How to Use Find My iPhone to Track, Lock or Erase Your Device
In this digitally connected world, it is natural for a tech-savvy individual to carry multiple mobile devices at any given point in time. However, this increases the chances of misplacing or losing a device too. Thefts cannot be ruled out as well, especially if you carry expensive or high-end brands like Apple.
Now, the good news is that, even if you lose your Apple device, finding the same is not impossible, thanks to the “ecosystem” that Apple has been developing and perfecting over the years. So, keep reading if you want to know how to locate lost iPhone or just want some tips to use Find My iPhone feature.
But first, know more about Find My iPhone feature
Every iOS device, or any Apple device in this case, comes with Apple’s standard Find My iPhone feature. This service, as the name suggests, is an amazing tool that can help you find your lost iPhone, lock it, and erase lost iPhone data. The Find My iPhone service is available on every Apple device and can come in super handy in case your device is lost, or worse, stolen.
However, there are a few prerequisites for the Find my iPhone feature to work as desired. First, the feature needs to be turned on for the device in question. Another requirement is that the target device should have an internet connection since the feature does not support Offline Finding on iCloud. With AirPods, the feature will work if the AirPods are out of the case and in the proximity of any device running iOS or iPadOS.
Once it has been switched on, the feature will let you locate your device on a map. You can even play a sound on the device to help you find it. The sound will play even if the device is in silent mode or if the volume has been muted.
How the Lost Mode helps Find My iPhone feature
The Find My iPhone feature also comes with a Lost Mode, which when switched on, will lock your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch or MacBook. This will prevent others from accessing information stored on your device. You can also choose to display a custom message on the Lock Screen, where you can provide your phone number and name so that if someone finds your device, they can contact you easily.
After activating Lost Mode, your device will stop showing any alerts or notification but can still receive calls and FaceTime calls. The Lost Mode also disables Apple Pay and any credit or debit card linked with it. If someone has stolen your iPhone, they won’t be able to use your Apple Pay, Express Travel Card or Student ID card for their own purpose. After finding your device, you can unlock it by signing in with your Apple ID and can start using the services once more.
Then there is the Activation Lock, which is switched on automatically when the Find My iPhone feature is set up. This lock will prevent anyone from using the phone unless the right Apple ID and password combination is entered. This is the same ID and password you will need to sign out of iCloud or to turn to the Find My iPhone feature.
To ensure complete security, a remote ‘Erase’ feature is also available, wherein you have the option to delete all your personal information and other data even if you don’t have physical access to the device. This feature should be used carefully as you won’t be able to recover lost iPhone data after erasing it. You can erase data from another Apple device as well if Family Sharing has been set up.
How to turn on Find my iPhone
- Go to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Your Apple ID will be displayed at the top. Tap on it.
- Next, tap on Find My.
- Tap on the Find My iPhone option that appears in the next screen.
- Enable the Find My iPhone option. While you are doing that, it is advised to enable the Find My Network and Send Last Location options.
The Find My Network option comes in handy when the lost device isn’t connected to the internet. Apple will make use of the Find My service available on other devices in the proximity of your lost phone and will crowdsource its location. The best part about this feature is that the owner of the device won’t even know that their device is being used to find an Apple iPhone device and they can use the phone normally.
The Send Last Location feature has a trigger mechanism of sending the last location of the device to the Find My service when its battery is critically low and the device is close to being switched off.
How to use Find my iPhone on iPhone and iPad:
There is also the Find My iPhone app that you can use to locate a lost iPhone. Here is how the app works.
- Open the Find My iPhone app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
- Alternatively, you can use the Apple device of one of your members in the Family Sharing group or any other Apple device.
- Use your iCloud ID to log in.
- Once you have logged in, click the All Devices option present at the top of the screen. You should be able to see the devices linked to your iCloud ID.
- Tap on the device that you want to track. It will show you the current location of your device on the map or will show the last identified location before the device was turned off.
- Once you’ve selected a device, you will be shown the options Play Sound, Directions, Notifications, Mark As Lost, and Erase This Device at the bottom.
- Select the option that suits your requirements.
Using Find my iPhone on the Web
- Open any web browser and launch iCloud.com.
- Enter your credentials to log into your iCloud account.
- In the main menu, click on the Find iPhone option.
- You might be required to sign in using your Apple ID and password. Do so if prompted.
- Click on the All Devices option at the top to see the list of devices associated with your account.
- Click on the device that you wish to track.
Losing a device can be stressful, especially if it is your beloved iPhone or Mac which you absolutely can’t live without. Thankfully, Apple provides a lot of options to its users when it comes to locating a lost device or preventing its unethical use. While the Find My service is great for tracking your device, it can also lock it or erase everything inside to protect your personal information, bank details, photos, and more.
Even if you know how to use Find My iPhone option quite thoroughly and have located your lost or stolen device before, it is advisable to not confront a thief on your own. Contact the authorities instead with the location details. You can also contact your carrier to flag the International Mobile Equipment Identity number of the device and render it useless for anyone who has it. Apple also provides theft and loss claim for a replacement device if you have signed up for the AppleCare+ service.
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