How to Use Find My iPhone to Locate a Lost or Stolen Device
Losing your iPhone or iPad can be a frustrating experience. Luckily, Apple offers a free tool to help you find your lost device. Even if you are unable to physically get your iPhone or iPad back, the Find My iPhone tool can help prevent a thief from getting your personal data.
In order to utilize this tool, you need to have Find My iPhone, that is part of iCloud, enabled on your devices before it is lost or stolen. Find My iPhone is also a free app that is installed on any other Apple device you may own.
While we will cover using the web-based tool here, the app works in a similar fashion.
How to Use Find My iPhone to Find your iPhone or iPad:
1) Log in to iCloud through a web browser by going to https://www.icloud.com. You will need to enter the Apple ID and password that you used when setting up your device.
2) Click on Find My iPhone under the tools available. Find My iPhone will then then begin to locate all of your enabled devices linked to your account.
3) If you have multiple devices set up with your account, select All Devices at the top of the screen and then click on the device you are trying to locate.
4) If it is able locate your device, Find My iPhone shows the location of the device using a green dot. When this happens, you can zoom in or out of the map, and view it in standard, satellite, and hybrid modes, like in Google Maps. When your device is found, a window appears in the right corner of your web browser. It lets you know how much battery your phone has and offers a few options.
5) If you believe that you have lost your device nearby, click Play Sound. This will play a loud notification through your iPhone or iPad’s speakers even if the device is on vibrate or silent. If your phone is nearby, you can follow the sound to find your device.
If your device is not close by or you believe your device is actually stolen:
Find My iPhone offers a few extra tools to aid you should your device get lost far away or if it is stolen and unrecoverable. Follow the steps listed above to find the location of your phone.
You can select Lost Mode which will allow you to remotely lock your iPhone or iPad screen and set up a passcode (even if you have never previously used a passcode before).
Once you click the Lost Mode button, enter the passcode you want to use. If you already have a passcode on the device, that code will be used. You can also enter a phone number where the person who has the device can reach you (this is optional; you may not want to share this information if it’s been stolen). You also have the option to write a message that is displayed on the device’s screen.
If you don’t think that you will ever be able to recover your device, you can also use the Find My iPhone tool to delete all data from your device. To do this, click the Erase button. You will see a warning asking if you are sure that you want to proceed (as this option is usually a last resort). You will need to click that you understand the warning and then click erase again. This will delete all of the data on your device, preventing a thief from accessing it.
What to Do if Your iPhone or iPad is Offline:
Even if you have enabled Find My iPhone on your devices, your device may not show up on the map. The main reasons for your device not showing up are that it has been turned off or has a dead battery, it isn’t connected to the internet, or it has its Location Services turned off.
Even if Find My iPhone isn’t working correctly, you still have a few options:
You can select the Notify Me When Found box. This will send you an alert when your device next connects to the internet so that you can locate it using the steps above.
Additionally, the options listed above (Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase) are all still available. Select an option and, the next time the device connects to the internet, the option will happen.