At any point and time, your iPhone, the most expensive hardware in your pocket, can go missing. Theft isn't the only enemy of the iPhone, so how do you keep it safe? If you have a computer with internet access, it can be as easy as using Find My iPhone. This article will detail what is considered an essential tool for any owner an internet connected device.
What Is The Purpose Of Find My iPhone and How Does It Work?
Find My iPhone is a lot more diverse than the name implies. It can be used to find an iPad, iPod, Mac, Apple watch and of course iPhone. Whether lost or stolen, Find My iPhone is useful in locating a device that is out of reach. The software is a good way to keep all of the mentioned devices accounted for, whether at home or out and about.
Find My iPhone uses technology that is already built into devices that use location services. By using your iPhone's GPS or cell service, Find My iPhone will show you an approximate location on the map of where the device is. Once you get hang of the basic features, the advanced ones will change how interact with your device remotely.
The whole process starts by navigating to icloud.com/find from your favorite web browser. The flexibility of the website makes it easy to visit from a computer running any operating system. The only thing you need is your Apple ID and password to log in. From the main screen, the map will show your registered devices. To view all devices registered with the Find My iPhone software, go to All Devices from the top of the screen. From this control panel, you can put the device into lost mode, play a sound or remotely erase the device. Setting up the software correctly is important for getting the exact location. On the map, all registered devices will show up as a green dot.
What Happens If Find My iPhone Doesn't Work?
Here are a few troubleshooting steps to follow if Find My iPhone doesn't work:
1. Ensure That Find My iPhone is Turned On
Enable Find My iPhone by going into the menu in Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone
There is a switch that should be green to signal that the service is turned on.
As an additional task, turn on Send Last Location. This isn't essential, but helps in a dire situation when the device has a low battery. It will broadcast its last known location before running out of juice.
2. Toggle Location Services On for Find My iPhone
Due to a range of permissions, Find My iPhone also needs to be enabled from location services. The switch for the software should be green, just like in the previous step. You can find this specific menu at Settings > Privacy > Location Services. There will be a large list of apps to go through, so you can also troubleshoot other apps that are having similar issues with location services. Look for Find My iPhone, and set it to the appropriate position.
Find My iPhone from the Web
The iCloud.com website gives users access to several more services if the lost device is online. If the device is offline (no GPS/Cell/Internet), then it will show up as a gray dot on the map. This is why the switch for Last Known Location is so important. A temporary connection outage can cause this, so from the main website you can set up the software to notify you when the device goes online again. Go to your list of devices from the All Devices menu and select your iPhone.
From there, check the box that says Notify me when found. It should be located in the upper right-hand corner of your screen after selecting All Devices.
Within that same menu there is an option to play an alarm. This will broadcast a loud sound from wherever the iPhone is located. It is a useful option when near the location area or to alert others that the device is stolen.
Lost Mode is another feature to use from the website. It automatically displays an alternate contact number on the screen for someone to call. This is useful if the phone isn't stolen and a good samaritan happens to pick it up. The only way to keep this mode useful is by making sure the alternate number is current.
When none of this works and you're worried about your data being insecure, you can remotely delete all day by choosing Erase iPhone. This is an irreversible step, so be sure that you have exhausted all options before doing this. It is the same as formatting your device from the menu.
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