Apple fans know their favorite gadgets don’t come cheap. But there’s more than money tied up in your MacBook, iPhone, or iPad. They might also be full of your personal information, photos, games and apps. If you lose your Apple phone, tablet, or laptop, you want to get it back as soon as possible.
Apple’s finding features can help you figure out where your missing gadgets went, whether you forgot your laptop at the coffee shop, accidentally left your iPhone at a checkout when you were running errands, or lost your iPad under a couch cushion at home.
These features aren’t just about locating your lost tech, they can also help you protect your personal data if you can’t recover them. You just need to take a few steps ahead of time to set up Find My Mac or Find My iPhone.
Turn on Find My Mac
Start up your Mac and click on the Apple icon menu in the upper corner. Click on System Preferences and then iCloud. Click on the checkbox next to Find My Mac. You may get a message asking to use the location of the Mac. Click on Allow.
Turn on Find My iPhone (or iPad)
There’s a similar process needed to turn on the find feature for your iPhone or iPad. Open Settings and tap on your name. Next, tap on iCloud and then Find My iPhone (or Find My iPad). Tap the toggle switch to turn this on. You may need to sign in with your Apple ID. Apple also recommends turning on the Send Last Location feature. This will send your device’s location to Apple when the battery is critically low.
Find your lost Apple gadget
Now it’s time to locate your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. You can try this out before you need it so that you’re familiar with the process in case you actually do lose your device.
Log into iCloud.com/find on a computer using your Apple ID and password. Click on Find My iPhone if it doesn’t go directly there. The website will show a map with your device’s last known location. The “All Devices” menu at the top lets you select which item you’re looking for, whether it’s your phone, tablet, or a Mac computer.
If your device is online when you select it from the menu, then you will see its location tagged on a map. Again, you have the option to make it play a sound, which is a high, piercing tone. This can help you locate it in your house if you’ve just misplaced it nearby.
You can set your iPhone or iPad in Lost Mode if it’s not close. Apple will ask you to enter a phone number where you can be reached. You can also customize a message that will appear on the screen. The default option is “This iPad has been lost. Please call me.” Apple will then remotely lock your device with its existing passcode.
If your recovery efforts fail, then you can choose the Erase option to scrub your personal information off the device. If you find the gadget later, you can reactive it with your Apple ID and password, but you will then need to restore your data. This is why it’s a good idea to back up your device ahead of time using iCloud. For more on that, check out our Komando tips for backing up your Apple gadgets.
If your Apple gadget is offline
If your device is offline, you will see a notice letting you know this. You can check the “Notify me when found” option to get an alert when it comes online. The Play Sound option will also trigger it to make noise when it connects to the internet. You can choose to lock or erase your device from this screen. These are last-resort options if you need to protect your private data, or you know you won’t be able to recover your Apple gadget.
Use the Find My iPhone app
You have another option for accessing Apple’s finding system. If you have another Apple device handy, then you can log into the Find My iPhone app to located, lock, or erase your missing gadget. Check out our in-depth Komando tutorial for using the Find My iPhone app.
Hopefully, you will never lose your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, but it’s better to be prepared. It only takes a few moments to turn on Find My iPhone and it could reunite you with one of your most valued pieces of technology.