All Apple iPhones contain a Global Positioning System chip. This GPS feature allows the device to obtain its geographic location for maps or navigation. You can take advantage of the GPS to locate an iPhone that is lost or stolen. Owners can sign up for Apple's free iCloud service, and check the phone's location from any Web browser. You can lock the iPhone remotely and even remove your personal data if the device is not recovered.
Activate Find My iPhone
Turn on the iPhone and tap the "Settings" icon, located on the home screen. Select "iCloud" from the list.
Enter the Apple ID and password associated with your iPhone. Check the option marked "Use iCloud."
Locate the section labelled "Find My iPhone." Tap this option to the "On" position.
Select the "Privacy" button from the list of settings. Choose "Location Services." Toggle the switches to activate the "Location Services" and "Find My iPhone" features.
Locate Missing iPhone
Browse to the Apple iCloud website (link in Resources) using a computer or mobile device. Enter the Apple ID and password for your iCloud account.
Click the "Find My iPhone" icon. Choose your iPhone from the list marked "My Devices."
Check the location of the iPhone on the map. A small green circle means that the precise position is known. A wide circle indicates that only a general location is identified.
Press the information icon located on the map to see your available options. Click "Play Sound or Send Message" to send an alert to the device. Type a custom message to send to the phone, or use the sound to locate a nearby iPhone.
Click "Remote Lock" to protect the lost iPhone with a password. Select "Remote Wipe" to remove all of your personal data from the phone. This action cannot be undone remotely. You can resynchronize your wiped data from a backup once you find your iPhone.
- The location feature requires a free Apple iCloud account. A link to this free service is listed in the "Resources" section.
- The iPhone must be powered on and connected to the Internet in order for the location service to work.
- Use common sense and caution when recovering a stolen iPhone. Contact the local authorities to retrieve the stolen property, and do not try to reclaim stolen property by yourself.
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images