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find lost iphoneUp until the recent iOS 4.2 update of Apple”˜s mobile devices, if you wanted a way to locate your lost or stolen iPhone, you had to be an MobileMe 5 Free Apps To Substitute Apple's MobileMe Service (Mac) 5 Free Apps To Substitute Apple's MobileMe Service (Mac) Read More subscriber, which means forking over $99 per year. But now every owner of a mobile device can get a powerful MobileMe feature called Find My iPhone, for free by simply signing up.

As a MobileMe subscriber, I’ve used Find My iPhone for almost a year now, and though my iPhone has never been stolen, it has located the device on the floor of my car, behind my bedroom bedside table, and in the dirty clothes hamper, more than a few times. So believe me, Find My iPhone is definitely worth installing on your iPhone and/or other Apple devices.

Requirements & Setup

If you have own any model iPhone, iPad, or 4th generation iPod touch, you can use the Find My iPhone service and app.

find lost iphone

You will need to download the free Find My iPhone app (iTunes Store link) for all your qualifying Apple iOS4 devices. If you don’t have the app on your device, then of course you can’t use the service to locate it.

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find my iphone

Next, you need to launch the app and sign up for an Apple ID account, which also in the process registers your device. Note, if you’re a MobileMe member, you will not be able to use  the other services in the control panel shown on the page, just the Find My iPhone feature.

If you’re already a MobileMe subscriber, you don’t have to sign up again for the Find My iPhone service, but you will have to go through the setup again via your devices in order to sync it with the new Find My iPhone update.

How To Use It

If your iPhone is ever lost or stolen – not just simply misplaced around the house – you will want a quick way to activate the service.

I set up a bookmark to my MobileMe account for quick access. The bookmark is not buried in a folder, for if I need a family member to download the account page, I want it to be easily and quickly found.

So when you need to use the service, you need to go to www.me.com/find and sign in.

find my iphone

Note: if your device does not show up on the page or if it says “Location services are disabled“, launch the Settings app of your mobile device, tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars > your email account. Then set the Find My iPhone button to on.

If your device is connected to an Edge, 3G or Wi-Fi network, a blue circle shows its estimated location on the map. A smaller circle means a more precise location.

find my iphone

Actions To Take

If your device is lost or stolen, you want to act quickly. You have the following options:

  1. Display Message or Play Sound: You can type out a message about where you can be reached for returning your device. And/or you can have a sound played on your device. The message will appear or the sound will play even if your device is locked or set to mute.
  2. You can also send a new passcode to your device which remotely locks it. Be sure of course to send a code that you remember so you can unlock the device after it’s retrieved.
  3. If you”˜re worried about someone accessing important information on your device, you can have all the data permanently deleted, which in turn restores it to factory settings. As the instructions say, “Once wiped, your iPhone (or other device) will no longer be able to display messages or be located“.

find misplaced iphone

In most cases, the Find My iPhone service has located my phone in less than a minute, but one occasion it took almost ten minutes. But out of the handful of times I’ve used it, it’s never failed to locate the device.

find lost iphone

It seems as though the now free Find My iPhone service means Apple may be in the process of making some other MobileMe features (syncing bookmarks, contacts, and data) available for free in future upgrades of their devices or the iOS. But for now, Find My iPhone is a must-have app and service – probably the best and only way for retrieving your device if it’s lost or stolen.

So let us know if you have used Find My iPhone to find your lost iPhone. Has it ever helped you get your phone back? Are there other features you wish would be included? Let us know.

  1. pedro
    April 27, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    can someone help me to find my ipod please

  2. Herbert
    May 21, 2015 at 9:49 am

    If you iPhone or iPad are turned off, find my iPhone is not going to work! I tried it! I turned off my iPhone and try to locate in my room, but it was not found. I turned off Aldo my iPad and used the iCloud find my iPhone and none of the came up. If any one knows how to solve this problem, please post it.

  3. Bakari
    January 22, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Jameslee, sorry to hear about your iPhone. Yes, I would think if your battery has shut down the phone that the tracker won’t work. If the guy is smart enough he probably has already deleted tracker somehow. It would be interesting to find out if the passcode is required to delete the app.

  4. jameslee
    January 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    my iphone 4 got stolent , so i tracked the guy down but i cant find after 2 or three days as i keep refreshing , i doesnt work , does it still track the iphone when the battery runs out of power???

    • Bakari
      January 22, 2011 at 7:35 pm

      Jameslee, sorry to hear about your iPhone. Yes, I would think if your battery has shut down the phone that the tracker won’t work. If the guy is smart enough he probably has already deleted tracker somehow. It would be interesting to find out if the passcode is required to delete the app.

