Find My Phone App: How It Works


About the Find My iPhone App

There are moments in life when you wish you could hit the rewind button. Sending a text message to the wrong person, stubbing your toe and losing your cell phone all evoke a desire to rewind 30 seconds for a redo.

Although there are no preventative measures for stubbing your toe or accidently hitting send, you can (possibly) get a missing cell phone back.

A Free Application for Lost iPhones

You can download Find My iPhone for free on iTunes. Find My iPhone is an application that allows users to track where their cell phone, or any Apple device, is located at a given time. So, whether you leave your phone somewhere or someone stole it, you can recover the last place it was and the current real-time location. If the device is off the map, the app will show the last known location before it was shut down.

Lost Mode

If your device is missing you can use Find My iPhone to help locate and lock the device. You can force the phone to make a noise, helping you locate it faster. This works even if the phone is on silent.

In lost mode you can display a message asking anyone who finds the device to get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Erase Personal Data

If you are certain your phone was stolen you can remotely wipe your phone clean of any personal information using Find My iPhone. This feature is a last resort you should use only when you are certain you will never see the phone again.

Wiping the data means that Find My iPhone will no longer work. Don’t forget to call and cancel the phone service so you are not held responsible for any charges incurred while it is missing.

Setting It Up Correctly

Just as developers are smart enough to create an application like Find my iPhone, they are also smart enough to disable one. To ensure that someone cannot prevent the app from working, it has to be connected to iCloud. This is usually standard when you set up a new iPhone device, but if you skipped that step, go to your Settings and then iCloud to create an account.

Once you have established your account, follow the steps below to ensure the app will work properly if and when you need it (these directions are specifically for iPhone users, but other Apple devices follow similar steps).

1.   Download the app
2.   Enable the app: Go to Settings then iCloud and turn the button next to Find My iPhone on.
3.   In General (under Settings) go to Restrictions: Type in your password. Scroll to Location Services and locate the Find My iPhone button.
4.   Set Status bar to “off”: The application should be on, but make sure the Status Bar Icon is set to “off.” This prevents anyone from knowing the phone is being tracked.
5.   Don’t Allow Changes: Go back to Location Settings and make sure “Don’t Allow Changes” is selected. This prevents someone from disabling the application (unless they have your password).

Setting up the application in this manner is the best method when you think your device may have been stolen.

If used correctly, Find My iPhone can save you hundreds of dollars. It goes without saying that if you discover your iPhone has been stolen you should practice extreme caution when searching for its return. Successfully finding your missing iPhone is a great feeling, but spending time in a hospital or jail would not be good. Track safely and happy hunting.

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