How I Survived Getting Locked Out of My Devices for 2 Weeks
What would you lose if your AppleID were compromised?
The hacker — who is just as evil as Sauron or Palpatine or Joker — changed my AppleID password and then turned on the Lost Phone feature.
In a flash, I was locked out of all my devices.
He provided a suspicious email address that I needed to contact in order to have my devices freed.
Ransom. Or worse.
Of course this happened while we were traveling.
Of course it occurred on a Friday night — after the Apple Support Team had already closed.
As you would expect, I had a two-day workshop to conduct in two days.
I didn’t know my passwords for email or my backups — because I relied on my devices to remember them for me.
I didn’t know phone numbers of any friends, family or co-workers.
I was cut off from EVERYTHING and EVERYONE!
Get Ready for the Flood of Emotions
That’s a lot of alliteration.
Freak out again.
Then I started the long, slow process of AppleID Recovery.
When they told me it would take at least a week — or longer — I struggled to control my panic.
I get it. Apple wants to cover its tracks and make sure they are granting access to the legitimate owner.
I resigned myself that I had no other options.
Then came a surprising feeling of liberation.
The process took two weeks for me. I was both liberated and debilitated for two weeks.
The Survival Guide For When You’re Locked Out of Your Devices
- DON’T write to the suspicious email address! Even if you want to cuss them out. You open yourself to even more problems. Contact Apple first.
- Keep a non-AppleID-connected backup of your files — Fortunately, I use Dropbox, not iCloud, to back up my documents. Had I used iCloud, I would’ve been locked out of ALL my documents too. And the villain could’ve erased everything. Turned out to be a smart move.
- Keep a hard copy of your logins and passwords — Our trusted neighbor was able to access our home while we were out of town. She texted a photo of the sheet to my wife’s phone.
- Be nice to your partner — Because you will be sharing her (or his) phone and laptop for a while. Shower your hero with gratitude.
- Trust Apple’s process — Even though it’s slower than you’d like, it is protecting you.
- Take advantage of the period of liberation—I used to think the devices were enabling my life. I reality, I had permitted them to control my life. Being free of them was like the days of landlines and modems — I could only check messages a couple times a day. I had time to write — longhand. I recommend it.
Preventing the Fiasco
Here’s what I recommend you do:
- Set up two-step authentication on your devices — Hackers would need to have your device also to compromise your AppleID.
- Travel with a hard copy of your logins and passwords and phone numbers, just in case — Find a secure way to do that. I would tell you what I did, but then it wouldn’t be secure, right?
- Stop using easy passwords — Hackers mean business. You should too.
You Can Survive This
I’m living proof.
Sometimes You Need a Little Creativity Boost
My free eBook might just help:
I use these exercises to keep the juices flowing — in myself and in my clients. (I am a marketing consultant, after all.)
You can follow my blog on Medium.
You can follow my journey to get published on Facebook.