Being unable to locate a lost or stolen iPhone causes frustration, anxiety, and financial loss. According to a recent survey, 95% of Americans own a cell phone, and almost 1 in 3 smartphone owners will experience losing their devices at some point. Fortunately, iOS provides several tracking options that can help you find your lost or stolen iPhone quickly. In this article, we will explore how to utilize these options, from Find My iPhone, tracking apps, GPS devices, to Family Sharing and iCloud.com.
How to Use Find My iPhone Feature Built Into iOS to Track Your Lost or Stolen iPhone
Find My iPhone is a built-in locating service on all iOS devices. It enables the device owner to find, lock, and erase their phone remotely. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to enable and use Find My iPhone feature:
Enabling Find My iPhone on Your Device:
Go to Settings > Apple ID (Your Name) > iCloud > Find My iPhone. Switch it on by toggling the button on the right. This will enable the service to locate your phone when it goes missing.
Tracking Your iPhone via Find My iPhone Feature:
1. Open iCloud.com on your computer or download the Find My iPhone app on another Apple device.
2. Log in to your iCloud account with your Apple ID and password.
3. Choose Find My iPhone from the list of available apps.
4. Select your lost or stolen iPhone from the list of devices that appear. Find My iPhone will launch a map showing the phone’s location.
5. If your phone is nearby, you can play a sound to make it ring. If it is not within earshot, you can choose to lock it, erase it, or send a message to ask the person who found it to return it to you. If you choose to erase your phone, you will lose all of your data and content. However, it may be necessary if you store sensitive information on it, like email accounts, passwords, or credit card information.
Different Tracking Apps Available on the App Store, Their Features, and How They Work
Many third-party tracking apps on the App Store can help you locate your missing iPhone. However, they may cost you a subscription fee or require some extra features for full function. Here are some popular tracking apps, along with their features and functionalities:
Find My Friends:
Find My Friends is a free app provided by Apple that works exclusively with the iPhone. As its name suggests, it allows you to track the location of friends and family members who have agreed to share their location information with you. This app is handy for keeping tabs on your kids or finding your friends while on vacation, but it is not as effective in locating a stolen or lost iPhone.
Life360 is a family tracking app that provides real-time location updates from users who share their location information. It offers more detailed location history, location sharing with non-iPhone users, driver safety features, emergency alerts, and a premium subscription that includes stolen phone recovery services and the ability to use the app on a smartwatch.
Prey Anti-Theft app is a popular tracking app that can protect all of your devices, including your iPhone, Windows, or Android devices. It uses GPS and Wi-Fi tracking capabilities to locate your phone, emit a loud alarm, display a custom message, and lock the phone with a password. The app also allows users to trigger a fake call to the phone, take a picture with the front-facing camera, or wipe data remotely. The basic version is free, but the premium options offer additional features, including geofencing, advanced theft alerts, and technical support.
Review of GPS Tracking Device That Can Be Attached To Your iPhone to Track Its Location in Real-Time, Along with Its Pros and Cons
A GPS tracking device is a small tool that can be attached to the back of your iPhone. It is an attractive option for those who prefer constant and accurate location tracking. Here are some of its pros and cons:
Features and Benefits of GPS Tracking Device:
• Accurate real-time tracking
• Built-in or replaceable battery options
• Compact and lightweight design
• Compatible with iOS and Android devices
Pros and Cons of Using GPS Tracking Device:
• Reliable location tracking service
• Minimal setup and maintenance required
• Can work without Wi-Fi or cellular service
• Can share location with family or caregivers
• Additional cost for the device itself and initial setup fees
• Requires an additional subscription to premium GPS tracking services
• Might reduce battery life or interfere with your phone’s signal
How-to Article on Setting Up Location Sharing with Family Sharing on iPhone
Family Sharing is a service provided by Apple that allows up to six family members to share each other’s purchases, music, movies, and more. It also enables location sharing between family members. Here’s how you can enable location sharing:
Enabling Location Sharing in Family Sharing:
1. Go to Settings > Apple ID (Your Name) > Family Sharing > Set Up Your Family.
2. Follow the prompts to add family members or create a new account.
3. Once you have set up your family, go to Settings > Apple ID (Your Name) > Family Sharing > Share My Location.
4. Toggle on Share My Location.
5. You can also choose to share your location permanently or during specific times. You can also hide your location from certain family members or remove them from your family account.
Benefits of Using Location Sharing with Family Members:
• Keep track of family members during trips or emergencies
• Helpful for monitoring elder or senior family members
• Allow for easy meet-ups and coordinating travel plans
How to Use a Third-Party Service like iCloud.com to Track Your iPhone’s Location from a Web Browser
Icloud.com is a web-based service provided by Apple that allows users to access iCloud features, such as Find My iPhone, from any web browser.
Using iCloud.com to Track Your iPhone:
1. Access iCloud.com from any web browser and log in to your iCloud account with your Apple ID and password.
2. Click on Find My iPhone.
3. Type in your Apple ID and password once more.
4. Confirm the device you want to locate and track it on the map.
5. Use the sound, lock, or erase options if you need to.
Advantages of Using iCloud.com over Other Services:
• Accessible from any web browser and any device
• No downloads or installations required
• Integrated with other iCloud features like Contacts, Mail, and Calendar
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to tracking a lost or stolen iPhone. Each tracking option has its unique set of strengths and limitations. We recommend enabling Find My iPhone on your device as a first-line defense against phone loss or theft. For those who prefer broader location sharing and extra features, we recommend Life360 or Prey Anti-Theft. If you’re looking for smart and portable GPS tracking, a GPS tracking device is a good option. Family Sharing is a great option for sharing your location with your loved ones, and iCloud.com is a convenient option for those who need quick access to Find My iPhone from their web browser. Lastly, to avoid losing or getting your iPhone stolen, it’s always best to keep a close eye on your phone, set up a passcode, and backup your data periodically.