Q: My iPhone was lost/stolen last November. Now, I’m noticing pictures on my new iPhone and my iPad taken by the new owner of my lost/stolen iPhone. It must be syncing through iCloud somehow, which means my stuff is syncing too. I called AppleCare, outsourced now to a company called Emphasis. They haven’t a clue on what to do. Anyone have a fix for this?
A: Your photos are most likely syncing via the iCloud Photo Stream feature, which suggests that whoever has your old iPhone now hasn’t bothered to erase it or reconfigure it at all, and is in fact still using your iCloud account.
If you had “Find My iPhone” enabled on the device, you should be able to send a remote erase request by logging into your iCloud account at iCloud.com and selecting the “Erase iPhone” option. This will completely erase everything on your old iPhone, including configuration settings such as your associated iCloud account. This has the advantage of not only preventing future data such as your photos from syncing to the lost/stolen iPhone, but will erase all of your personal data that is already on the device.
Obviously if you have Find My iPhone enabled, it may make more sense to attempt to track down your old iPhone than to simply erase it. Further, even without Find My iPhone enabled, the photos coming through your iCloud Photo Stream may provide identifying information that could help track down your iPhone with the assistance of local law enforcement.
If you did not have Find My iPhone enabled, then sadly your only option is to change your iCloud password by visiting iCloud.com or http://appleid.apple.com. This will prevent your device from syncing with your iCloud account in the future, however any data already on your iPhone will still be accessible.
Even if your device was locked with a passcode, it is possible to take photos from the home screen without entering the passcode. However, photos are only uploaded to the Photo Stream when the device is on a Wi-Fi network, so unless the person who has your old iPhone happens to be on a Wi-Fi network that you had already configured, it’s unlikely that this is the case.