What happens if someone steals my iPhone and my iCloud password?

Danterion

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2014
6
0
There's been a recent w̶a̶v̶e̶ series of a few reported cases of iPhone thefts going on where the thief demands not only the iPhone, but the iCloud password as well. People are becoming more aware of Find My iPhone, and the fact that you can't fully reset an iPhone without the iCloud password.

So, my question is: if you're at gunpoint, and you're forced to hand over your iPhone and your iCloud password, what do you do afterwards?

If you're not near a computer and you can't activate Find My iPhone right away, will the thief be able to wipe away everything from your iPhone by using the iCloud password?
 
Last edited:

Danterion

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2014
6
0
Really? Have a link to a news report of this particular "wave"?

A.
Perhaps a "wave" is a bit of an exaggeration, but I've seen at least a couple of reports on TV, first-hand accounts on Facebook, and a couple of stories on the internet. If one thief knows, others might too.

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/381697/news/regions/cellphone-snatcher-demands-victim-s-icloud-password

http://tecnologia.uol.com.br/noticias/redacao/2014/06/27/em-sp-ladroes-pedem-senha-do-icloud-e-alteram-foto-da-vitima-no-whatsapp.htm

Of course, the two cases above did get caught in the end, but other people might not be so lucky.

Keep in mind that I live in South America - doesn't mean it's better or worse than anywhere in the world, but I think it's a particularly rotten attitude to hold someone hostage until they hand over a password.
 

mercuryjones

macrumors 6502a
May 31, 2005
786
0
College Station, TX
There's been a recent wave of iPhone thefts going on where the thief demands not only the iPhone, but the iCloud password as well. People are becoming more aware of Find My iPhone, and the fact that you can't fully reset an iPhone without the iCloud password.

So, my question is: if you're at gunpoint, and you're forced to hand over your iPhone and your iCloud password, what do you do afterwards?

If you're not near a computer and you can't activate Find My iPhone right away, will the thief be able to wipe away everything from your iPhone by using the iCloud password?
Tell him some long complicated alphanumeric passcode, and then while he's trying to verify it, judo chop him in the larynx. Then, while he's on the ground in pain, take your iPhone back, plus his gun and any other goodies he might have.
 

Alrescha

macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
2,157
315
Perhaps a "wave" is a bit of an exaggeration
A bit. Btw, in your first case link it seems the perpetrator demanded a password after the victim called the stolen phone. That does not match your description of events.

I think it is one thing to ask the question, which was reasonable enough. To claim that there is a crime wave of this kind of thing happening when it is not is a disservice to everyone.

A.
 

Danterion

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2014
6
0
A bit. Btw, in your first case link it seems the perpetrator demanded a password after the victim called the stolen phone. That does not match your description of events.

I think it is one thing to ask the question, which was reasonable enough. To claim that there is a crime wave of this kind of thing happening when it is not is a disservice to everyone.

A.
I edited my original post to remove the exaggeration. I don't mean to scare anyone here, but I honestly want to know: what's the right course of action when this happens?


From what I saw here, the only two options are:

1-Lie about your password and hope for the best;
2-Lose the phone for good.
 

Alrescha

macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
2,157
315
I edited my original post to remove the exaggeration. I don't mean to scare anyone here, but I honestly want to know
Well done.

what's the right course of action when this happens?
If there is a person pointing a gun at you, you give him your phone. If he wants the password, give it to him. The phone is not, under any circumstance, worth your life.

If you have two-factor authentication turned on, and you own more than one device, the phone does not have to be a 'trusted device'. In that case all the thief gets is your phone - you retain control over your iCloud account and data once you get home.

A.
 

Danterion

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2014
6
0
If you have two-factor authentication turned on, and you own more than one device, the phone does not have to be a 'trusted device'.

A.
Thanks for the reply. That bit I quoted here confused me a bit though. You mean my own phone shouldn't be a "trusted device"?
 

Alrescha

macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
2,157
315
Thanks for the reply. That bit I quoted here confused me a bit though. You mean my own phone shouldn't be a "trusted device"?
It is up to you. If you think that it is a real possibility that your phone *and* your iCloud password would be stolen at the same time, then having your phone not be a trusted device will preserve your control over your iCloud account (the thief would have your password, but could not change it - only you could do that with your password and recovery key/some other trusted device).

A.
 

impaler

macrumors 6502
Feb 20, 2006
438
7
FL
If you're not near a computer and you can't activate Find My iPhone right away, will the thief be able to wipe away everything from your iPhone by using the iCloud password?
Two-factor authentication involves things you know (password and PIN on phone), and something you have (phone). If the guy steals both, you're hosed until you can change the password.
 

Danterion

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2014
6
0
Two-factor authentication involves things you know (password and PIN on phone), and something you have (phone). If the guy steals both, you're hosed until you can change the password.
But he won't be able to change the password himself, then? That sounds like the best way to go, if he's unable to change it, and I am able to change it.
 

Danterion

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2014
6
0
Two-factor authentication involves things you know (password and PIN on phone), and something you have (phone). If the guy steals both, you're hosed until you can change the password.
asking again, just to be sure:

But he won't be able to change the password himself, then? That sounds like the best way to go, if he's unable to change it, and I am able to change it.
 

Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
4,741
3,689
San Jose, CA
But he won't be able to change the password himself, then? That sounds like the best way to go, if he's unable to change it, and I am able to change it.
If the stolen phone is one of your trusted devices and the thief can unlock it, he can change your password in this scenario, locking you out permanently. The only thing you can try to protect your account is to change the password yourself as quickly as you can before the thief does (and then remove the stolen phone from the list of trusted devices).