Does ‘Find my iPhone’ work if the battery dies on the lost phone?

Jeff August 15, 2011
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Does ‘Find my iPhone’ work if the battery dies on the lost phone?

  1. pamela d
    June 30, 2012 at 4:32 am

    just went psycho looking for my purse with known "dead"iPhone 4s inside and it di NOT MAKE A SOUND.. (on my previous iPhones 3 and 4 it DID WORK)
    Finally found the purse (not by the help of the beep sound!) with dead iPhone inside which i remotely locked and wiped due to not locating...wonder why no sound now?
    It is of zero value then....

  2. alivia
    June 27, 2012 at 4:46 am

    i lost my ipod a week ago and i need it. ik its dead and i didnt leave it in a public place. its rather in the car or my house is there anything you can do???

  3. John
    June 23, 2012 at 7:57 am

    If my 3G is off, location services are off and my wifi is not connected can my phone still be tracked? And if not will the location data still be there is they reset the whole phone?

    • Tim Brookes
      June 27, 2012 at 1:42 am

      If location services are disabled for Find My Phone (it's in a separate menu, Settings > Location Services > Find My Phone) then your phone is not trackable. I believe you can actually turn off Location Services but still have Find My Phone enabled, hence the separate menu.

      If you have it enabled and you have no Internet connection whatsoever (no 3G signal, no Wi-Fi or the phone is off) then it can also not be located.

      It's a nice little feature to have, if a little limited in its application. Saying that, I'd rather have some option to track my phone than no option at all.

  4. Joe prensliam
    June 4, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    hey guys can i still find my iphone if the thief turned it off

    • Mike
      June 6, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      Any means to find a phone by software requires the phone to be turned on.

      This is also the case for "Find my iPhone":
      In order to get its position it has to be turned on and either connected to a WiFi or the cellular network with Cellular Data (3G or Edge) being available.

      If the phone is turned off you won't get a position.
      If the phone was restored to default you won't get a position either.

  5. Kaly
    June 3, 2012 at 4:02 am

    I hv just lost my iphone this morning, i been trying the Find my Iphone but it just says that its offline.. Is there another way to try to find It? :(

    • Mike
      June 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      "Find my iPhone" is a software solution (tracking) system.
      It requires the iPhone to be turned on and connected to either WiFi or the cellular network with Cellular Data (3G or Edge) being available.

      If "Find my iPhone" says it's 'offline' I'm afraid you won't be able to get a position.

  6. William Goetz
    June 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    TV and crime/spy novels suggest: 1) Under certain circumstances, a cell phone can be tracked, and its position triangulated, even if the phone is turned off. 2) The only way to prevent such tracking/positioning is to physically remove the battery from the phone. 3) Removal of the SIM card and/or CMOS are not noted as relevant. I assume this means that they must be left in the phone for it to be tracked/positioned. 4) It is not noted as relevant whether tracking/positioning is possible if a dead battery is left in the phone, rather than removed. I assume that if a dead battery is left in the phone, it cannot be triangulated, since that seems to be equivalent to #2. 5) Unless a sufficient trickle charge to allow triangulation always remains in the battery, despite the phone being inoperable and the battery indicator registering essentially a dead battery (if the icon is visible at all when the battery is dead).

    Any accuracy to the above 5 claims/assumptions?

    Feel free to assume the average consumer and police department does not have access to NSA or DARPA technologies/software, and that the average consumer and police department cannot get a warrant for such a triangulation, even if it is possible.

  7. Jamal
    May 20, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    No it does not work on dead phones

  8. Don
    May 1, 2012 at 11:55 am

    If your battery is dead, Find My Phone is useless. It does not tell where you phone was even before it went dead. At least that is the case after several hours of being dead.

    I assume just shutting it off would also render Find My Phone useless as well as that would turn off location services. I don't think the carrier would even be able to find the SIM as the phone will not be polling when it is turned off.

    Does anybody know for sure?

  9. william
    April 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    people can reset your ipod or iphone with itunes so you can track it

  10. william
    April 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    even if you lost any apple device anyone can just reset it with itunes so you can not track it

  11. sarah
    April 24, 2012 at 4:59 am

    you should give it back its a dead phone the only people who can reactivate them are the original owners who posted it stolen. Idiot!!!

  12. Sandrine Moore
    April 17, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    No it will not work I tried it I lost my ipod today and since I turned it off it says it's "offine" so it can't locate it, I'm so mad , stupid apps

  13. Johnnelso
    March 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    If the thief waits a few days for you to replace and activate your new iphone, can they then safely turn on the stolen phone and not have be traced to Find My Phone? And will my last command to lock and wipe the original stolen phone still apply.  Currently it still says the phone has not been connected to the internet.  I have waited 3 days in hope it will be connected so I can erase it.  

    • Wwrew
      April 15, 2012 at 11:38 am

      find my iPhone is useless

      few ways to find  mobile  phone
      1. by IMEI number ,,, hardware way
      2. some software as find my phone  o bla way
      3.if you  know the thief then show him for  police . ..classic way

      how the thief  avoid these way

      1. until know no way out  but the  point  is service  provider  and  police don't  offer  this service  for  just stole mobile  

      2. track it  by  internet

      3. they don't  hold the  stolen phone with themselves 

      best way 
      forget  it 

    • Mike
      April 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      As long as the old iPhone is linked to the Apple ID "Find my iPhone" will list it next to the new device.

