The mobile kill switch

July 2, 2015

You hope it will never happen to you, 113 cell phones are lost or stolen every minute in the US 1. On July 1, 2015, California bill SB-962 went into effect, requiring every phone sold in California to have what’s called a “kill switch”. Simply put, activating the “kill switch” will render the phone unusable if a phone is lost or is lifted from your back pocket. This feature will help find lost phones and make cell phones less attractive to thieves. Since the bill has been in the works for a couple of years, Apple, Google and Microsoft are already on-board. In case a device is recovered, the rightful owner can restore use of a disabled device. Follow the instructions below to enable the “kill switch” on your device:

iPhone or iPad

  • Go to Settings, iCloud and login using your iTunes account.
  • Turn on Find my iPhone (or iPad); this feature is automatically set on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Find my iPhone can locate, send a chime, lock or erases your iPhone (it cannot be re-activated without your iTunes account and password).
  • To activate lost mode, log in to iCloud using your iTunes account from a computer, or use the Find My iPhone IOS app from another mobile device.
  • After logging into iCloud, you can send a message to be displayed on your phone or you can remotely erase the contents of your mobile device.
  • YouTube video instructions

Google Android phone or tablet (Samsung, LG, HTC, etc.)

  • Go to Google Settings, select Android Device Manager and enable “Allow remote lock and factory reset”.
  • To activate lost mode, from a computer or other device, login to the Android Device Manager site or download the Android Device Manager app from the Google Store on another Android device. Android Device Manager features include locating, ringing your phone, setting a lock code (if you haven’t set one) or erases the contents of your device.
  • YouTube video instructions

Have a safe and uncomplicated 4th of July.

If you have questions about this subject or any other technical matter, please call the Help Desk at (805) 493-3698 or send e-mail to

As a reminder, ISS staff will never ask you for your password.

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