How to use Find My app to track a lost or stolen iPhone or iPad (iOS 16)

How to use Find My app to track a lost or stolen iPhone or iPad

Whether you’re trying to track down a lost phone or keep tabs on your child’s whereabouts, the Find My app is an essential tool that every iOS user should be familiar with. The app uses GPS technology to pinpoint the device’s location and displays it on a map, enabling you to track it in real-time.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll take you through how to use the Find My app to locate a lost or stolen iPhone or iPad! Without much ado, let’s get started.

What features are available for your missing iPhone or iPad?

If your iPhone or iPad is stolen, misplaced, or lost, you can use the Find My iPhone app to perform the following actions: View the location of your device.

  • View the location of your device.
  • Play a sound on your Apple device.
  • Activate Lost Mode, which marks the device as lost.
  • Perform a remote erase so that no one can access your data.
  • Receive a notification when the device is found.
  • Receive a notification when the device is left behind.

How to find a lost or stolen iPhone or iPad using Find My app

The Find My app provides a simple solution for locating misplaced or lost devices. Nonetheless, there are several approaches available to help you access Find My. Here is a list of the methods you can utilize.

Note: This method will only work if you have Find My set up on your device.

Find your lost device on a Map

  1. Open the Find My app → Head to the Devices tab in the bottom navigation bar.
  2. Pull up the Devices section from the bottom of the screen.
  3. Tap on the misplaced device.
    You’ll also view all the devices of the family sharing group.
  4. Select Directions.

    Head to Devices tab, pull up the Devices section, tap misplaced device, and select Directions
  5. Now, you’ll be redirected to Apple Maps. Follow the instructions provided on the screen to locate your iPhone.

Play a sound

Before t device is not connected to the internet, this feature will not be operational.

  1. Launch Find My app on your iPhone,
  2. Make sure you’re on the Devices tab.
  3. Locate and tap your misplaced device in the Devices list.
  4. Tap Play Sound.

    Go to Devices tab, select misplaced device, tap Play Sound

Mark your device as lost

By marking your lost iPhone or iPad as lost, you can remotely lock it with a passcode to safeguard your device information. Moreover, activating this mode will automatically disable Apple Pay on your iPhone. The following steps can be taken to mark your device as lost:

  1. Head to the Find My app.
  2. Choose Devices → Select the misplaced device from the list.
  3. Scroll down and select Activate underneath Mark as Lost → Tap Continue.

    Choose Devices, select misplaced device, pick Activate underneath Mark as Lost, tap Continue
  4. You’ll now have to enter the below-mentioned (it’s optional):
    • Phone number
    • Message
  5. Toggle on Receive Email Updates → Choose Activate from the top right corner of the screen.

    Enter Phone number and Message, toggle on Receive Email Updates, and choose Activate

Once you precisely follow the instructions above, you will see the Activate button in the Mark As Lost section turn red and update to Activated. Additionally, your message and phone number will appear on the screen of your lost device.

Erase your device remotely when it’s lost or stolen

I do not recommend using this step unless your intention is to erase all data on your device to prevent unauthorized access. Remember, once the data is erased, it cannot be recovered. However, if you have decided to proceed with erasing all data from your lost device, please feel free to follow the steps provided below.

  1. Launch the Find My app on your iPhone.
  2. Head to the Devices section → Locate and tap your misplaced device.
  3. Scroll down and select Erase This Device → Choose Continue.

    Head to Devices section, choose your misplaced device, select Erase This Device, and tap Continue
  4. Enter your Phone number (it’s optional) → select Erase.
  5. Provide your Apple ID password → tap Erase on the top right corner of the screen.

    Enter your Phone number, select Erase, provide your Apple ID password, and tap Erase

Note: I suggest filing a complaint instead if you have AppleCare+ Theft and Loss coverage for your device.

How to track your turned-off or dead iPhone

Don’t panic if you’ve misplaced or lost your iPhone and it’s turned off or dead. You can still track your iPhone or iPad using Apple’s built-in Find My app.

When the owner activates the Lost Mode and turns on the Find My feature, the device emits a Bluetooth signal that nearby Apple devices can detect, enabling them to track its current location.

If your iPhone runs out of battery or if you switch it off, the iPhone or iPad will have some reserved battery power that can power Bluetooth in the worst-case scenario. This enables you to still use this feature. Find My uses Wi-Fi and GPS signals in addition to Bluetooth signals to track the location of a lost iPhone.

Note: Apple states that enabling the Find My network on a compatible iOS/iPadOS allows for locating the device within 24 hours of turning it off or up to 5 hours when in power reserve mode.

How to locate your friends with Find My app

There is no hard and fast rule that says you can only use Find My if you’ve lost or misplaced your device. In fact, you can use this app to track the whereabouts of your loved ones and share location information with your partner, friends, and family. Simply follow the steps outlined below to accomplish this.

  1. Launch Find My app.
  2. Select the People tab from the bottom.
  3. Tap on the friend’s name in the people section → Choose Directions.

    Select People tab, tap on the friend's name, choose Directions
  4. You will now be redirected to the Apple Maps; tap on GO to start the tracking. Once tracked, you can view the directions, and by following the on-screen directions, you can meet up with your friend.

How to track third-party accessories using Find My app

Before we delve into the steps to locate your AirTag, it is important to ensure that you have the latest iOS version. Once you have linked your AirTag to your Find My, you can easily follow the steps below to locate it.

  1. Open the Find My app.
  2. Head to the Items tab from the bottom navigation bar.
  3. Select the item you’d like to locate.
  4. Choose Find to track down the item.

You will now be taken to Apple Maps, where on-screen instructions for locating your lost item will be displayed. By following these directions, you will be able to find your misplaced belongings.

Aside from Air Tag, Find My is compatible with a variety of third-party accessories. The following devices are currently compatible with Find My:

However, this list is expected to grow in the near future.


What should I do if I believe my lost or stolen iPhone or iPad has been stolen?

If you have lost or had your iPhone or iPad stolen, the initial step is to access the Find My app and label your device as lost. Following this, it is recommended to contact authorities and file a missing report. In the interest of safety, you may also choose to remotely lock or erase your device by utilizing the Find My app.

How accurate is the location information provided by the Find My app?

The location information provided by the Find My app can be precise to a few meters depending on the strength of your device’s GPS signal. However, the location information should only be used as a rough guide and not for pinpoint accuracy.

That’s it!

Losing an iPhone or iPad can be upsetting, but you can use Find My to locate your device using the methods described above. If you haven’t already, spend some time exploring the features of Find My, as it can help you stay connected with your devices and loved ones. If you have any concerns or questions about your Apple devices, please leave them in the comments section below.

Read more:

Author Profile

Bhaskar is a member of the iGB family and enjoys experimenting with words and rhythms. He also has a knack for web and app development. If not writing, you may find him on strings or engaging in sports. And by evening, his quotes will be appearing on your Instagram feeds.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.