Setting Up And Finding Your Mac Or iOS Device With Find My iPhone

At MacSolutions Plus, we hear so many instances of people losing their devices or having them stolen. The likelihood of finding the device, or having a good samaritan returning it, are slim to near impossible if you haven’t setup Find My iPhone.

Find My iPhone is Apple’s free service that can track your Mac and iOS devices when they are connected to the Internet. The functionality not only allows you to pinpoint the location of your device on the map, but you can also issue onscreen alert notifications, and delete the contents of your lost device remotely.

Setup Find My iPhone For The First Time

In order to setup Find My iPhone, you will need to create a free account. On the Mac, proceed to System Preferences > iCloud and undertake the sign up procedure. On iOS, you will need to proceed to Settings > iCloud and proceed with the sign up process. Both of these setup options will become available when you setup your new Mac or iOS device for the very first time. We recommend you turn this functionality on during the initial setup phase.

If you already have an iCloud account, then proceed to Settings > iCloud on your iOS device and switch Find My iPhone to the On position.

Find my Phone

You will then be presented with the following message asking you to Allow the tracking functionality. Simply tap Allow and the functionality will be turned on for that device.

Find my Phone

If you own more than one iOS device, you will need to undertake this process on each device you want to be able to track.

On your Mac, head across to System Preferences > iCloud. At the bottom of the list you should see Find My Mac. Make sure that a tick is in the box next to the option.

iCloud Find my Phone

When you turn this functionality on, you will be presented with a popup window asking if you want to allow the location of your Mac to become available when using the Find My iPhone service. It is advised that you click Allow.

It is important to note that you may need to manually turn on Location Services. In that situation simply proceed to System Preferences > Security & Privacy. Then proceed to the Privacy tab and click the lock, in the lower left hand corner of the window, and enter your username and password. When unlocked you will notice that Enable Location Services is now available. Place a tick in the box to turn this functionality on.

Likewise, should you need to access the Location Service functionality for your iOS device, proceed to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

iOS find my phone

You will notice besides the standard On option, that you can show the Location Services status icon in the Status Bar when you are looking for the location of your device. By default, this option is turned off and if your device is stolen, you most probably want to keep it this way. This icon appearing may alert the thief to your attempt to track the device.

Locating Your Device If It Is Lost Or Stolen

In the unfortunate event that you have lost your device, or it has been stolen, you will need to log into on a Mac or PC. Alternatively, you can download and use the free iOS Find My iPhone app.

Both options offer the same level of functionality and control over locating your Apple devices.

For this example we will take a look at the web browser version of Find My iPhone. Once you have logged into, click on the Find My iPhone icon.

Phone Button

Now that you are logged in, you will be presented with a list of all devices attached to your iCloud account.

iPhone devices

Below the name of the device, you will be presented with a variety of information that includes, but is not limited to, its online status and whether of not it has been located. If your device hasn’t been located, select it from the list and add a tick to the tick box for Notify Me When Found.

Find my device

This way, when it comes back online, you will be instantly sent a message.

The other options available from the Find My iPhone service include Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase.

Play Sound will present an audible sound from your device and a warning message will be shown on the display. An email will also be sent to your iCloud email address to indicate that this sound has been requested. This option is a perfect solution if you have simply misplaced your device at home or at the office.

Lost Mode will allow you to remotely lock your device and default information will also be shown on the display of your lost device to tell anyone how to return it to you. This information can be customized.

When setting up Lost Mode, you will be asked to enter a passcode which will lock your device and therefore prevent the content within from being accessed. After you have confirmed the passcode, you will be able to enter a phone number where you can be reached. It is optional, but highly recommended. Please remember, if it is your iPhone that is lost, you will need to issue another phone number that you can be reached on.

Lost Mode

The final window allows you to customize the message that will be presented on the device.

Once you select Done, your device will be remotely locked and your message will be presented. The only way to unlock the device is by entering the Passcode that you have assigned. It is very important you remember this number.

Lost message

We understand losing a device can be a stressful and emotional time. With that said, please refrain for sending an aggressive message. The person that finds your device, may have nothing to do with you losing it and information with only the facts will likely result in a better outcome for recovering the device.

Erase iPad (or other device, even your Mac) is your final step to ensure your information is protected should a device be lost or stolen. Please remember that unless you have a backup of that device, you will loose all the data as it is not recoverable when you undertake this process.

Whilst all these processes are useful in making attempts to have your device returned, you can also view the exact whereabouts on the Map that is included with the service. Prior to approaching someone’s home and making accusations, we recommend that you should discuss the situation with your local law enforcement. They can make enquiries on your behalf and hopefully a positive outcome will be the end result.

If you have any further questions, or would like assistance with setting up Find My iPhone, please drop into our store.