Uh oh, your expensive iPhone is missing. Has it been lost? Has it been stolen?
You can track it down by using Apple’s Find My app from the iCloud website, any of your other Apple devices, or those registered to someone in your family. Or remotely erase all the data on it from the Find My app. With iO5 15, you can also hunt down your phone up to 24 hours after the battery is depleted or the device is turned off.
Of course, the trick here is to enable the necessary settings before your phone disappears so you can more easily locate it when it gets lost. Here’s how to set everything up.
Update Your Phone
First, to find an iPhone that’s turned off or out of power, it needs to be running iOS 15 or higher. Go to Settings > General > Software Update. You’ll be told that iOS is up to date or be prompted to download and install the latest update.
Enable the Find My App
Next, make sure the Find My feature is enabled. Go to Settings > [Your name] > Find My > Find My iPhone and make sure that Find My iPhone, Find My Network, and Send Last Location are all turned on. Respectively, these options will enable Find My iPhone, allow it to work even if your phone is offline or turned off, and send the last known location of your phone when the battery charge is low.
Enable Family Sharing
Another option you’ll want to check and activate is location sharing. You can share your location with family and friends in the Messages app and the Find My feature. To enable this, go to Settings > Find My and turn on Share My Location.
You may also want to enable Family Sharing, which allows participating family members to use their Apple device to see the location of your devices. To check the sharing status of a family member, tap their name, then tap Share My Location to share it with this person. To stop sharing your location with someone, select them and tap Stop Sharing My Location.
Locate a Lost Device From Your iPad
Now, let’s say your phone is lost. If you have another Apple device, fire up the Find My app. If you’re on an iPad registered to your Apple ID, for instance, you can tap Devices to see a list and a map showing the locations of your Apple devices. If your iPhone pops up on the map, tap the icon or select its entry in the list.
Locate a Lost Device From Your Mac
You can do the same from a Mac that is running macOS Catalina or higher. Open Go > Applications > Find My to open the application. Click the Devices tab in the app and choose the missing device when it appears on the map or in the list and select the info button.
Locate a Lost Device With Family Sharing
If you have Family Sharing enabled, you can use the iPhone or iPad of a family member. Open the Find My app on their device and swipe down the pane of detected devices. The app should show all the devices registered under your name; select your missing device.
Locate a Lost Device From the iCloud Website
For those who do not have access to any other device, you can visit your iCloud website to find your phone. Open iCloud.com in a web browser and sign in with your Apple ID and password. Click Find iPhone, then open the All Devices drop-down menu and select your iPhone.
Play Sounds and Get Directions
Once your device has been selected on the map, you can then select from a few different options. Tap Play Sound, and your iPhone emits a pinging, sonar-sounding noise to help you find it. A notice also appears on the screen for a Find My iPhone Alert. Tap Directions to get driving or walking directions to the device’s location.
Play Sounds From Your Apple Watch
If you have an Apple Watch, you can use it to help find your phone. Swipe up from the watch face to display the Control Center. Tap the icon that looks like a ringing phone. Your iPhone emits the pinging noise to help you locate it. The noise goes off just once, so you’ll have to keep tapping the icon to keep the pinging alive.
Mark Device as Lost
If you can’t find your phone, scroll further down the pop-up menu for the missing device. Under the Mark as Lost section, tap Activate. This mode lets you lock your phone so no one else can access it and displays your contact information in case someone finds it.
Erase iPhone Data
If you can’t locate your phone and are concerned about it being accessed by the wrong person, tap Erase This Device to remove your personal information. The downside here is that an erased phone can no longer be tracked on the map, so only use this option if you have given up all hope of finding your phone.