How to use “Find My iPhone” to locate a lost or stolen iPhone

how to use find my iPhone

Find My iPhone is a free tool from Apple that lets you remotely locate your lost, stolen Apple device. The app can also help you erase all your data in case it falls into the wrong hands.

This service helps not only you find your iPhone but also your iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch, or AirPods. For the sake of this article, we’ll only focus on the iPhone.

It’s important to activate the feature on your iPhone. Otherwise you won’t be able to use it when the unfortunate happens. Here’s how to enable it.

Go to Settings > Tap your name > iCloud > “Find My iPhone”. Then, switch the toggle on to activate it. It will turn green, letting you know it’s activated.

How to use Find My iPhone on the web

how to use find my iPhone
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

If you have a computer, you can use the web-based tool, which works the same.

  1. Go to
  2. Log into your iCloud account
  3. Click on “Find My iPhone”
  4. If you have multiple Apple devices, click on “All Devices” at the top of the window and choose the lost or stolen device you’re looking for.
how to use find my iPhone
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Once “Find My iPhone” locate your iPhone, it will appear as a green dot on the map. You’ll see a small window with your iPhone image, battery percentage and a few options in the upper-right corner.

Here there are and what they each do:

  • Play Sound: This option is for those who’ve misplaced their iPhone somewhere nearby. It allows you to play an audible sound even if your phone is on “Silence Mode”.
  • Lost Mode: It allows you to lock your iPhone and enter an alternative number. That way a good samaritan can reach out to you.
  • Erase iPhone: This will let you wipe out everything on the device preventing anybody from obtaining your personal data. If you think you’ll never get your iPhone back, this is the best thing to do.

How to use Find My iPhone on iPhone

how to use find my iphone
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Grab your iPhone swipe down from the middle of the Home screen to bring up the search field. Type “Find My iPhone”, it will appear in the Applications section. Sometimes you’ll find it in the Extras folder.

Open the app and log in with your iCloud credentials. Once you’re logged in you should see all your Apple devices. From the list, select the stolen/lost device to view its location.

The UI is a little bit different but it’s the same as the web-based tool. The options are at the bottom, just tap on “Actions” and they’ll show up.

Find iPhone that is offline or dead

turning on Find My iPhone in settings
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

There’ll be some situation when your iPhone will not show up on the map. It will say offline. This is because your iPhone is out of battery/turned off, without an internet connection or has its location turned off.

Either way, you’ll still have the three options mentioned above to take actions from. The next time your iPhone is back online, the action you’ve taken will happen.

It’s important to turn on “Send Last Location” in Find My iPhone settings. That way you can see the last known location of your phone in case it’s dead or turn off.

If “Find My iPhone” wasn’t enabled before you lost your iPhone, you won’t be able to locate it. In this case, you must change your Apple ID password right away, preventing anyone from accessing your iCloud data.

If you were using Apple Pay, you should also remotely delete all your credit/debit card information via iCloud on the web. Don’t forget to report your missing iPhone to local law enforcement and your wireless carrier to protect your personal information.

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