I left an iPad mini on an Icelandair flight. They just sent me this message:

"We have an item matching your description. Can you please send us details about the item, preferably passcode, to identify you as the owner."

  • This is a Wi-Fi only model.
  • It's almost certainly in Airplane Mode with the Wi-Fi turned off.
  • It’s at the lock screen.
  • I'm in the US and the iPad presumably is in Iceland.

I would rather not share my passcode if I can find a way around it.

What reasonable ways can I respond to prove my ownership of this iPad?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – bmike Feb 8 at 23:18

If you have your iPad's serial number it should be visible on the back of the device.

source: Apple

As mentioned in the comments below, you can get the serial number by either:

  • Logging into the AppleID associated with the device at appleid.apple.com.
  • In the Apple ID area in the Settings app on your iPhone logged into the same Apple ID. (The very first thing if you scroll to the top of Settings.)
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – bmike Feb 8 at 23:17

Tell them that you are uncomfortable providing your passcode to another person, but you would be happy to unlock it in front of their staff at the airport when you retrieve it.

This does require you to travel to the nearest airport, but it is a reasonable compromise that protects both interests.

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    Unless they found "2 ipads", and are asking which one is yours. Assume the other owner also doesn't want to disclose their passphrase and is living at the other side of the world. – Cœur Feb 9 at 9:52
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    This is a fair solution but might not work here, as per "I'm in the US and the iPad presumably is in Iceland." – Captain Man Feb 12 at 14:53
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    I have personally had an airline return property to me at another airport, but this was a few years ago and not international. Perhaps it would be permissible in this case; perhaps not---I do not know. – DoubleD Feb 13 at 17:57

Describe the lock screen background picture, especially if you have a custom photo or image.

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    To be clear, this is the background picture on the lock screen, which can be seen without revealing the passcode. – chepner Feb 7 at 15:06
  • If you can provide a copy of the source image (say it's a family photo or something) that would also help. – Baldrickk Feb 11 at 10:57

If it still has some battery charge, or they plug it in somewhere, near some WiFi, you could set it to lost mode and include your email/phone number etc on the screen message.

They should be able to turn Airplane mode off from the lock screen without unlocking it.

Not much use this time, but for future reference - this old answer of mine is still worth considering - from Find my iPhone contact

Having a contact number actually embedded in the picture on your lockscreen makes getting in touch very simple, even to someone with little to no knowledge of how to operate the device.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – bmike Feb 8 at 23:18
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    Turning off Airplane mode is not enough to connect to the internet... you still need to unlock your device and go to the Settings app in order to connect to a new Wi-Fi network. Unless the iPad happens to connect to a Wi-Fi network in the airport that has been joined previously and has Auto-join enabled, this would not work. – Coder256 Feb 12 at 7:38
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    We've been through all this before. Comments were tidied up. – Tetsujin Feb 12 at 7:39
  • @Coder256 Would the phone connect if they had a router with the same SSID and password as your home wifi? – Taemyr Feb 14 at 14:54

Medical ID

If you set up a Medical ID, then thy can access it by going to the Password Screen -> Emergency -> Medical ID

They can then compare your name and other details like Date Of Birth, if you set it up and provided them when booking the flight.

Apple Pay

Another way to prove it is if you set up Apple Pay.

If you are on iOS 12, and enabled the wallet icon on the control centre they can tap it to see what cards you have registered.

You can then tell them:

  • The bank your cards are with

  • The last 4 digits of the card

It would help a lot if the card you paid for the flight with was there as well.

If you don’t have the icon enabled, you might have the settings enabled that they can double-click on the lock screen and see the same information.

Lost Mode

If it still has some battery charge, or they plug it in somewhere, near some WiFi, you could set it to lost mode and include your email/phone number etc on the screen message. They should be able to turn Airplane mode off from the lock screen without unlocking it.

Thanks @Tetsujin

Lock Screen Photo

You can describe the lock screen photo especially if it is a custom image.

Thanks @Zach

Serial Number

You can tell them the Serial Number which will be at the back of the device. This can be found on the Apple ID page.

Thanks @dwightk

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    If you've told Siri who you are, you can ask it "Who does this device belong to?", even from the Lock Screen, and it will pop up a message with your name and phone number. – Thunderforge Feb 13 at 4:48
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    @Thunderforge the device wouldn’t have an internet connection to use Siri – user310476 Feb 13 at 7:34

Describe it - Can you remember where you left it? Tell them it was

In the seat pocket of 13C on flight AZ1234 from A to B on 31 November 2018


It has a brown plastic case with a Hello Kitty sticker on the top-left.

A third option is to invoice them for the replacement cost, given they have your item and are not returning it - this is theft. But do explore other all the options first.

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    Airlines are typically not responsible for lost or misplaced items that were not checked into the baggage handling system and are under no legal obligation to do anything for other then what was checked into their baggage handling system! So, it's not theft unless you can prove that they have found the item that was lost by you the passenger and have complied with their requirements to settle proof of ownership of the item in order for it to be returned to the customer and then they don't return it. – user3439894 Feb 11 at 0:36
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    The way they would be responsible for it would be that it is in fact not lost, since they have admitted to having it. Lost and found laws usually don't let you just keep things you find that aren't yours. If they had not found it, they could just tell you tough luck, but since they have found it they are kind of on the hook for it. – Lassi Kinnunen Feb 11 at 9:11
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    @LassiKinnunen they found A iPad, if the customer refuses to cooperate in establishing ownership they don't have to assume it's his. – jwenting Feb 11 at 9:39
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    That's not the point, if they assume it or not, it's still claimed as such. So it's no longer a lost device that they can just start denying existing. The point is the device itself is no longer lost. Furthermore you could just dig up some police public advisory about not giving your pincode to people who ask for it. – Lassi Kinnunen Feb 12 at 3:28
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    @LassiKinnunen so according to you I can just claim that something is mine, then refuse to cooperate in establishing that it is, and the person holding it should just give it to me? Because that's what you're stating here, that if they can't prove it's not mine despite me refusing to help them establishing ownership they should assume that it is. – jwenting Feb 12 at 9:58

If you've given it a custom device name you could ask them to connect it to a PC or Mac. Without the passcode they can't access the data on the iPad, but it should show the device name in iTunes.

I think the default device name is "$Firstname's iPad"


This should be straightforward. Get them on the phone while you are in front of a computer, log into iCloud and in realtime go through the tools available in FindMyiPhone, then have them send it to you.

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    Find My iPhone/iPad requires an internet connection on the device and the question mentioned that it was in airplane mode and wifi only. – dwightk Feb 11 at 21:32
  • Damn. Well hopefully things work out for you. – chiggsy Feb 11 at 22:10
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    @dwightk Unless the control center is disabled on the lock screen or it has just been restarted, it should be possible to reenable WiFi. However, it will only connect to the airport's network if it has connected to it before and there are no other airport wifi restrictions – Skeleton Bow Feb 14 at 12:54

For a non-technical solution you could send a scan of your finger prints, the device is likely covered in your finger prints, which would be difficult to explain how they got there had the device not been at least physically in your possession.

This however would require them to be able to forensically analyse finger prints, and would require you to be confortable sending your finger prints.

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