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How to retrieve iOS devices stuck in lost mode?

The lost mode feature enables organizations to regain their lost iOS devices. The administrators turn on lost mode on misplaced iOS devices to prevent unauthorized access to them. It locks down the device restricting the device activity. Once the device is found, you can disable lost mode from the UEM console. Nevertheless, we cannot overlook the possibility of the device getting locked in the lost mode state. Suppose the regained device loses internet connectivity and is unable to re-establish the network connection. In such cases, you cannot disable lost mode from the Hexnode console. The device remains in lost mode, and the user will be unable to access it. The confidentiality of the corporate data retained on the device is crucial for business success. We cannot compromise the data security of a corporate device by leaving it inoperable in lost mode.

Probable reasons why disable lost mode action cannot be executed

  • The device’s network connection was interrupted.
  • The device might be restarted before disabling lost mode on it.
  • The iOS version of the device is outdated.

Precautions:

  • Always confirm that the devices are connected to two or more corporate Wi-Fi networks along with a cellular network. So that if the device faces interruption from one network, it gets automatically connected to the other network.
  • Avoid restarting the device before disabling the lost mode on iOS devices.

Here are some methods that will help you to recover devices stuck in lost mode and without network connectivity:

Pre-requisites:

  • A macOS device, preferably with Apple Configurator 2 installed on it
  • Verify that the restriction ‘Prevent pairing with non-Configurator hosts’ under Advanced Restrictions > Allow Security and Privacy Settings is not enabled on the device. If otherwise, you can use only the configurator host macOS device for the following solutions.

Solutions:

1. Re-establish the network connection

Suppose the device loses network connectivity while in lost mode. The user cannot access the device nor try to re-connect even after recovering it. You can re-establish internet connectivity using Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter and Apple USB ethernet adapters. It helps the devices to connect to a wired internet connection. Further, you may execute remote actions to disable lost mode from the Hexnode console.

2. Restore the device using Apple Configurator

  • Connect your iOS device to the Mac through USB.
  • Launch Apple Configurator 2 from the macOS device. The connected device gets virtually displayed on the app window.
  • Go to Actions > Restore.

    OR

    Control-click the device on the app window and select Restore.

  • It erases all the contents on the devices. Restoring a supervised device also removes the supervision profile associated with it.

3. Erase the device using Apple Configurator

  • Connect your iOS device to the Mac through USB.
  • On opening Apple Configurator 2, you can see that the device is displayed on the app window.
  • Go to Actions > Advanced > Erase All Content and Settings.

    OR

    Control-click the device and navigate to Actions > Advanced > Erase All Content and Settings.

4. Restore the device by turning on recovery mode
  1. Open Finder if the Mac runs macOS Catalina. Suppose the device is macOS Mojave or earlier, open iTunes.
  2. Open iTunes. (Re-open iTunes after closing it if iTunes is already open.)
  3. Connect the iOS device with the Mac and perform the following actions to turn on the recovery mode.
    • iPhone 8 or later: Hold the volume up button and release it quickly. Repeat the same with the volume down button. Finally, press the side button until you see the recovery-mode screen.
    • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: Keep holding the volume up (or Side button) and volume down button simultaneously until you see the recovery-mode screen.
    • iPads without a home button: Hold the volume up button and release it quickly. Repeat the same with the volume down button. Now press the top button until the device begins to restart. Continue holding the top button until the device goes into recovery mode.
    • iPad with the home button, iPhone 6s or earlier: Hold the home button and top (or side button) simultaneously until you see the recovery-mode screen.
  4. Now the device can be viewed on the Mac device with the options to restore or update it.
  5. Click on Restore.

Restoring the device by turning on recovery mode loses all the data stored on the device.

Notes:

  • Ensure that the macOS device is up-to-date and runs the latest version of iTunes.
  • You can also use your PC to turn on recovery mode on an iOS device using iTunes.
  • The solutions might not function as expected if USB usage is restricted on the device.
  • If a password is configured on the lost mode enabled device, executing the ‘Clear Password’ action helps the device to connect with the Mac or the ethernet adapter without entering a password.