How to Locate Your iPhone or iPad If It’s Lost or Stolen

This tutorial will guide you though the steps to set up and use the Find My iPhone (or iPad) App to locate your lost or stolen iPhone or iPad.

Note: this tutorial has been updated (on Nov 6th, 2012) to reflect the changes in the latest version of the Find My iPhone service.

  1. First, make sure you’ve created an iCloud Account with Apple, as you’ll need your username and password to complete this procedure (and to recover your device). If you haven’t created and set up an iCloud Account on your iPhone or iPad, see this tutorial by Apple.

    From your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, install the free App Find My iPhone. Even though the name is slightly misleading, it does work perfectly on the iPad and iPod Touch, not just the iPhone.

  2. install the Find My iPhone App

  3. Now open the Settings on your iPhone and select iCloud from the Settings column. Toggle the Find My iPhone (or iPad…) ON/OFF switch to ON.
  4. iCloud Preferences screen on an iPhone
    click to enlarge

  5. Tap the Allow button when prompted.
  6. Find My iPhone confirmation screen

  7. Now you’ve completed the installation part of this tutorial. To locate your iDevice, continue with the next step.
  8. Visit the iCloud Home Page in a web browser. Sign in to the site when prompted, then click the Find My iPhone “button”.
  9. Find My iPhone iCloud Website button

  10. If you’re prompted to enter your password again, do so.
  11. Find My iPhone confirmation sign in window

  12. If your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch is connected to the Internet, it will appear as a ‘green dot’ on a map of the world. That’s where your iDevice is right now.
  13. iPhone location map
    click to enlarge

  14. Click the “green dot”. If you’ve misplaced your iDevice and think it’s within earshot (as I do, daily) – click the Play Sound button. This will trigger your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to start “beeping”.
  15. Find My iPhone Map options
    click to enlarge

  16. The device itself will also have a message pop up displaying a Find My iPhone Alert message.
  17. lost iPad audio alert
    click to enlarge

  18. In addition, an email will be sent to the address associated with your iCloud account letting you know that the alert was triggered.
  19. Find My iPhone email notification

  20. If using the Play Sound feature doesn’t help you find your device, tap the Lost Mode button. This will allow you to lock your device and display a message on its screen.
  21. Lost Mode for the Find My iPhone service
    click to enlarge

  22. If you haven’t set up a passcode yet, you’ll be prompted to do so now.
  23. Find My iPhone pinpad

  24. Enter your phone number in the space provided, and tap the Next button.
  25. Find My iPhone Lost Mode setup

  26. Enter a message in the space provided, and that message will also be displayed on your devices screen. Click Done to finish.
  27. The “status” of your iPhone/iPad will now be set to Lost Mode.
  28. Now a message will be displayed on your iPhone/iPad – the message and phone number that you entered in the previous steps. If you’re lucky, at this point someone will give you a call :)
  29. If you don’t get the phone call, or you’re worried about the contents of your device being accessed, it’s probably a good idea to wipe your device completely. This will delete all of the information on your iPhone/iPad, which means the Find My iPhone feature will also be disabled (you’ll no longer be able to track its location).

    Click the Erase iPhone/iPad button.

  30. Enter your password again, and finally, click Erase. This will remotely wipe your iDevice.
  31. If you have any questions, by all means please leave a comment below!

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8 thoughts on “How to Locate Your iPhone or iPad If It’s Lost or Stolen”

  1. my ipod was stolen today and I have it set to delete when it connects to wifi but the issue is…. How do I tell my parents?

  2. This is a great tutorial but Apple is not allowing anyone else to enroll in MobileMe. I hope I dont loose my iPad2.

  3. Dante – without some kind of 3rd party tracking software on your iPad (which I’m not sure exists, but I haven’t thoroughly checked the app store) – OR MobileMe running “Find My iPad” – no, there’s no way to track it down.

    Sarah – did you enable Find My iPad on your iPad BEFORE it was stolen? The software is built-in, you just have to input your MobileMe account info, and enable Find My iPad. If you didn’t do both of those, Find My iPad won’t be running, and you won’t be able to track it down..

  4. So i guess you have to have MobleMe downloaded on your iPad inorder to use it? Our iPad was stolen today. Is there a way to track it with MobleMe if it’s not downloaded, or any other way? I hear Apple does not help!

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