How to Use Find My iPhone to Find a Lost or Stolen iPhone

Millions of phones are constantly lost or stolen, and there’s usually not much you can do about it other than go back and try to find it. If it’s stolen, you’re out of luck if you can’t find a way to locate it and get it back from the perpetrator. But phone manufacturers are adding new ways for owners to monitor and manage their phones if their phones are lost or stolen. Apple’s Find My iPhone is an example of this.

Find My iPhone is a free service that comes with every iOS device and Mac computer and lets you track your iPhone, whether it’s lost or stolen. Of course, it only works when the phone is on and has a signal, so if your phone is stolen and the thief is smart enough to hang up or put it in Airplane Mode, Find My iPhone won’t work, but at least it gives you a fighting chance. Here’s how to use it.

Make Sure It’s Installed

Before using Find My iPhone, you need to set everything up, something most new iPhone owners neglect to do. The service works through Apple’s iCloud service, which is used to store and sync files between all your Apple devices via the cloud. This includes Find My iPhone. If you have an Apple ID (required for app purchase), you already have an iCloud account.

Download App

Find My iPhone is not a default app on iOS, so you’ll have to go to the App Store and download the app yourself. Tap the blue app icon labeled on your home screen. Next, tap the Search tab at the bottom and ; should be the first result that pops up. Download the app (it’s free) and wait for it to install.

Find My iPhone is not a required download and you don’t need it for Find My iPhone to work, but it can be used to track other Apple products you own directly from your iPhone or iPad.

Enable Find My iPhone in settings

Once the Find My iPhone app is finished installing, you need to enable the Find My iPhone service in the settings. Open the Settings App and tap on it (You may need to sign in using your Apple ID at some point). Then scroll down until you see it and open it if it isn’t already open. You may get a prompt confirming your action, if that pops up just tap it.

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Once you’ve enabled Find My iPhone, you’re ready to find and manage a lost or stolen iPhone. Now comes the fun part.

Finding a Lost or Stolen iOS Device

There are two ways to find a lost or stolen iOS device. You can sign in to Find My iPhone from another iPhone or iPad, or go to the nearest computer and sign in. To see where your iPhone is

Using Another iOS Device

If your friend has an iPhone and you’ve lost yours, you can log into Find My iPhone on their iPhone to see where your iOS device is; make sure you log out when you’re done so your friend can’t log back in and see where you are in the future (I know they probably trust their friend but still).

Screenshot 2013-10-07 14.42.31From the app, you can see where your device is on a map and even get turn-by-turn directions to it. Tapping the little blue arrow will take you to more options. From here, you can play a sound on your lost iPhone. This will play a loud sound on your lost iPhone at full volume to make it easier for you to find it in case you lose it at home or in your car. It can also give a nice surprise to the thief who stole it.

offers options to lock the device with a 4-digit passcode and display a contact phone number directly on the lock screen, and you can also remotely wipe your iOS device to make sure none of your personal information falls into the wrong hands; A stolen iPhone is bad, but access to your passwords is even worse.

When you wipe your phone remotely, it completely erases everything, including your iCloud login; this means that after remote wipe, you can no longer use Find My iPhone to find it; so use this as a last resort; as if there was no hope of getting the device back.

Using computer

2013-10-07 is a glorified version of Find My iPhone on your iOS device. It lets you do the same things you can do with the app, it’s just a kind of full-screen web app. To get started, go to: and sign in using your Apple ID. You’ll come across several apps arranged similarly to what your iPhone home screen looks like. Click the Find My iPhone icon and you’ll be taken to a full-screen map with dots showing the locations of your various Apple devices (including Mac computers if you have them).

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You can click Devices at the top to view all your Apple devices, and when you select your lost or stolen device, you will have the same three options in Find My iPhone: Play Sounds, Lost Mode, and Erase iPhone.


Find My iPhone is not foolproof, so if your iPhone is stolen, the thief can easily hang up, which will prevent the GPS from working, causing Find My iPhone to not receive a signal indicating where your stolen device is. iPhone is available.

The thief can also enable Airplane Mode, which will allow him to keep the phone powered on but turn off all outgoing signals including cellular connectivity and GPS. Then the thief can take the time to wipe the device and make it his own. Once that happens, you’re completely out of luck. Therefore, you should disable access to Control Center from the lock screen in iOS 7 and always have a passcode enabled on your iPhone.