How to Keep Thieves from Disabling Your iPhone’s GPS

I’m glad Apple made the Find My iPhone feature available for free to all iOS devices. It definitely gives me peace of mind knowing if my phone is lost or stolen I can easily find it using this handy tool, but in today’s age where everyone and their mother has an iPhone (at least my mother does), wouldn’t potential iPhone thieves wise-up to the iPhone constantly reporting its location to its true owner? What would keep the iPhone thief from turning off the Find My iPhone tracking service? Restrictions, of course! The restrictions section of the iOS settings provides a nifty trick to help you buy more time to nab that dirty iPhone-stealer.

Here’s how:

1. Open the Settings app of your iPhone, tap on General settings, and then Restrictions.

2. Tap Enable Restrictions. You’ll need to set a new passcode, so make it one that only you will remember.

3. Scroll down to Location and tap it to change location permissions.

4. Here you can tell the iPhone what apps you want to use your location. Scroll down to the Find My iPhone entry at the bottom of the list and tap it.

5. Make sure Find My iPhone is enabled. For extra sneakiness, turn the Status Bar Icon setting off so you don’t alert whoever may have your iPhone that you’re on their tail.

6. Return to the Location menu by tapping the button in the upper left-hand corner.

7. Scroll to the top of the menu. You will see 2 options at the very top: Allow Changes & Don’t Allow Changes.

8. Tap “Don’t Allow Changes.” You’ll see all app location setting entries have been greyed-out & their settings are now locked, including Find My iPhone.

9. You’ve done it! If you go all the way back to the main settings menu and tap the Location Services button you’ll find all options are greyed-out and locked, even Find My iPhone!



You will need to go back into the Restrictions menu of the Settings app if you need to change which apps may use your location, or if you install new apps that must use location services. This tip may be only for paranoid people like me, but at least this tip provides one more weapon to fend off would-be thieves.


  1. Jrsettles says

    Because Law Enforcement works with the cell carrier to track the phone’s signal. There is no IMEI signal to trace unless Cell phone carriers agree to block or blacklist the IMEI number of the phone from being activated. This request has been made in the past, especially with iPhones but most cell providers won’t or just dont have the capability of doing this. I personally suspect it’s because they feel sales will drop. What’s the first thing a person does when they lose their phone? They buy a new one or replace it. What happens to that stolen iPhone? It gets reactivated. If they bricked that stolen phone, at least the victims could make an insurance claim and get a refurbished iPhone. It’s a business decision of some sort.

  2. drrjv says

    Don’t most thieves just wipe the phone and set up a new user?

    Why can’t the IMEI number be tracked by law enforcement?