How to use find my iPhone

Apple’s Find My iPhone feature is a useful tool when you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having misplaced your Apple handset. Here’s how to use it properly.

iPhones are expensive, but it’s not just the money you have to worry about when you lose your phone, it’s all of the data too. From passwords and photos to Passbook credit cards, misplacing your iPhone or having it stolen can cause a lot of problems.

Fortunately, Apple introduced Find My iPhone in iOS 4.2 back in 2010, which makes finding and recovering your phone a lot easier.

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When you open the Find My iPhone app, you’ll either be logged in already and taken to a map screen where you can track your devices or you’ll need to sign in with your iCloud account.

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Keep Track

Once you’re logged in, you can track multiple devices (iPhones, iPads, Macbooks) and see where they are on the map.

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If your devices don’t appear straight away, a compass icon will tell you it’s in the process of locating them.

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With Find My iPhone enabled, if your iPhone goes missing all you need to do is sign in to your iCloud account at icloud.com/find. You’ll then be able to see where your phone is on the map as well as play an alert sound, activate lost mode, or erase all the data on the device.

Family Sharing

It’s not just your iPhone you can track either. You can set up a Family Sharing group which lets you find your family (or friends’) iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks. If little Susie loses her iPhone, you’ll be able to see whether she’s left it on the bus, dropped it down the back of the sofa or in the worst case scenario, had it stolen. 

Play Sound & Lost Mode

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If you can’t remember where you put your iPhone, tap Play Sound to make it play a loud beeping sound which will hopefully give you a clue as to its whereabouts.

No luck finding it yet? It’s time to activate Lost mode. This immediately locks your iPhone with a passcode, displays a message on the screen (which you can customise) and keeps track of its location. Lost mode is pretty clever as it not only stops the phone from displaying alerts, notifications, or making any sound, but also turns on location settings so you can track the phone.

Erase Data

If you’re worried about your data being stolen, Find My iPhone gives you the option to Erase iPhone. Bear in mind though, once you erase all the data you won’t be able to track your phone using Find My iPhone – so it should be used as a last resort.

Be Careful

Convinced your phone has been stolen? Call the police and report your phone as missing or stolen. Let them know you can track it using Find my iPhone as it may help their investigation. If it has been stolen, don’t try and recover it yourself.

It’s definitely worth making sure you have Find my iPhone enabled on your phone as you never know when you may need it.

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