Never lose your iPhone again with Find My iPhone

Lynn Wright / 25 February 2016 ( 03 August 2020 )

Learn how to set up and use Find My iPhone to help you retrieve your missing iPhone and protect the personal data it holds.



Losing your iPhone can be stomach wrenching – and turning everything upside down in your search to find a lost iPhone can be frustrating. 

Losing your iPhone isn't just expensive. Your iPhone holds all sorts of personal information – from photos and videos to passwords and calendars – and if a criminal gets their hands on this data, it can be more damaging than the cost a replacing a lost iPhone.

If you accidentally leave your iPhone in a taxi or in a restaurant, there may be little chance of getting it back. However, Apple’s free security service Find My iPhone can help. It uses your iPhone’s GPS to relay its position so that you can easily find a missing iPhone.

Find My iPhone must be switched on before your iPhone or other device goes missing – you may have done this when first setting up your phone.

Activating it is the only way you can track, find and be reunited with an Apple iPhone using its built-in GPS tracking software. It is highly recommended to turn on Find My iPhone on your iPhone.

Find My iPhone is free and easy to set up, and you can find your missing iPhone by using the Find My iPhone app on another Apple device or by logging onto www.icloud.com in a web browser. 

If you use Family Sharing, one family member can locate another’s missing iPhone using their Apple ID if it’s associated with the family account.

Is it safe to leave your phone charging overnight?

Set up Find My iPhone

Go to Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone on your iPhone and make sure it’s switched on. 

If you’re asked to sign in, enter your Apple ID. If you don't yet have an Apple ID, choose Create a new Apple ID and follow the instructions.

Turning on Send Last Location ensures your iPhone transmits its location when it’s about to run out of battery.

9 tips to take better photos on your iPhone.

Download the free Find My iPhone app

Download the free Find My iPhone app from the App Store to use on your iPad, iPod Touch or other family iPhones. If you misplace your iPhone, you can use your iPad or other device with the Find My iPhone app installed to find it.

If your iPhone is lost

Launch the Find My iPhone app and enter your Apple ID to see a map with all your devices located. 

Alternatively, open a web browser and type www.icloud.com. Enter your Apple ID and password, then click 'Find My iPhone', and then click 'All Devices'.

Next, select your iPhone from the list of devices to see its location marked by a green dot on the map.

If you’ve left your iPhone somewhere public, such as restaurant or café, contact them to see if you can recover it. However, if your iPhone has been stolen, make a note of the location or take a screenshot of the Find My iPhone page and inform the police.

Essential iPhone security tips.

There are three device options:

1. Play Sound 

Makes your lost iPhone play a loud pinging sound, useful for finding a lost iPhone that is close by.

2. Lost Mode 

This creates a passcode that remotely locks your missing iPhone, stopping anyone who finds your iPhone from gaining access. You can unlock it using the same code when you recover the iPhone.

3. Erase Phone

This wipes all data from your iPhone, including your Apple ID, and returns the phone to its factory settings. Use this to protect your personal information if you’re certain your iPhone has been stolen and you won’t recover it.

Report your stolen iPhone to the police. If asked for the phone’s serial number, you can find this either on the original box or on My Support Profile if you registered your device with your Apple ID.

What if my iPhone is offline?

Find My iPhone only works when your iPhone is connected to a mobile broadband or wi-fi network, and switched on. If your missing iPhone is turned off, out of battery, or offline, you can’t track it but you can still turn on Lost Mode, lock it or remotely erase it. 

These actions take effect as soon as the iPhone comes online again. 

Don’t remove the phone from your Apple ID while it’s offline, otherwise any pending actions will be cancelled.

Quick fixes for a wet phone

What if Find My iPhone isn't turned on? 

If you haven't switched on Find My iPhone before losing it, then your options are more limited. You won’t be able to track your missing iPhone via GPS, but you can take the following steps to help protect your data:

1. Change your Apple ID password to stop anyone from accessing your iCloud data or using other services (such as iMessage or iTunes) on your missing iPhone.

2. Change the passwords for your other accounts including email accounts, Facebook, or Twitter.

3. Report your iPhone lost or stolen to the police. If asked for the phone’s serial number, you can find this either on the original box or on My Support Profile if you registered your device with your Apple ID.

4. Contact your mobile network provider to tell them your iPhone is lost or stolen. They will be able to cancel your phone account so the thief can’t make calls and texts nor use the internet. 

For more tips and useful information, browse our technology articles.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.