcera usted piensa q se lo van a devolver??
    mira sinsera mente yo no estoy seguro,por ke ami me lo robaron hoyy y estoy llorando como un estupido jeje olle pero si de algun modo optienes tu iphone mandame un mensage a okk chao

Kenny September 21, 2009

I lost mine yesterday. its driving me insane. i need it. it has my music. thats the most important part. Is there anyway i can track it after its already lost. I didnt download any of those programs beforehand. =/

:) September 19, 2009

i got my iphone stolen yesterday during gym class, and now i am trying very hard to get it back. I never thought this would happen to me so I don’t have any of these tools already on my iphone, is there anything i can do to get it back?

secretchocthief August 29, 2009

I wish I’d read these notes before I had lost my iphone tonight

Miesha June 27, 2009

hey iphone lover don’t be such a A hole i had my iPhone for 3 years before i came out of my pocket on a roaller coaster at 6 flags while i was wearing jeans and that was my 3rd day there

gavin farmer June 22, 2009

how do you find a lost iphone if it is off or out of battery?

Kris May 31, 2009

Charlie is correct! Now Rewarding Return has an iPhone app too

Lose your iPhone and they’ll ship it back to you for FREE.. so sick!

ryan April 28, 2009

I think you have to do it before. I cant find any way to do if you haven’t installed the software before hand

kelsey April 7, 2009

But will these things work if youve already lost your phone? Or does all that crap have to be done BEFORE you lose it?

russmand March 29, 2009

Maybe I’m missing something, but Sprint has a tower-based Family Locater service that can get your phone located to as close as a few yards. We have it on four family devices. Press Apple to patent their version of it and save all those lost phones.

    pameladixon October 9, 2009

    AT&T has the family map that for a fee you can locate people you share a plan with. I added it to my daughters phone for safety reasons but if the phone is turned off or the sim card removed those features do not work. I wonder if the mobile me works if they remove the sim card. I plan on trying it out since she has lost another iphone.

TokyoMIA March 6, 2009

I almost mailed my iPhone to Dallas Texas, while shipping out a server to another COLO. I’ve never been so determined to find something, I only had the phone for 2 weeks at that time. LOL

susanna January 9, 2009

Just lost mine , yes, I admit it ..I feel like a total idiot. But for finders it is easy to make the phones marketable even if blocked and locked.
Once there is no value to the finder (not even as an itouch) they might be more likely to consider returning the phones for a nice reward instead of having a dead phone.

Iphone lover December 10, 2008

Hi YOU PEOPLE ARE EPIC FALIURE HOW DO YOU LOSE AN IPHOJNE? YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DO KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS!!!!!!!!!! DONT TAKE IT OUT! KEEP IT THIER NOT IN JACKET I KNOw HOW IT FEELS TO LOSE SOMETHING WHEN I WAS IN 5TH GRADE SOME one STOLE MY NINTENDO DS while i was at the bathroom i cried for like 2 weeks,,,, hey i was only 10,,,,, no i am 16 and have a iphone and i carry it in my jeans but it is really hard for it not to get stolen when its gym peroid because we have to change and leave our bookbages and stuff like that in The locker room that really worrys me! Is thier anything i can do so i can prevent this from hapenin? if so email me at

thedude December 2, 2008

I use the Owner Information iPhone application in case an honest person finds my iPhone and actually want to return it. 😉

Charlie November 4, 2008

If someone finds your phone, they get a reward for returning it and Rewarding Return makes all the arrangement (for free) to get it back to you.

I’ve shamefully lost iPhone twice even though i love it more than my GF and I’ve had it back in my hands within 2 days both times

I want to be the Jared of Subway for them – this crap really works and saved my life

Mike October 21, 2008

You should note that as of today, October 21st, 2008, Navizon software does not work on the iPhone 3G or on iPhones with 2.x firmware. They have been working on a total rewrite and will submit the rewrite to the Apple store, which means that jailbreaking will no longer be required; however, there is no estimate on when this software will be ready. Numerous complaints from paying customers on their forum regarding this issue, which is one reason they never should have charged for a product that required jailbreaking.

shellllie October 5, 2008

this seems really helpful !
i lost my iphone less than a week ago and it has literally driven me crazy
i would ive anything to have it back and because i am only 16 i don’t hav the money to buy a new one
hopefully this will work
thank you very much !

ken-G June 26, 2008

\m/ awesome man

narendra.s.v June 26, 2008

i never had a iphone before but just has a Windows mobile(htc touc), this things really seems to be a good way but is there any thing like this for windows mobile!?

OPENGIGA June 23, 2008

cool tricks and just bit same tricks, people get catch a cell phones thief but cell phone should be N Series.

thanks to share with us.

Pavan Kumar June 23, 2008

@ Pallab,

For sony ericsson security, I use mGuard, but have never tested…. Try that if you started using SE again…

Melvin June 23, 2008

this looks great man… i had a history of losing phones in a hurry…

Siddharth June 22, 2008

I dont have an iphone
but this looks amazing…

Pallab June 22, 2008

I am sure iPhone users will find this helpful.
I recently lost my SE 🙁

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