How To Find Your Lost iPhone

Here's how to use a free app to find your missing iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch in a jiffy.

Brian Burgess, Executive Editor, BYTE

August 21, 2011

3 Min Read

Lost your iPod, iPad, or iPod Touch? Take a breath. If you have another iOS device handy, there's a good chance Apple's free Find My iPhone app can help.

Find My iPhone can locate any other iOS device from another or the Web. It can even give you remote control of the missing device; that way you can protect it by locking it or, if sensitive info is at stake, wipe its data. Find My iPhone works with the iPad and iPod Touch, too, despite the iPhone name.

Here's your first step:

Download and install Find My iPhone on every iOS device you own. (Here I'm downloading it onto my iPod Touch.) Launch it. Log in with your Apple ID.

To enable it, navigate to Settings, Mail, Contacts, Calendars >> Add Account >> MobileMe. Here's what that looks like on my iPad.

Log in using your Apple ID to turn MobileMe on.

Allow MobileMe to use the location of your device. Click OK.

Here you see I turned on Find My iPad. Tap Save.

Back on the Mail, Contact, Calendars page, under Accounts, see your new MobileMe Find My iPad account.

If you have two or more iOS devices and lose one, now you know you use one to find the other. Let's try a real-life example. I'll hide my little iPod touch somewhere in my house and use the Find My iPhone app on my iPad to find it.

Launch Find My iPhone. Log in with your Apple ID.

Tap Devices. The first device on the list is highlighted by default. To find your lost device, find it on the list and tap. (In my case, I tapped iPod to launch the search.)

If you lost it around the house or office, set it to play a sound and display a message.

When the program finds it, your lost device starts beeping. If you created a message for it, that will display on the lost device's screen.

If you lose your iOS device and don't have another one to use to find it, log into with your Apple ID.

The next page looks like the one on your iOS device. Click the device you're looking for.

I loved the ability to drill down to the location of the missing device using Google Maps, all the way to street view. Very cool.

From the Find My iPhone site you also can display a message on the lost device, lock it, or wipe its data.

Locking your device will require you to enter your existing passcode (or enter a new one twice).

If you absolutely cannot find your device, and have sensitive data on it, I recommend you wipe it clean.

Brian Burgess is executive editor at BYTE. Follow him @mysticgeek. Got a comment or idea? Send it to him at [email protected].

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