Losing your phone doesn’t always mean that your device is far away. Your phone can even be right next to you and you still won’t be able to find it. You could have left it down your sofa, under your bed, or at work, with the Find My iPhone app, your device won’t be lost for too long.
Apple released this app in 2010, allowing users to remotely locate, lock, or wipe their iPhone using iCloud or another iOS device. Find My iPhone is simple, and only requires a little set up before it can be activated.
Find My iPhone is available on all devices equipped with iOS 5 or later. The app is completely free and compatible beginning with the iPhone 3GS (iOS 5), third-generation iPod Touch, iPad, and iPad Mini.
It can save you a bit of money and stress if you do eventually find your phone. The Find My iPhone app helps you find not only your iPhone but also your iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch or AirPods. It won’t prevent you from losing your phone, but it may help you find it so long as you use these steps and take action, you’ll have a much higher chance of finding your phone.
A valid iCloud account is also required and devices without cellular data must be connected to a registered Wi-Fi network to be located.
Enabling Find My iPhone
For obvious reasons, you don’t only need to enable Find My iPhone from your iPhone settings but you also need to turn on the ‘Last Location’. This will enable your iPhone to direct its last location when your phone is about to die. To enable these option:
- Go to Setting
- Choose iCloud
- Tap on Find My iPhone
- Turn on Find My iPhone & Send Last Location
If your battery gets critically low (whatever that means to Apple) enabling Last Location is going to allow your device to store and actually send the location of the iPhone to Apple.
When your battery dies and your phone is lost, when you sign back in to locate your iPhone, it’s going to show you where the device was last located before the power went out.
Once Find My iPhone is enabled, you want to make sure that you set up some extra added security. If you haven’t done this, you need to make sure that you have either your passcode or touch ID and the passcode enabled. To do that you need to:
- Go to settings
- Click on touch ID and passcode
- Then make sure you’ve got one set up
This is going to restrict access to your iPhone if someone were to find your iPhone.
Another thing you can do in the setting is that you can share your location with your family members. So in order to do that:
- Go back to settings
- Click on iCloud
- Setup family sharing
Now you can use Find My iPhone to help find your family members iPhones as well or their iOS devices.
Find Dead iPhone on an iPad or Friend’s iPhone
In order to find a dead iPhone, you’ll need to use either iCloud on your iPad or a friend’s iPhone. This is how you can do it:
- Launch Find My iPhone if, If the device doesn’t belong to you, you’ll need to sign in with your Apple ID and password.
- Once you’ve signed in, you’ll be shown a list of all the devices connected to your Apple ID. Choose your lost iPhone from the list.
- Once you sign in, it’s going to ask you to allow Find My iPhone to access your location while you’re using the app.
This is going to be used to show your location on the map and see how far away your device is so making sure you allow it to use your location is essential.
A dot appearing on the map will direct you to your lost iPhone location. The Green dot means that the device is online, the Blue dot means that you’re currently using the device, and the Grey dot means that it’s offline. If the device was recently online, you can also see the time it was last located. If the device has been offline for over 24 hours, it will tell you that it’s offline.
In order to locate the phone:
- Zoom in to find out the specific area
- Click on Actions
Note: If your device still needs to figure out a more accurate location, the location circle might be large. Wait a few minutes and refresh the map again. If the location circle remains large, your device might not have access to a Wi-Fi or GPS signal.
If Find My iPhone can’t locate the device because it’s offline, you can get an email when it comes online by tapping Notify When Found.
Touch the car icon to get yourself directed to the shown location on the maps. This going to give you turn-by-turn directions so that you can drive to the precise location of your iPhone even if your phone is dead.
Once you’ve located your phone, Find My iPhone can play a sound on your device to help you pinpoint its location. For AirPods, Apple designed a specific sound that can project across a room — and even further.
Finding Your Dead iPhone on a PC
You can find a dead and lost iPhone using a personal computer too. Here’s how you can do it:
- Go to iCloud.com
- Log in with your Apple ID and passcode
- Click on Find My iPhone
- Choose All Devices on your lost iPhone
The map will direct you to the last location where your iPhone was last located.
Enabling Lost Mode
You can lock your lost iPhone when the Lost Mode option is enabled on the Find My iPhone app. In addition, it will also show a phone number to contact in such a situation and tracking of location will be turned on.
This is going to let you protect all of your contact information and data such as photos. It will also prevent access to the phone just in case someone finds it.
Even if you forget to enable services on your iPhone, the Lost Mode feature will turn on location services for your phone.
Lost Mode will work when your iPhone is alive. To turn on Lost Mode on your iPhone:
- Click on Find My iPhone
- Tap your lost device followed by a click on Lost Mode
- Enter a phone number you’ll wish to be contacted at when the iPhone is found
This is the number you want them to call if they do find the phone. You want to write a message you wish to be displayed on the lock screen and click done.
If someone finds your phone they won’t be able to open it up or access it but they can see what you have on that lock screen.
Once your iPhone is found using Find My iPhone and iCloud, you can come out of the Lock Mode by simply unlocking your phone.
Recovery Features by Device
iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch – View Location, Play Sound, Lost Mode, Remote Erase, Activation Lock
Mac – View Location, Play Sound, Lock, Remote Erase
AirPods – View Location, Play Sound
Can’t Find Your Phone Using Find My iPhone?
So say your phone has been lost for a long time and you’re worried that your device has fallen into the wrong hands? You may want to erase it remotely to delete your personal data and restore your iPhone or iPad to its factory settings. But once you do that though, it can’t be located or tracked.
If you retrieve it, you can restore it from your iCloud backup. However, if you recover the iPhone, some of the services may be temporarily unavailable after it’s restored.
Activation Lock is designed to prevent anyone from using or selling your device. The moment you turn on Find My iPhone, your Apple ID and password will be required before anyone can turn off Find My iPhone, erase your device or reactivate it.
In Case Find My iPhone was Disabled
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do if you haven’t enabled Find My iPhone on your phone except for following back your steps. However, if you had the location history for Google Maps enabled on your phone, you’ll get to know where your iPhone was last located.
In case you’re unsure if you enabled the location history or not, visit Google Maps. Enable the option if you haven’t already. Open location history on Google Maps, Sign in with your Google account and choose the date your iPhone was lost. You can then see your location and go and find your phone.