  5. susan
    January 4, 2011 at 1:41 am

    If you have a 4th gen device and you set it up with that, you can use it with your iphone 3g. I have an ipad and a 3g iphone and was able to do that.

  6. aeferg
    January 3, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    The app actually says iPhone 4, just went to download it.

  7. WhereIsMyiPhone
    December 28, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    To my misfortune, I didn't have Find My iPhone or any other GPS app installed when my iPhone was stolen, boo! I reported it on http://www.stolen-property.com/, a website where you can report a stolen iPhone. Hmm, I hope it helps...from what I've been reading online I'm not exactly holding my breath.

  8. WhereIsMyiPhone
    December 28, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    To my misfortune, I didn't have Find My iPhone or any other GPS app installed when my iPhone was stolen, boo! I reported it on http://www.stolen-property.com... a website where you can report a stolen iPhone. Hmm, I hope it helps...from what I've been reading online I'm not exactly holding my breath.

  9. Bakari
    December 15, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    That’s an excellent point. It seems to me that Apple could make it so the app could not be deleted or that it be built into the system.

  10. wyllis
    December 10, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    yeah, the older iPhones are unable to configure mobile me, you need access to a gen 4 device to setup your account and then you can access it from your older iPhone. at least, that's what Apple says...

  11. Guest123
    November 29, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Couldn't somebody who stole your iTouch/iPhone/iPad just restore the device to factory settings and have themself an untraceable, nice new device? I'm not really sure Apple put enough thought into this..

  12. Bakari
    November 27, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Hmmm, I need to double-check that, because that’s what I copied and pasted from the Apple site.

  13. Bakari
    November 27, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Haha, good point. Maybe put it inside a folder—might buy you about 15 minutes before they find and delete it.

  14. Kapil Gupta
    November 27, 2010 at 4:43 am

    I think now anybody who steals iPod, iPhone or iPad will first find this app and delete it from the device before doing any other thing.

    • Burner6336
      November 27, 2010 at 6:08 am

      Hopefully it will be locked, and thus, they cannot access it.

    • Bakari
      November 27, 2010 at 6:13 am

      Haha, good point. Maybe put it inside a folder—might buy you about 15 minutes before they find and delete it.

    • Holly
      December 15, 2010 at 9:14 am

      I wholly agree with you.

    • Bakari
      December 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm

      That’s an excellent point. It seems to me that Apple could make it so the app could not be deleted or that it be built into the system.

  15. sho
    November 27, 2010 at 3:03 am

    Tried this with my iPhone 3G and it says I can't sign up for a free MobileMe account which is required. It says my device is unsupported. Anyone else have any luck?

    • FreeNothing
      November 27, 2010 at 3:08 am

      Same here - The requirements are you have to have a 4th Gen device to qualify for the free account - thanks for nothing Apple

    • sho
      November 27, 2010 at 3:35 am

      Then, this article should be modified accordingly because it's misleading with the following statement which leads one to believe that it works with ANY model iPhone.

      "If you have own any model iPhone, iPad, or 4th generation iPod touch"

    • Bakari
      November 27, 2010 at 6:14 am

      Hmmm, I need to double-check that, because that’s what I copied and pasted from the Apple site.

    • Kevin Bondelli
      November 27, 2010 at 6:59 am

      Did not work with my 3GS either.

  16. sho
    November 27, 2010 at 4:35 am

    Then, this article should be modified accordingly because it's misleading with the following statement which leads one to believe that it works with ANY model iPhone.

    "If you have own any model iPhone, iPad, or 4th generation iPod touch"

  17. Kelly Neuville
    November 27, 2010 at 1:49 am

    Re: "If you have own any model iPhone, iPad, or 4th generation iPod touch, you can use the Find My iPhone service and app" - Ummm, am I missing something? I have a 3GS and Apple's site (http://www.apple.com/iphone/fi... states "Make sure your iPhone is running iOS 4.2. If you’re creating a free account for the first time, you need an iPhone 4". Bummer..
    Is there a workaround?

  18. Kelly Neuville
    November 27, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Re: "If you have own any model iPhone, iPad, or 4th generation iPod touch, you can use the Find My iPhone service and app" - Ummm, am I missing something? I have a 3GS and Apple's site (http://www.apple.com/iphone/find-my-iphone-setup/) states "Make sure your iPhone is running iOS 4.2. If you’re creating a free account for the first time, you need an iPhone 4". Bummer..
    Is there a workaround?

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