How to track a lost or stolen iPhone or iPad with Find My iPhone

By , Aug 7, 2014

Find My iPhone situation

In a previous post, we had a look at the first step in securing your iPhone or iPad by enabling Find My iPhone, a feature that lets you track, lock, and even remotely wipe the device in case it has been lost or stolen. Now that we have the feature turned on, we’re going to show you how to track an iPhone/iPad that has been lost/stolen using Find My iPhone.

Tracking an iOS device with Find My iPhone requires that you either have the Find My iPhone app installed on another device (it could be your iPad or someone else’s iPhone) or that you use Find My iPhone directly from iCloud.com. Both methods work equally well, and the steps to track a device are pretty much identical regardless of what you use.

In this post, we will be using the Find my iPhone app to track a lost or stolen device.

How to track an iPhone or iPad with Find My iPhone

1) The first step is to get ahold of any iOS device and install the Find My iPhone app. You can use the Find My iPhone app from any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. The app doesn’t have to be installed on your own device. For example, you could use a friend’s iPhone to track your lost iPhone. As mentioned above, you can also log in to iCloud.com from any computer and use Find My iPhone from there.

Find My iPhone login

2) On an iPhone or iPad, launch the Find My iPhone app and log in using your own Apple ID and password. Once logged in, Find My iPhone will display a split screen with a map at the top, and a list of devices that are linked to your Apple ID at the bottom. Tap on the device that has been lost or stolen to locate it.

Find my iPhone locate

3) How to play a sound on a lost device: Once located tap on the “Actions” button at the bottom of the screen. You will then be offered 3 options. One option is to “Play Sound.” This is great if you lost your phone around the house and it is on mute for example. Even if the device is on mute, it will play a sound so you can locate it if it’s nearby. The device that just played a sound will also show a “Find My iPhone Alert” on its Lock screen, as seen below.

Find My iPhone Play Sound

4) How to get directions to a lost device: If your device is not nearby, you can get directions to its location. Tap on the “Actions” button and at the upper right corner of the screen, and tap on the car icon. This will launch the Maps app and give you driving directions to the device.

Find My iPhone directions

Note that if you believe your device was stolen (not just lost), we highly recommend putting it in Lost Mode, which we will go over in a future post.

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  • im2slick4u

    In my opinion this tutorial and the last one (music timer) isn’t necessary on a tech blog. Intermediate tutorials aren’t really necessary because a very small percentage of readers are beginner iOS users. I think advanced tutorials are great but stuff like this is common knowledge to iOS enthusiasts (the tupe that would follow a tech blog). Thats just my opinion.

    • Rupinder S

      I don’t mean to come off in a rude way, but I’ve always considered myself an iOS enthusiast (all my family members and friends come to me for help and app suggestions, I can direct someone through their settings by memorization, etc.), and I had no clue that the Find My iPhone app had the car icon that opens up the map and gives directions to the device. So this article was something I’m happy I read. Thanks iDB!

      • Emily Richard

        Yes, you can set biolockdown to require a fingerprint (on a 5s of course) in order to shut down.

      • im2slick4u

        There is nothing stopping Sleep + Home for 10 seconds. And I’m sure 80 percent of jailbreak users would hate to disable that.

    • Anmol Malhotra

      And me too.. same like what Rupinder said.. I had no idea about music timer.. But using iPhone for past 4 years.. But i know about Find my Iphone

    • Manuel Molina

      The article is useful despite if you know the information or not. You never know what you will learn that might be new or different.

      Sébastien usually provides good articles when it comes to quick learning or getting the most out of your iOS device, so I’m appreciate of it since most sites or authors expect you to know stuff.

      I know about find my phone, but didn’t know there’s different modes and such.

    • Gary LE

      Dude, not to be rude but there are some user who think this is good info to know about and if this is old news to you then you can simply ignore it altogether and not wast your time in typing this which in turn saves other people time by not responding to you.

    • http://www.eazycomputers.com/ PhoneTechJay

      You would be surprised how many people have the 5S and have no idea what touch ID is.

    • Rook HD

      I just want to say that everyone used to be a beginner once.

      • im2slick4u

        I agree but do beginners read tech blogs?

  • Anmol Malhotra

    Can someone tell me if i dont own an another iDevice? Then from where i can locate my device through pc?

    • Keabsy

      Go to the iCloud website and log in with your Apple ID

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Sebastien

      From the post: “As mentioned above, you can also log in to iCloud.com from any computer and use Find My iPhone from there.”

