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What to Do When Your iPhone is Stolen or Lost

What to Do When Your iPhone is Stolen or Lost

There has been an increase in iOS thefts recently, targeting owners who are simply walking down the street, causing many individuals to fear that their iOS device may be next to disappear. Personal computers are also not out of the woods from this increase in theft; even when you keep your devices at home, the threat of misplacing them is also present. What should we do to ensure that our Mac or iOS device makes it back into our hands? The step-by-step guide we have below is made for new Apple purchasers, current users, and victims of theft who are looking for options.

Ensuring your information is adequately backed up

Whether you just bought your iPhone or Mac, or if you have been a long time user, it is never too early or too late to get yourself prepared for a possible lost or stolen device. The main aspects of preparation includes ensuring that you have adequate tracking, and that your information is adequately backed up. We will cover how to do both in the steps below:

1. You just bought your Mac or iOS device—congratulations! Now it’s time to protect it with AppleCare. Despite not protecting against theft or loss, it can work in your favor in the event that your recovered device turns out to be damaged. For iOS devices, AppleCare+ protects against two damage incidents with a fee. Below is info on how to purchase it.

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    • For iPhone Users: Click Here – For iPad Users: Click Here.
    • When purchasing AppleCare+, you are required to have a device checkup to ensure you are not purchasing AppleCare+ for a device that’s already broken.
    • Keep all information handy and in a safe place (i.e. receipts of the device and AppleCare+ purchase).
    • Found your lost iOS device or stolen device and it’s broken? Go to your local Apple Store and pay $49 for a repair.

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      2. Next step, ensure that you are fully signed up for iCloud. The cloud service allows you to have your contacts, calendar events, recent photos, music, apps, and more backed up. Targeted for increased productivity and easier device upgrading, iCloud is very useful for lost or stolen devices. You still have needed information readily available, and as we will show in the next step, it can even help you find your device. Here’s how to sign up for iCloud:

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      survivinglostiphone_icloudonMac
        Backing Up Your Data On Mac

        • Ensure that your Mac has the latest update by first clicking the Apple symbol at the top, and then “Software Update”.
        • Click “System Preferences”, then “iCloud”.
        • When asked, enter your Apple credentials. If you’re not asked, you’re done!
        • Check the boxes for the services you want to have iCloud backup.
        • Whenever you sign in to iCloud on any iOS or Mac device, your information is applied if you choose it to be.

        survivinglostiphone_icloudoniPhone
          On iOS Devices

          • Go to “Settings”
          • Click on “iCloud”
          • Sign into your Apple ID.
          • Once signed in, select which services you’d like to back up.
          • “Storage and Backup” allows you to view your storage totals.

          3. Now that iCloud is activated, it’s time to activate Find My Apple Device. No, it’s not exactly called that—for iOS users it is known as “Find My iPhone“, and for Mac users it’s “Find My Mac”. To activate Find My iPhone on your iOS device, simply download the app from the App Store, and login.

          Using the Find My iPhone for iOS app is simple. The first page you are presented with is “My Devices”. Here, you are able to view the current status of all the devices connected to your iCloud account. When the device is on, you will notice a green light activated.

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            When you visit the app, you’ll be able to see the devices under “My Devices”. “All Devices” loads a map showing the relative location of your devices with Find My iPhone active.

            survivinglostiphone_icloudfindmyiphonemap

              When clicking a specific device, you are able to click the green car to have driving directions to your lost or stolen device. For Mac users, it’s a bit of a different story; Find My Mac is technically already “downloaded” on all Macs with iCloud, so simply ensure that the box is checked in the iCloud settings in System Preferences.

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              But what happens when you don’t have either device near you to monitor their current location? No problem—simply go to iCloud.com, sign in, and go to Find My iPhone. You can activate an alarm, lock, or activate a remote wipe of your Mac or iOS device.

              survivinglostiphone_preyformac

                Bonus Tip: If you’re looking for more features in recovery of your Mac, or even your Android device, Prey is a great free service that lets you cover up to three devices.

                Your Data: At Risk

                The options above aren’t necessarily surefire ways to allow you to become reunited with your iPhone. For example, iCloud features including Find My iPhone are only helpful if your device is on and connected to a cellular/Internet connection. Also, if you don’t have a device discovery service active, it’s nearly impossible to recover your iPhone.

