Apple provides a powerful and useful app (for free) that will help you locate your iPhone, iPad or computer if they get lost or stolen, just to check that you left it at home or even where in the house it is! It’s called “Find my iPhone” and in case your device is missing, you can lock it (or even remotely erase it) so whoever finds it cannot access your data.
Be aware that you have to set up the account BEFORE you lose your phone, and if you want to use it to keep track of your computer and iPad, you need to have it activated on each of those devices.
TO ACTIVATE IT ON YOUR COMPUTER:
1) Choose Apple Menu > System Preference and click iCloud
2) If you’re asked to sign in, use (or create) an Apple ID. You need an Apple ID to buy stuff from the iTunes store anyway.
3) Once you have created an account (or signed in), select the “Find My Mac” checkbox and confirm that you want to allow Find my Mac to use the location of this Mac.
THAT’S IT! Now your computer is registered with Find my Mac.
(NOTE: if the ‘Find my Mac’ button is greyed out and you cannot select it, there is something amiss with your Recovery Partition, and ETS can fix it for you. Do a complete back up (just in case) and bring your laptop to ETS for about 30 minutes).
TO ACTIVATE IT ON YOUR iPHONE or iPAD:
You can either download the free app “Find my iPhone” from the itunes store, or just use the embedded program in your iDevice. I am providing instructions for the embedded program; the App is self-explanatory. You can always download the app after you set up the embedded program.
1) On your iDevice, be sure your iCloud account is active. (Settings/iCloud). If you don’t have an iCloud account, set one up.
2) Scroll to the bottom of that window and ensure that “Find my iPhone” is turned on
THAT’S IT. It’s activated and ready to track all your devices.
HOW TO USE IT (test this out beforehand to see how it works):
1) On the device you have not lost (duh), open a browser and sign in to http://www.icloud.com using your Apple ID. Then select ‘Find my iPhone’
2) Click ‘Devices’ in the upper left corner, and select the device(s) you want to locate. Any device that has ‘Find my iPhone/Mac’ activated with your Apple ID will show up in the device list.
3) The device will appear on a map image (or satellite, if you choose) with a dot. A green dot means it’s online, a grey dot means it’s offline. These dots can be quite accurate….my own will locate it to within 2 meters at home, a little less at work (about 10 meters).
Note: If Find My iPhone can’t locate this device, the last known location is displayed for up to 24 hours, after which the map is cleared. You can select the Notify Me When Found checkbox to receive an email when the device comes back online with a location.
From that management window, you can do the following:
- Locate the device on a map
- Tell the device to make a loud sound so it can be located
- Lock the device with a passcode. You can still track it’s motions, and unlock it once you find it
- Put your device in ‘Lost Mode’, which allows you to enter a phone number that someone who finds your device can use to contact you (along with a message such as “This item is LOST! Please call me to return it!)
- Erase all personal data and settings from your device.
Even if your device is offline, Find my iPhone will queue up commands and execute them when it comes online.
So to protect your iDevice from theft, loss or misuse, everyone should activate this program on all their devices. More information can be found online here.