Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Use Find My iPhone and Activation Lock, part of iOS 12: iPhone and iPad Essential Training.
- [Instructor] As we all know, iPhones and iPads aren't exactly inexpensive. And if you keep a lot of sensitive information and important appointments on your device, misplacing or losing your phone can mean you're losing more than just your device. Fortunately, Apple offers a free service through iCloud called Find my iPhone. Find My iPhone is a great security measure to have in place, and since it's free, there's really no reason not to set it up. Because it offers you the ability to locate your missing or stolen device on a map, as well as perform remote functions like passcode locking it, or even completely erasing it all from a regular web browser.
Let's take a look at how this works. First we need to setup the device to use Find my iPhone. The good news is if you've signed into your iCloud account on your iPhone or iPad, it's probably already setup. We can check though by going to Settings. Tapping the account name at the top, selecting iCloud. And if you're a subscriber to iCloud, and have already previously setup your account, you'll find the Find My iPhone setting down towards the bottom here. And it should already be enabled by default. If you haven't signed in yet, be sure to sign into iCloud with your Apple ID, and then enable Find My iPhone.
There's also an option here to turn on Send Last Location. This will automatically log the last known location of your phone if the battery is critically low. Meaning if your phone is about to shut down because there's no battery power left, it'll log that last location, and you'll be able to find that location when you look it up online. So let's see how this works. Basically, once you've turned on Find My iPhone, that's pretty much it. You can forget about it until the day you lose or misplace your phone. So if it ever does happen that you lose your phone, or even just misplace it somewhere in your home or office, go to icloud.com in your web browser, and login with your Apple ID.
Then, click the Find iPhone icon. I'm prompted here to sign in again. And after a moment a map appears giving you the approximate location of your device. Now if you have multiple devices, they'll all be listed here under the All Devices menu, and you can select the one you want to locate. Now if you have an iPhone, the location should be just as accurate as when you get your location in the Map app on the phone. Wi-Fi-only iPads will be slightly less accurate, but you should still be able to get the general idea of where your phone is within a radius of a few blocks, especially if it's in a location with lots of Wi-Fi signals.
And with the map you might even be able to tell if your phone is misplaced at home with you, or somewhere else. You can click the refresh button to update your phone's location, which might be useful if someone stole your phone and they're driving or running around with it. You could potentially let the police know the approximate location of your phone, and there have been many reports of Find My iPhone leading the police right to the person who stole the phone. The display up here tells you how long ago your device was located, and it shows it's current battery level. Below the image of the device, we have three buttons. The first one here is Play Sound.
This lets you send a command to your iPhone that makes it play a loud pinging sound. And the great thing about this is that it works even if you left your phone in silent mode. This feature comes in handy all the time if you often can't remember where you left your phone sitting around your home. Just click Play Sound to immediately make your phone start pinging. (bell ringing) So I can follow that sound until I find my phone, and I can tap OK. The next button here is Lost Mode.
This is used when you've actually lost your phone and you want to protect it from being used by someone who just picks it up. Click Lost Mode, and if your device isn't already passcode locked, you'll be prompted to enter a passcode. This allows you to immediately lock your phone. If your phone is already protected by a passcode, you'll see this screen first. Here you can enter a number where anyone who finds your phone can reach you. I'll click Next, and here you can also type a short message, or leave the default message here. I'll tap Done. So in a few seconds, a message will appear on the phone, including a button that lets the person finding your phone call you directly.
If they try to unlock the phone, they'll be prompted for a passcode. So the only thing someone finding this phone can do at that point is call me. They can't get into the phone without the passcode. Now if your phone happens to be turned off at the time you send the message, the message will still appear the next time the phone is turned on. So if some honest stranger picks it up and turns it on, they'll see your message and hopefully call you back. Now you may be thinking that even if you set your device as lost and remotely added a passcode, whoever found or took your device could connect it to a computer and iTunes, and completely erase the phone, pop in a new SIM card, and it would be impossible to find using Find My iPhone.
But built into iOS is a feature called activation lock, which makes it so that anyone who takes your phone can't disable Find My iPhone, can't erase it, and can't restore it without knowing both your Apple ID and your password. Apple's been spreading the word about activation lock fairly well over the years, and as more people become aware of it, I think it's becoming clear that there's very little incentive to steal an iOS device, since you can't just wipe it clean without a username and password. All right so the last button here is Erase Phone. This is for when you've pretty much exhausted all your options, and you just want to make sure that whoever found or stole your phone can't get to any of the data stored on it.
Just click Erase Phone, and you'll see a message telling you that this will erase all of your settings and data, and you'll no longer be able to track your phone. Be aware that this can't be undone. So if you're sure that you want or need to do this, you'll click Erase and then enter your Apple ID and password. I'm gonna cancel that right now though, since my phone is currently sitting safe and sound right next to me. Now the semi-good news is that even after you've wiped your phone, if you happen to find it or it gets returned to you, you can still restore it from the last backup you saved either to your computer, or to iCloud. It's also worth mentioning here that if you have more than one iOS device, you might want to download the free app called Find iPhone, if it's not already installed on your devices.
This is an app from Apple that provides the same services available through the iCloud website, but is offered here in the handy app form. So it's worth downloading onto your devices if you have more than one iOS device. Of course if you only have one iPhone, there's no point in installing the app, since if you lose your phone, it obviously won't matter if the app is installed on it or not. Okay, so that's a rundown of the services available from Find My iPhone, which again is part of the free iCloud collection of online services from Apple.
- Using gestures and 3D Touch
- Backing up and syncing music, photos, contacts, and more
- Making video calls with FaceTime
- Sending and receiving money with Apple Pay Cash
- Playing music
- Getting directions from Maps
- Adding events to your calendar
- Using the built-in apps
- Setting important privacy and usage options
- Controlling your device with Siri
- Troubleshooting your iOS 12 device