                The only option in these situations is to cut off cellular service on the device in question and to purchase a new one. This doesn’t mean that your data isn’t at risk until then: for many users, their iPhone is their life. This means that services like Facebook and emails are connected to the device and easily accessible. Here are a couple of tips on what to do next:

                • Change Your Passwords Immediately

                One of the best precautions you can make is to change the passwords of the services connected to your iPhone. This includes email addresses, social media accounts, and in some cases your Apple ID. This can prevent the possibility of compromising information to be posted on your accounts, and even more importantly, to prevent personal information from being stolen.

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                • Monitor Account Activity

                In the days after your iPhone is officially deemed lost, you should still monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity. Financial accounts are top priority if you made use of apps like Mint or your personal bank’s app. This will allow you to catch unwanted access, allowing you to contact your bank and bring the attention to them.

                • Prepare for the Future

                This is also a great opportunity for you to safeguard your accounts from future attacks. If you are a Google user, for example, you may want to look into two-factor login: this works by requiring the individual to bypass two steps of information before gaining access. In return, this tricks systematic hacks and deters individual hackers.

                Current Find My iPhone Users

                If you are lucky enough to be a Find My iPhone user, the stressful situation of a lost or stolen iPhone is alleviated just a bit. At least while it is connected to an Internet connection, you are able to see the current status of your device. If you are near a computer, follow the following steps below to protect your information:

                survivinglostiphone_icloud.com
                  1. Go to iCloud.com
                  2. Sign in with your Apple ID.
                  3. Click on “Find My iPhone”
                  4. At the top left, click on “Devices”
                  5. After clicking on the device in question, on the far right you can do three things: play a sound, Lock, or Remote Wipe. Below, we have a short summary of which route is best for you:
                  • Play a Sound: Perfect for a simple misplacement around you.
                  • Lock: A simple misplacement when you see that your iPhone isn’t in your immediate vicinity.
                  • Remote Wipe: A prolonged misplacement, a verified theft, or a misplacement in a compromising location (theme park, concert, etc).

                  Activating remote wipe when you just lost your iPhone or Mac under your bed can result in a huge headache, so be careful with that one.

                  Other Tips

                  For individuals who didn’t activate Find My iPhone, you still have options. First, call your service provider and inform them of your misplaced or stolen iPhone, which will allow your service provider to be informed in the event of high charges. They can also deactivate your iPhone. Informing the authorities can also be helpful in the event of a theft of any device.

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                  Life After the Theft

                  Chances are, if you had your iPhone stolen, you will be even more determined to purchase a second iPhone this time around. You shouldn’t allow a theft to prevent you from being an iPhone user, and when you get a new iPhone, Apple makes it seamless to apply your old information onto your new device.

                  During the setup of your new iPhone, you are then asked if you’d like to Restore from iCloud Backup or Restore from iTunes Backup. When going with the iTunes route, all you have to do is simply connect your iPhone to the Mac that backed up your last iPhone. You can then click the iTunes backup under the options in “Restore from the Backup of: …” From there, click “continue”.

                  When going down the iCloud route, you can select the latest backup on the “Choose Backup” page. From there, click “Restore” and allow your iPhone to restart on its own.

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                  Published on September 25, 2020

                  10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

                  10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

                  When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

                  VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

                  How to Choose a VPN

                  • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
                  • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
                  • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
                  • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
                  • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

                  Why You Should Trust Us

                  Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

                  Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

                  1. NordVPN

                  The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

                  Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

                  NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

                  In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

                  NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

                  Buy this VPN.

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                  2. ExpressVPN

                  ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

                  Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

                  Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

                  Buy this VPN.

                  3. Surf Shark

                  With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

                  Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

                  The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

                  Buy this VPN.

                  4. CyberGhost

                  Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

                  The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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                  What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

                  Buy this VPN.

                  5. IPVanish

                  IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

                  IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

                  Buy this VPN.

                  6. Private Internet Access

                  Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

                  One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

                  In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

                  These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

                  Buy this VPN.

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                  7. Hotspot Shield

                  Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

                  Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

                  Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

                  Buy this VPN.

                  8. TunnelBear

                  As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

                  The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

                  Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

                  Buy this VPN.

                  9. Norton

                  Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

                  As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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                  Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

                  Buy this VPN.

                  10. StrongVPN

                  The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

                  StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

                  As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

                  Buy this VPN.

                  Bottom Line

                  Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

                  With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

                  We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

                  Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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