      • Anmol Malhotra

        Thanks Sir.. Got it :)

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    How to track a lost or stolen iPhone or iPad with Find My iPhone

    Find My iPhone is a joke when it comes to retrieving your stolen iDevice.

    • Anmol Malhotra

      Why?

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        The thief can simply turn off your iDevice the normal way (i.e. hold down the power button and slide to power off), which they’ll most likely do, and you’re totally out of luck.

      • Anmol Malhotra

        What??? :O
        Then this app is useless dude.. Seriously!

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        I’d suggest you use iCaughtU Pro, which requires you to be jailbroken. It’s not bullet proof, but at least when they attempt the normal way of shutting down an iDevice first, you’ll have a pic of their face in your inbox.

      • Anmol Malhotra

        ohh .. I really wish somebody makes this app for stock iOS because i dont feel like jailbreaking my iPhone right now.. Will do after updating to iOS 8.. :)

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Stock iOS wouldn’t (not sure if iOS 8 would) allow apps to take control of your lock screen, nor your hardware buttons, nor your camera when they’re in the background…so, a stock version of iCaughtU Pro isn’t possible

      • Anmol Malhotra

        But you said it takes the pic of thief when they switches off the device… I’ve seen this kind of feature in Photos Vault apps..We get the pic of anyones face who types a wrong password in it in camera roll.. So i think iCaughU Pro for stock ios is possible..

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        The Photo Vault app has it’s own password protection, which it requests you to enter when you launch the app. Although it looks the same as the main lockscreen (when requesting your passcode), It’s not the system wide lockscreen; ie the one you see when you want to gain access to your home-screen and apps on your iPhone. Notice it’s missing the “emergency call” button AND you can have a different passcode from the one you use to unlock your iPhone.

        In other words, the Photo Vault app doesn’t have access to your system-wide lockscreen (no AppStore app does). So, entering the wrong passcode at the system-wide lockscreen won’t take a pic of anyone, even with the Photo Vault app installed.

        Try it yourself:

        - Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock and set a passcode for the system-wide lockscreen, set it to Require Passcode Immediately.

        - Put your iDevice to sleep

        - Wake it, slide to unlock and enter the wrong passcode

        - Enter the correct passcode, go to your photos app and notice no picture was taken

      • White Michael Jackson

        if only there was a way to disable safe mode.

      • ready1take1

        you can with BioLockdown

      • White Michael Jackson

        you mean to tell me with biolockdown, i can prevent someone from rebooting and holding the volume up key to boot into safe mode?

      • ready1take1

        I use biolockdown, which I have setup to require a fingerprint to turn my device off

      • http://www.eazycomputers.com/ PhoneTechJay

        Does it disable the hard reset also? Thats also a quick way of powering it off. Also I forget the name but there was a tweak that took a pic every time the wrong password/code was entered, this may be the same app.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        iCaughtU Pro doesn’t prevent the hard reset, that’s what makes it not bullet proof. It can also take a pic when you enter the wrong info and supports SMS/iMessage text commands which you can use to take front/rear camera pics.

      • http://www.eazycomputers.com/ PhoneTechJay

        Fortunately thieves aren’t always that smart. Of course we would think of this first but if a phone has no Password on it a common thief wont even bother turning if off. You are kind of right, most of the time they turn it off then attempt to reset but that will lock it to iCloud. Only a few are knowledgable of researching and bypassing that. Ultimately it depends of where its lost and who finds it. I wouldn’t call it a Joke because it has saved quite a few devices and brought them back to their rightful owners. You shouldn’t be so negative.

      • jack

        they can just swipe up from lockscreen and turn on airplane mode.. not even passcode is required.

        however if the phone ever connect to the internet, it’ll be locked……

  • Sleetui

    Can you do a post for iCaughtU and how to set it up?

    • Anmol Malhotra

      You should ask @MrElectrifyer:disqus :D :P He will electify you with his knowledge.. ;p
      He just mentioned about this app.. :D

      • Sleetui

        Where? Via twitter or other?

  • Anmol Malhotra

    I think Apple uses Google Maps for Find My iPhone. :P LOL
    I just tried Find My iPhone to see my location. The map was sooo much detailed looked like Google Maps.

  • maverickmax

    very helpful article ..saved my friends iphone:)though he know how to do it he was in a panic at that moment and all i did was send him this article : ]