As I learned last week misplacing your iPhone is a pain. Especially when you have a passcode lock on your phone. There is no way for anyone who finds your phone to contact you and return your phone if they are that nice when they find it. Find My iPhone by Apple meets its description and does much more. It allows all of those who have an iPhone 4 to locate their phone if it is lost, or stolen. (Or if you are trying to figure out which it is) This software requires you to have a mobile me account set up. However, you do not have to have the full service paid for the mail server client.
Find My iPhone allows you to see where your devices are on a map in real time on your iDevice, or on your computer. You can access these features at me.com/find.
After a simple login a map displaying your device’s location comes up. You can display a message on the screen, which could display some contact information to have them return your phone, and if you are lucky enough to have a good samaritan find your phone they can help you find the device. If you are not so lucky you can lock the device remotely putting a passcode lock on just like you would from the settings menu. Finally, the last fail-safe is the remote wipe. You can remotely from me.com/find wipe the hard-drive of your device of all its contents. This is good for all with sensitive business information, or the like in your emails, texts, or notes.
Download Find My Iphone from the app store.
You must create a free mobile me account. This is done by going to settings/Mail, contacts, calendar/ and pressing add account. Select mobile me, then fill in the information (most likely you will want it to match the information that you use for iTunes for simplicity) Click on the link at the bottom that says create free account. Create an account. You will have to verify this account update in your email account that you set up the account with.
Once the mobileMe account is set up and running on your device, go back to the Find My iPhone app. It will now display where you currently are—thus proving you know where your device(s) are.
Step four: Log in to me.com
The last step is to go to me.com and get acquainted with the features there. By clicking “display message” you can push an email message that will display on the screen of your device. (It will display a message outside of the passcode lock if you do have a passcode installed) You can send along with your message a sound to alert the person who found your phone (or to help someone find it.) It is a quite a high pitch and annoying sound that is easily heard.
The next feature is a remotely set passcode. Click “lock” and you will be prompted to give a four digit code. After using this no one will be able to access or change your features, or access your data, but they will still see the messages that you send via me.com. The finally as a last resort once all hope is lost is to do a remote wipe. This will erase all of the data off of your device.
For this application to work at its best and most effective you should a) have location services turned on (the fourth bar in settings) find my iPhone cannot work without it on. b) you should have push turned on. This enables messages to be pushed to the screen without the user having to manually check for mail. If there is a passcode on they obviously cannot check mail so they cannot get your messages.
This app may not guarantee that you get your device back if you lose it, but it is free and it makes getting your contact information to whoever has your phone much easier.
*If you are using a pre-2010 apple device there is a way to get this free service. A tutorial will follow later.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.