Lost Student iOS Devices


About 2 years ago our school district went 1:1 with iPads. Only MS and HS students take the iPads home. Daily our IT department receives anywhere from 10-40 calls from either librarians, students, or secretaries asking us to locate the missing iPads. Whether or not the iPad is in the building we usually end up placing the iPad in Lost mode until the student can recover the iPad. Once the iPad is recovered the student/librarian/secretary calls us back and we disable lost mode.

The Question(s):
How are others handling these lost iPad situations?
What are your thoughts on giving limited Jamf Pro access to building admins to handle this on their own?

If anyone out there has a better workflow I'd love to hear about it.



While this option works well, we find that if the students/teachers or people find the iPad and we cannot unlock it right away often turn the device off and we can no longer unlock the device and requires a restore. We just do a Mac Address search on our wireless to see if it is currently connected to an access point and point users in that direction. 9/10 times they find it. For things actually lost, your method is best.

More importantly, if the students lose their iPad, they are responsible for the full cost of the device. Students are well aware of this, and once we went this route we see 1-2 people misplace it per week. Giving people access to JAMF just means you have to babysit more users, and likely it won't change the room problem. I'd focus on why your students are misplacing their iPads in the first place.

Valued Contributor

I pull the WIFI mac address from the JSS and Search Clients on our Wireless Controller. If its hitting the network, I'll tell the teacher/student what access point it is connected to currently. If I have the time, I'll walk to that area and turn on the lost mode to see if I can hear it.

We share zero access with admins.

1000(ish) enrollment school.

Valued Contributor III

We also first check the WiFi system to see the AP it is connected to.

I would be leary about providing a large group of end users (even though they may be Administrators) with the ability to track a student device.

Pro Tip: When sending the Enable Lost Mode command, ALSO send the Clear Passcode command. If the iPad is restarted it will be able to connect to the network and receive the Disable Lost Mode command.


We also check the location using our Wireless controller but often students give up their search if the wind direction changes, hence our eventual use of lost mode.

@cdenesha I do like the tip on clearing the passcode at the same time. Might have to implement that one to avoid the no wifi scenario.

I appreciate the feedback everyone!

Valued Contributor II

Ditto to the responses here. I check what AP the device is hanging off first and make the student locate it themselves. I only turn lost mode on about 2% of the time. Middle Schooler's are the worst offenders and I made it a policy to make them look for it rather than us turning lost mode on.

My first question is always "Did you look for it?" Wanna guess the answer I'm given 90% of the time? If you guessed "No" You get 1000 Schrute Bucks.


We do most of the same things others mentioned. However, this is only our second year using Managed Apple IDs so prior to that (and currently for students who started using iPads before we switched to MAIDs) students were able to use Find my iPhone/iPad themselves to activate lost mode and/or start the ping. We are one-to-one in grades 6-8 so each student has their own iPad assigned to only that student. Now with MAIDs Apple's Find My iPhone/iPad is no longer an option so we have to depend on IT staff using JAMF for that.

While we haven't released it yet, 80% of the work was done (enough for a proof of concept test) to use the JAMF API to allow self-service "find my" through JAMF without IT intervention. By using a web page where a student has to log in using their network credentials (the same username as the iPad assignment in JAMF), we can pick up the username in way not easily spoofed without the users password then use the API to activate lost mode and the ping on the iPads associated with that username. Unlock of lost mode could be done the same way. I'm not the one writing the code for this so I'm not sure, but I think the GPS coordinates can also be returned via the API so those could be passed to a Google Maps web page to show the location too.

Because IT using lost mode through JAMF hasn't been all that onerous since this was possible (and a change in job responsibilities for the coder), finishing that hasn't made it high enough on the to-do list of the person in my department working on it. However, I thought I'd highlight the idea here in case someone else is plagued by this enough to be more motivated.

Here's an example posted (by @syncron) a year or so ago: https://www.jamf.com/jamf-nation/feature-requests/5241/enable-lost-mode-through-api#responseChild22995


Thank you all for the feedback! Seems like we're all doing this the same painful way.