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Find My iPhone Locates, Locks, or Wipes Your Lost Device

A handy feature included in iOS 5 is Find My iPhone. It was available as a separate app previously, but now is included by default. Here’s how to use it if you ever lose your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

After installing iOS 5, the setup wizard prompts you to enable Find My iPod/iPhone/iPad. If you skipped it – no worries. You can turn the feature on in Settings.

Setup iCloud Find m Ipod Touch iCloud find my Ipod iphone ipad

From another iOS device or your computer, log into the Find My iPhone Site using your iTunes email and password. This handy iCloud site will work from any web browser – it doesn’t have to be an Apple device.

login to icloud.com

Click the Find My iPhone icon.

click find my iphone on icloud.com

iCloud will launch with a location screen powered by Google Maps. If your device is connected to the internet you’ll see the location (within 200 feet) of where it is.

If you click the blue information icon more options will appear.

find my ipod, iphone, ipad map

The info screen is where you can send a message to your device, remotely lock it, or wipe it completely.

lock or wipe or message your lost iphone ipad or ipod

Because you can’t just call an iPad or iPod touch, playing a sound and sending it is useful. Especially if you lost it somewhere in the house. It can also be used to send a message with contact info if someone finds it. The message will display across the front of the screen, just like an incoming SMS.

Message

Photo Credit: Austin Krause

If you think your device is in the wrong hands, locking the device is important. It will immediately lock your screen using your existing pass code. It let’s you create a new password if you don’t have one set up already. One caveat is  you can’t change the pass code. If a thief figures out your password there’s no way to stop them from just unlocking it.

lock the ipod touch or iphone to prevent access

As a last resort, you can wipe the device. Wiping your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch ensures your private data is protected. If you want to control your teenager’s device usage, it’s an effective threat to make them come home on time or do their homework.

wipe your ipod touch iphone or ipad

If you do wipe it clean, and find it later, you can use your iTunes backup to restore it. You can use the Previously Purchased feature to get your paid apps back. And if you back up your device to iCloud, you can recover it from there too.

Previously Purchased

Once the action has been completed you’ll receive an email confirming it.

email confirming ios device lock, wipe, or message

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7 Responses to Find My iPhone Locates, Locks, or Wipes Your Lost Device

  1. Simon H October 20, 2011 at 4:33 am #

    Nice feature,

    Does location services need to be turned on to find the iPhone or is it just any connection to the internet that will work.

  2. Norm October 20, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    Nice feature, but I can’t access this from the iCloud control panel. I must remember or bookmark this site (Find My iPhone). Seems rather counter intuitive. Seems like it be a standard feature on the iCloud control Panel.

  3. Jerry March 22, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    You can change your passcode, but it has to be from the iPad. You can’t change it on icloud.com unless you change it from your iPad first under Settings > General > Passcode Lock > Change Passcode

  4. Randi May 30, 2013 at 12:43 am #

    I used Find My iPhone to locate my son’s stolen phone and we got it back but now he has to type in the pass code every single time he goes to use his phone. After getting it back he disabled the pass code lock through settings but it still locks every time. How do we turn this off?

  5. Simon H May 30, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    You should be able to turn it off by going to settings > General > Passcode Lock.

    If that doesn’t work try logging into find my iPhone again and click the button for “Stop Lost Mode”

    • Randi May 30, 2013 at 10:31 am #

      I tried turning it off in settings and it still continues to lock. When I clicked “Stop Lost Mode” I received a message that Lost Mode would stop but the device would remain locked. My son and his two sisters each have an iPhone 4S and they didn’t name their phones so, when his was stolen and theirs were dead we didn’t know which phone was which and had to lock all three. All three remain locked…

      • Simon H May 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

        Now that you have stopped lost mode, go to settings > general > Passcode lock , type in the Passcode that you entered into find my iPhone. (You might have to enter it twice) then choose the option to turn Passcode lock off.

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