How Do I Find My iPhone?

Lost your iPhone? One powerful app is the key to not freaking out (too much).

It’s the nightmare scenario for every iPhone owner — our phone has gone missing! Did I leave it at home when I went to work? Did it fall out of my jacket when I was leaving the coffee shop? Did someone pick up my phone by accident? The mind reels with questions, especially the most important one: How do I get my phone back? Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. Relax. Everything is going to be OK.

Recovering your lost phone begins with, well, Find My iPhone. This app comes standard on all iPhones, and it acts like a beacon, allowing you to locate and lock (if necessary) your device in case it goes missing. It’s recommended you keep it on all the time, and we couldn’t agree more. If it’s off and your phone vanishes, your chances of finding it plummet. To turn on Find My iPhone, tap Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Find My iPhone.

If your phone ever does go missing, there are two ways to track it down using Find My iPhone. You can sign into iCloud.com on a computer and click Find iPhone, or you can open the Find My iPhone app on another iOS device and sign in to your iCloud account. Once you’ve accessed the app, you can see its location on a map and enable a two-minute pinging noise and vibration to help you locate it when you’re on the scene. Hopefully it’s right where you left it! If it’ll take a minute to get to where your phone is, you can also turn on Lost Mode, which locks down the phone so no one can access its data or Apple Pay information.

FYI: If your phone’s battery dies or it is turned off, you won’t be able to see its location. But you can still put it in Lost Mode and remotely erase it. Those actions will take effect the next time your phone is turned on.

Speaking of erasing your lost phone, you can do this remotely if you feel your device is lost forever. Erase Phone deletes everything from your phone and resets it to factory settings. Again, only do this if you know you can’t get it back — all of your data will be wiped out — then file a claim to get a new phone.

If your iPhone was stolen, there’s not much Find My iPhone can do. Instead, borrow someone else’s phone and report the theft to the police. If your phone is still on, you can use Find My iPhone to help direct authorities to your phone’s location.

Find My iPhone is a powerful app, even if you only think about it when you need it. But by being proactive and ensuring the app is on and connected to your iCloud account, you’re protecting yourself from any future misplacements, forgotten memories, or, worst case, thievery.

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