Find My iPhone without “Find My iPhone” with VMware AirWatch

Post created based on AirWatch console version 9.1.1. It’s been updated with additional info for clarity. 

When I held the systems administrator role, I recalled countless incidents when users either misplaced or just lost their iPhones altogether. Sometimes we were able to retrieve the devices when good Samaritans would call the phone number listed on the locked screen message. Other times, we would declare them a total loss. Regardless of the possible outcome, it is imperative that we take the necessary steps to ensure data security and locate the device whenever possible.

With VMware AirWatch, you can achieve both tasks easily with “Lost Mode”. The best part of this feature is that you don’t need “Find My iPhone” enabled on every device with a unique Apple ID (i.e. less management headache). While this feature does not require the AirWatch Agent installed on the device or the Location Services on the device enabled, I find having both helpful in other areas.

Check out the additional URLs for further information on Lost Mode:

Before anything else, make sure you are running console version 9.1 and above as it fixes couple known issues with previous versions. I also recommend two additional steps below to further enhance security on your mobile devices.

  1. Enroll and provision devices with Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP). This helps ensure that the devices are almost always traceable/manageable even if someone performs a device wipe and puts it for sale on eBay. Stay tuned for a separate blog post on this setup.
  2. Set up a custom locked screen message and phone number. This alone takes very little time to set up and I’ve successfully retrieved numerous devices because of this.

To set up a custom locked screen message:

  1. Log onto AirWatch console and add an Apple iOS profile.
  2. Scroll down to Lock Screen Message and click on the Configure button.
  3. In here, configure as follow. Then click Save & Publish.
  4. Assign it to devices accordingly.Lost Mode 1.jpg


Once the profile is assigned to user’s device, you should see the custom message on the bottom of the locked screen.

Lost Mode 2.jpg

When a user reports that his/her device is lost/stolen, take the steps below immediately in the AirWatch console.

  1. Click on DEVICES -> List View. Then click on the individual device.
  2. On the upper right-hand corner, click More Actions.
  3. Under Admin, click Enable Lost Mode.Lost Mode 3.jpg
  4. Fill in the info on a separate window and click Send.Lost Mode 4.jpg


The user will see the below once “Lost Mode” is enabled successfully. Noticed the battery status changes from green to yellow. Also, the only function available is making calls.

Lost Mode 10.jpg

You can then Request Device Location to help retrieve the device. Click OK when prompted.

Lost Mode 6.jpgLost Mode 7.jpg

Within Detailed Viewclick on the Location tab and it should display the last known location. You can even double click on the purple circle to zoom in for better accuracy. Lost Mode 8.jpg

Once you are able to retrieve the device, click Disable Lost Mode from the same menu to restore the device to normal operation. Click OK when prompted.

Lost Mode 5Lost Mode 9.jpg

The user will see the below once “Lost Mode” is disabled successfully. Noticed the battery status remains in yellow until after pressing Continue.

Lost Mode 11.jpg

I hope you find this post useful. Stay mobile!

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