My iPhone was stolen last night, I logged into my iCloud account and selected find my phone, but the WiFi was turned off and could not locate it. I selected erase my phone when WiFi is detected and then I selected remove the device.

After thinking about this all night I am now wondering if I should not have deleted the device. Will the phone still erase the data even after I deleted the device from my account?

  • 1
    Just curious - what was the purpose of removing it? Also, are you using iOS6 or 7?
    – stuffe
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 13:53
  • If you were on iOS 7, it won't matter if the phone gets erased, once the thieves attempt to set it up as new, they will still need details for your iCloud account or the phone cannot be activated. More details on Activation Lock can be found here: support.apple.com/kb/HT5818?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US Though you say you deleted the device in Find my iPhone, so I'm not sure how that will work out for you even if you are on 7. I'm hoping for your sake, that it will still stick. Here is a more thorough look: macworld.com/article/2048739/…
    – user10355
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 19:34

2 Answers 2


As soon as the device connects to the internet, Apple's servers will send the erase message to the phone. I have seen this happen three weeks after the message was sent and the effect was nearly immediate.

I don't know of any way to recall the erase message once you've sent it, and you should receive an email if the device ever registers and the erase message is sent.

All the things you did after the erase request are moot since if the phone never checks in, you can't really stop the erase and if it does ever check in, it will get erased and self remove from your list of devices.

You might open a support ticket with Apple to be sure the email will send if you erase the device (I haven't actually tested that sequence), but common sense says you might expect the email if the erase ever gets issued.


First, I would say that your first step - checking for the phone on Find My iPhone - was excellent. Then, though, you should have called the police and reported it missing - while still frequently checking for its appearance in the software!

If you report the phone stolen, and you notify the police that you have tracking software enabled, they may help give it priority when it shows up on the software. (I had that happen with a missing iPad.)

As to whether the phone will still erase the data, I believe it will. Your instructions are sent to a server, which will follow through whenever the device appears online. You might try re-adding the phone to your account and see what happens...

I would suggest giving it at least 3 days to appear before giving up, especially if the police are willing to help.

Good luck!

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