I found an iPhone lying on my table. I called every person I know that was in my house to check if it was theirs. No one said it was theirs. I waited a month later, keeping the iPhone in my drawer. I come back to it and, since nobody's claimed it, I guess it's mine now. It had no SIM card in it. But can I buy a new SIM for this? I have no phone & I'm having this iPhone for the first time. I ask my dad & he tells me I can't buy a SIM card because once I go to the Apple Store & I'll ask to buy a new SIM on the iPhone, they'll think I stole it & report me. When I go to iMessage & try changing the number, it's locked on the number that was on the SIM before it was taken out. What to do? Help! I need to know if it's safe to buy a SIM card. Will they report me?

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    It seems all that you know for certain is that the phone is not yours. You can probably guess that whoever owns it would like it back. I think you can fill in the gaps between those two premises. – Ash Apr 24 '12 at 14:31
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    This would be classed as theft by finding in the UK. You know the phone isn't yours so turn it into the police. – Stevetech Jan 8 '13 at 15:30
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    Old question, but from iOS7 and up with Find my Phone activated, you'd possibly have a phone that can not be wiped and can be tracked remotely. I'd say Do The Right Thing and report it as found. Since so much of our life is on our phones now, the benefit for the person getting their phone back is so much more than the cost of the device, and you may get a reward. – Rich Homolka Dec 10 '14 at 20:01
  • Have you tried ringing the number it is locked on. The owner may have a new phone that is now using it. You should call it. – markhunte Dec 27 '14 at 7:21

Go to your local GSM carrier (AT&T in the US) and try to reactivate it. A couple of possible scenarios seem likely:

  • The phone is recent enough to be on a contract - they'd still have the payer on file and you could contact them about giving them the phone back or them cancelling the contract (or you taking it over).
  • The phone is free and clear - this is the best case if you want the phone. You'd just get a SIM (contract or pay-as-you-go) and start to use the phone.
  • The phone was reported stolen - assuming you didn't steal it, hopefully you get the benefit of the doubt and the owner gets their phone back.

(Note: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. If you're really worried about the ramifications of the phone possibly having been stolen, you should talk to a lawyer.)


Please bring the phone to an Apple Store and ask them to find the owner. That's the "right" thing to do. I'm horrified that anyone on SE would assist you in stealing a phone and/or providing information that would assist someone in using a stolen phone.

  • I appreciate the call to be proper, but the problem with knowledge is it can be used to help and it can be used to harm. Even a wrong question can get saved by the right answer, so we don’t delete unless things are clearly harmful. This ethical dilemma can be made better if people change their minds - even if you do wrong initially, later you can realize the pain / error and fix it. I’m disinclined to delete this but value your speaking clearly after making a good point about turning in lost property. Either to a local authority or Apple. – bmike Apr 17 at 22:15

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protected by Community Mar 27 '16 at 3:17

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