How To Track and Locate Your Missing iPhone

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Anyone can trace the location of their stolen or lost iPhone as long as they have an iCloud account and the Find my iPhone app. Here’s what to do.

The tendency to lose one’s mobile phone is not very unusual. It could happen to anyone and anywhere.

If you just misplaced it and cannot locate it immediately, there some simple fixes you can try including asking a friend to call your number so that the phone can be spotted and retrieved. If your phone gets stolen, however, then the situation can get a little complicated.

If your phone is an iPhone, then there are ways you can track the missing device and ultimately regain possession of it.

Get the Basics Right: Turn On the “Find My iPhone” App

One of the first things you might have to do once you have bought a new iPhone is to switch on the Find My iPhone app. You can then forget about this and carry on using the device as you would normally.

If the phone is lost or stolen, here’s what you will do:

  1. You will need another Apple or iOS device to do the tracking. If you don’t have another Apple device, you can try using someone else’s iPhone, iPad or Mac.
  2. Check if that person has already signed in on the Find My iPhone app. You will have to sign out and sign in with your own ID and password. When you do this, the tracking process will start.
  3. You can also access your device on Apple’s com/find page via a Mac or even a PC.
  4. As mentioned, if it is a case of having lost the phone or it has been stolen, then you will have to turn the Lost Mode ON, on your remote device. This will immediately trigger a few things:
    1. You can start tracking the exact location of your missing iPhone.
    2. You can block your device from being accessed by any other person by sending a passcode to your device.
    3. The Lost Mode setting also ensures the Apple Pay utility linked to your credit or debit card will not be functional.

This way, you can feel secure knowing that no one can unlock your lost device to access its contents or make payments through Apple Pay or other apps.

Set the Recovery Process in Motion

If you strongly feel your iPhone has been stolen, then you need to register a complaint with the police or the appropriate law enforcement agency that will take down your iPhone’s serial number and track down the device and recover it for you.

All these actions are feasible only if you remembered to turn the Find My iPhone app ON.

What if You Didn’t Turn On Find My iPhone?

In case you haven’t enabled the Find My iPhone app, then you will need to follow a different set of steps in order to limit the potential loss until your device is located by law enforcement:

  1. The first thing you will have to do is to change your Apple ID and associated password. This you could do by logging into the iCloud site (mentioned above). This will make sure that the data sitting on the cloud platform is not accessed by an unscrupulous person in possession of your lost iPhone.
  2. This is one reason why you are advised to upload important data on your device to iCloud periodically. In the event you cannot access your Find My iPhone on the lost device, you can simply lock down your device and your data remains protected.
  3. The only downside of totally locking down your device is that the moment someone tries to open the device, it will erase all data including the passwords on your apps and other confidential information stored on your iPhone. If the person had only stolen your iPhone, then he or she can create a new ID and password and can start using the phone.
  4. Do make the mandatory complaint to the police and provide them the serial number of your iPhone. If you are lucky, they may recover the phone for you.

Contact your ISP/Carrier

If your phone was supplied through a telecom service as a bundled offer, then the company can act quickly to block any form of communication from the device, like emails, messages and other transactions, to protect you from any further loss.

The other method of tracking your lost iPhone is through the Family Sharing utility, if you have opted for it with your carrier. Here, the Find My iPhone app comes to your rescue. You could use a family member’s phone to access your device. However, the Apple ID and password will be required through this route as well.

Steps to Protect Your iPhone

While you may resort to all these steps in the event your iPhone is lost/stolen or even if you are lucky to be able to recover the device, there are a few things you can do to avoid such inconvenient situations in the future.

  • Do remember to turn on the Find My iPhone option through Settings/iCloud on your phone.
  • Ensure the passcode or PIN you have assigned for unlocking your device’s front screen is a strong one, with more than four characters
  • Upload important files, photos, data from your apps and other information from your phone to your iCloud account as frequently as you can so your data can be saved if your phone is lost or stolen.
  • If you’re in a situation where you might lose your iPhone or it is risky to display it, keep the device inside your pocket or handbag and take it out only when you feel safe.
  • And lastly, while leaving public places like a restaurant or a library, check if you have picked up all your belongings, particularly your iPhone.

Smartphones don’t come cheap and iPhones are perhaps the most expensive devices out there. If you’re an average smartphone user, your whole day likely revolves around your phone. As such, keeping it safe is always a better option than waiting until it’s lost or stolen to adopt preventative measures.

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