      That's also the catch: Instead of simply turning it on you can start it in Recovery or DFU Mode and restore to factory defaults.
      The iPhone then is no longer linked to 'your' Account and can safely be turned on.

      Previous commands won't be executed.

  14. Sagacious2100
    February 14, 2012 at 2:54 am

    nope ive been trying to use it for 3 days apparently my phones dead

  15. El Espinoza
    January 28, 2012 at 5:13 am

    if the locations are turn on in such device, but it can only conect to web through a Wifi, (if is locked up) can i still get location with out someone really intentionally conects, (since its locked, it cant be conected?.. is there a way?

  16. Johnmurheen
    January 18, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    It will not, tho If the iphone is locked, the battery wont be wasted. But if it died before you lost it then sorry 

  17. Lilmamm23480
    November 30, 2011 at 1:11 am

    hello anyone, ok i have "misplaced" or someone stole my iphone. I'm wondering if you can track it with it being disable and the find my iphone isnt on there? can you do that. Also, the battery is bout to die.

    • Mike
      November 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm

      I'm afraid you will not be able to locate your iPhone if
      a) Find my iPhone was never setup.
      b) location services are turned of.
      c) the battery "died".

      If you still have the original iPhone packaging write down your iPhones IMEI and Serial No. [located at the back side of it] and file a report with the police stating both of them.
      With the police report you can then have the IMEI blocked from your carriers network and the Serial No. blacklisted at Apple.

      Neither means you will actually get your iPhone back. Whoever has your phone will simply not be able to use the same carrier and if this person ever goes to an Apple Store, Apple Authorized Service Partner or Distributor they won't get any support for the blacklisted device.

      • Wmhua3
        April 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

        are you sure the polilce can do the blacklist for stolen iphone?

        • Mike
          April 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm

          The police doesn't do any blacklisting.

          But depending on who you are talking to at your provider you may need some proof that the IMEI was yours and had been stolen.
          Same goes for Apple and the Serialnumber.
          The police report is the best for that

  18. Faiz WB
    November 3, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    You guys are stupid, i know more than all of you.

    • Jeff Fabish
      November 4, 2011 at 12:08 am

      Uh-Rude. That's no way to prove that you're more intelligent. 

      PS: You forgot to capitalize your "I".

    • Tina
      November 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm


      we would be more than honored if you could share your knowledge with us. Please feel free to respond to any questions you feel you can answer better than we can.

      • jose
        May 31, 2012 at 2:47 am

        can i still track mi ihpone if the sim cared is off

        • Tina
          June 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm

          I'm afraid you can't!

  19. Mike
    August 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Although the answers are already here:
    Yes, "Find my iPhone" does require some power (battery) to pinpoint it's current location. If the battery is dead it will show you the last known location ~ ideally it will be one from within the last minutes up to an hour. If you are out of luck it might be a position from days or weeks ago.

    At the end of the day it uses the same location services like all other Apps do and requires the same components to be active (powered). Depending on your device and it's connectivity this can be a A(ssisted)-GPS position down to a pure WiFi location estimate like it is for an iPod touch.

    As for what Aibek said: I haven't done any tests but I assume location services will work another few hours after it's "dead". Since Li-Ion batteries should never be completely depleted the iPhone shuts itself off at a fictiv 0% charge ~ from the batteries few this should be around 3-5% of it's total capacity which theoretically leaves enough power for components responsible for location services.

    • Tassa Saldi
      October 31, 2011 at 8:07 am

      Does anyone know of any aps that allow a person to save energy for iPhone locating and such? I think it would be nice if the phone went to sleep with a little power on board for locating services

      • Jeff Fabish
        November 4, 2011 at 12:03 am

        Hi Tassa,

        You'll have more luck if you open up a new question, as this one has been buried. 

    • luv #9
      November 6, 2011 at 3:02 am

      wow your smart

    • Circesong
      November 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm

      how do i see the last known location?

      • Mike
        November 30, 2011 at 8:38 pm

        Go to and login with the Apple ID you used to setup Find my iPhone on the device.

  20. Aibek
    August 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I checked a few threads online and all seem to suggest that Find My iPhone feature doesn't work when the phone runs out of battery. That being said, I wonder if there is alternative power source for that specifically (like a CMOS battery on motherboards).

    • pamela d
      June 30, 2012 at 4:33 am

      i seriously think my iPhone 3 and 4 both sounded beep with out battery and that was what I thought was amazing...?

  21. James Bruce
    August 16, 2011 at 7:52 am

    If there is no power in the phone, then no. It will however reprt the last known location, as far as I know. 

  22. Jeffery Fabish
    August 16, 2011 at 5:52 am

    After scouring the Apple documentation (Just kidding, there is none. God I hate Apple) I found that indeed, it will still work granted the SIM card is still attached and your "MobileMe" account is still active. 

    Of course the whole reason why your battery is presumably dead is because FindMyIphone was active (:

    • Sibongile Nojozi
      October 12, 2011 at 7:49 am

      so are you telling me that i can be able to locate my lost ipad even when is switched off? as long as the mobile me account is active and SIM still attached?

      • MIKE
        November 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm

        I can tell you from recent experience that if your battery is dead the "find my phone" service WILL NOT WORK

        • Jeff Fabish
          November 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm

          Yes, I apologize. I was incorrect. 

    • MIKE
      November 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      I can tell you from recent experience that if your battery is dead the "find my phone" service WILL NOT WORK

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