Recently my apartment was burglarized and my employer's iPad that I was borrowing was stolen from my apartment. I'm located in the US. My employer didn't setup Find My iPad. I used the iPad a few times to view web sites in Safari on my network and connect it to my computer to update it to iOS 6. I've reported the burglary to the police. I have the iPad's serial number and the device backup in iTunes. Instead of waiting around, is there anything I can do to find the stolen iPad?

3 Answers 3


The first thing you should do is report it, having the serial number by hand (you can find it on the original box). While the procedure of handling stolen goods might be different in other countries, it's not unlikely police bumps into a batch of stolen goods and will try to get these back to the rightful owners.

As for tracking, if you had a Gmail account set up, you could check Gmail's connection logs (available from the bottom of the web interface), to see the IP addresses connecting. The same goes for other "cloud" services which allow to see a log of clients, like Dropbox.

Whether the IP address will lead you to the thief is questionable, but it could give you a broad localisation and you can always pass this information to the police.

If you had an iPad with cellular support, it is technically possible to be tracked by IMEI number, but depending on legislation/others, your carrier might not fulfil these requests without the necessary warrants.

Apart from tracking though, the next thing you should consider is safeguarding your data as much as possible. If your iPad was not password-protected, you should change all passwords of any online accounts configured, but please note this might prevent you from seeing access log as described earlier.

  • This is a good list: 1) File a police report with any/all local districts to maximize the chance of recovery at pawn shops and such 2) Report the theft and police report to Apple and the cellular carrier but don't expect much from that other than knowing they have the information.
    – bmike
    Oct 28, 2012 at 17:04
  • Follow up questions, do pawn shows have to report everything they receive to the police? Should I be calling/visiting pawn shops to look for the device? Should I be calling the police department asking for updates every few weeks to see if the iPad was found?
    – wwwuser
    Oct 28, 2012 at 18:08
  • @wwwuser there is no generic answer to that question, but I suggest you ask the police how you should follow-up your case.
    – Gerry
    Oct 29, 2012 at 7:41
  • I called the police department about my case and they said there is no need to follow up. They'll contact me if they find anything. I wish there was something I could do to help get the iPad back. Are there third parties that help locate an iPad based on a serial number? I don't feel okay with just sitting around and waiting. I realize the police can only do so much, but I wish there was something I could do to help.
    – wwwuser
    Oct 30, 2012 at 0:14
  • I would recommend not to lock your iPad if not really needed. This will make the thieve use it and makes it easier to trace by gmail-ip or IMEI. Jul 22, 2014 at 11:56

Well, to my knowledge the only thing that can help you find an iPad is Find My iPad. If your employer didn't set that up then it's a shame, becuase I'm afraid you can't do much more.

It's good that you have the serial number, though. That way you can prove the iPad is yours in case the police finds it.


Just had mine stolen yesterday. Find my iPad is not what you think. I had it on my WiFi only model so unless the device connects to wifi, the service is useless.

Also, if you decide to not have a passcode lock in order to try to track down the iPad, you are leaving it open for the thief to get any personal data. Sending a remote lock or setting a passcode does secure your data, but at the same time makes it less likely you will find it. For me, I have opted for the erase mode. As soon as it is turned back in or ever hits WiFfi before it gets erased, all existing data will then be erased.

  • Sorry to this. Hopefully, you get some hints with Find my iPad. I wish there was some company or way to find it by serial number. Mine is still missing and tracking by serial number would help find so many lost devices.
    – wwwuser
    Nov 9, 2012 at 1:07

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