If you own an iPhone make sure your Find My iPhone feature is enabled. Find My iPhone is one of the services offered by Apple’s iCloud service. The Find My iPhone feature helps you locate your iPhone, lock it and potentially erase it. Best of all, Find My iPhone is a theft deterrent since this feature makes your phone essentially useless to anybody else. Specifically, it enables a feature that Apple calls Activation Lock. However, all of these benefits require that you enable this feature before the iPhone gets misplaced or stolen.
If you enable the Find iPhone feature and your iPhone is stolen, it won’t be very useful to anybody. Whoever ends up with your phone likely want to erase your iPhone and setup it as a new phone and sign up for cell phone service. They will be unable to do this unless they are able to turn of the Find My iPhone feature which they won’t be able to do without your AppleID password.
Here are instructions on enabling and subsequently using this feature. These instructions work on iOS versions up to iOS 10.2. If you have iOS 10.3 or higher, please follow these updated instructions.
- Wake up your iPhone and tap on Settings
- Scroll down to and tap on iCloud (I assume you already have an AppleID account and have logged into your iCloud account using your AppleID username and password.)
- Scroll down and locate Find My iPhone and then tap on it.
- Slide the slider on the right so you can see this green. This turns on the Find My iPhone service, if it wasn’t already on.
- Important: Also turn on the Send Last Location feature by sliding its slider to the right. This feature will make the phone to automatically send it’s physical location when it’s battery is critically low and about to die.
- Tap the button in the upper left corner to return to the previous screen.
That’s it. Find My iPhone is now enabled
Let’s examine how to use Find My iPhone.
The follow features are available from both the Find My Phone app that works on iPhones and iPads or Apple’s iCloud web site which you can access only from a computer. The following instructions are for the Find My Phone app.
- On any iPhone or iPad, tap on the Find My Phone app.
- Sign in using by entering your AppleID username (typically an email address) and AppleID password. If you’re using a friend’s iPhone then you might see their AppleID username listed but you can select this, remove it and enter your own.
- As soon as you sign-in, the app will begin to collect the location of all Macs and iOS devices that have the Find My Device feature enabled.
- Tap on one of the devices, such as your iPhone.
- Tap the Actions button which appears at the bottom of the screen
- Three options, Play Sound, Lost Mode and Erase iPhone are listed.
Play Sound will make the iPhone make a loud beeping noise even if you have the phone muted. This is helpful to locate your iPhone if it’s under the couch or under a seat in a dark restaurant or movie theatre.
Lost Mode will lock the phone to prevent others from accessing it and it gives you the opportunity to display your contact info on the lock screen in case somebody else finds your iPhone. If the iPhone is on and connected to your cell phone company’s network then the iPhone can report its location.
Lastly, Erase iPhone will erase all of your content and settings. Once you do this, the iPhone’s location can no longer be reported or tracked.
If you ever misplace your iPhone, I hope you will be able to use Find My iPhone to recover your phone.