How Find My iPhone works

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Martí Micolau
@martimicolau

How to Enable Location Services (Preliminary Procedure)

The first thing you need to do in order to be able to use the Find My iPhone tool is to activate the location services via GPS. Clearly this procedure is essential to be able to remotely track your device, in case you lose it. So I'll explain in the following lines how you have to proceed, step by step.

First, go to the Home Screen of your Apple smartphone and open the application of Settings (has the symbol of a gear). Then scroll down to the bottom of this screen, you will need to locate the item Privacy and tap on it. At this point, tap on the item Location and now activate your device's GPS by moving from OFF a ON the lever present in correspondence with the wording Location.



Now you will need to make sure you have activated the location sharing tool: to do so, tap on the item Share my location and make sure that the lever is present in correspondence with the wording Share my location is set to ON. If not, move the toggle from OFF a ON to activate this feature manually.

By acting in this way you will have activated the localization of your device through the GPS and also the tool that allows the sharing of the same.

How to enable Wi-Fi or cellular data (optional)

The Find My iPhone remote location service makes use of the Internet network in order to be able to track the geographic location of the device in real time. If your aim is to make the most of this service, I recommend that you keep the Wi-Fi antenna of your device active, or alternatively, in the absence of an accessible Wi-Fi connection, you can activate the data network of your smartphone. ; in fact, an Internet connection will be enough for Apple to be able to better track the location of your lost device.



To enable Wi-Fi or data network, go to the main screen of your Apple smartphone or tablet and then, in the Settings, tap on the wording Wi-Fi access.

Then move from OFF a ON the lever that you find in correspondence with the wording Wi-Fi and connect to your home network or to a free Wi-Fi network by tapping on it. If you have a secure network you will need to enter the Password to access.

If, on the other hand, you want to activate the data network, from the Settings of your Apple device, tap on the item Mobile phone. Then activate packet data by moving from OFF a ON the lever that you find in correspondence with the wording Cellular data. You will then have access to the Internet using the Internet connection provided by your mobile phone provider.

Before proceeding, please note that these options are optional: the Find My iPhone location tool will still be able to locate your device; however, it will only be able to show you the last known position before the Internet connection is deactivated, making it visible thanks to what I would define as a sort of offline mode.

How to activate Find My iPhone

Once you have activated the location services you will need to enable the remote location tool Find My iPhone. By doing this, even if you lose your device, you will be able to find it again.


To do this, go back to the main screen of your device and tap on the application Settings (symbol of a gear). Now, if you have an iPhone updated to the latest version of iOS, tap the you don't know to access the settings relating to the iCloud service.


Scroll down the next screen until you find the entry iPhone of [your name] and tap on it. You will now need to make sure that the tool Find my iPhone is active. If it is, the wording will be present Yes at the item Find my iPhone. If not, tap on the latter and then move the lever from OFF a ON to activate it manually.

Also, I recommend that you activate the feature as well Send last position by moving the lever from OFF to ON. This way your device will automatically send the latest location to Apple's tool, allowing you to track it even in the extreme case that the battery runs out.

Once you have carried out this preliminary procedure, you can start using Apple's remote location tool. In the following lines I tell you about its operation.

How Find My iPhone Works (Web)

After having performed all the preliminary procedures indicated by me and activated the Find my iPhone tool, you can start using this remote location tool in detail.

To take advantage of Find My iPhone, you need to access the appropriate iCloud tool: you can then use it from anybody who is connected to the Internet and through the most popular web browsers (for example, Google Chrome or Safari). Alternatively, if you don't have a computer, you can also use this tool from another iOS device, thanks to Apple's app of the same name.


To use it from a browser, go to the official iCloud website and log in: you will then have to type your email address and password that refer to your Apple ID. Confirm access by pressing the button with the arrow symbol but keep in mind the two-factor authentication: if you are logging in from an unknown browser, you will be asked to enter a special code invited to your mobile phone. The code will also be sent to other devices linked to the Apple account. Once logged into your iCloud account, click on the application icon Find my iPhone to start using this tool.


If, on the other hand, you need to use Find my Iphone as a resource to find your lost smartphone, click on this link which refers directly to the Find My iPhone feature, allowing you to skip the SMS verification procedure. Also, in case you are asked, type again email and Password related to your Apple ID and click on Log in.

Once you have clicked on the Find iPhone you will finally be able to track down your device. Keep in mind that you will be shown a map in which you can see the geographical position of the device you own and the other connected devices.

To search for the device to be tracked, click on the entry All devices which you can see located at the top of the screen. Using the drop-down menu you can then choose the device to be tracked by clicking on its name (for example iPhone di ridingworks).

Once you click on the device name you will be able to see its location on the map and use the options to track it. The tools you have at your disposal are the following:

  • Make sound: allows you to ring the device to be tracked remotely in order to be able to locate it, if it is nearby.
  • Lost mode: allows you to activate a particular mode and show a phone number on the lock screen of the device to be tracked.
  • Initialize the iPhone: this option is the last resort. By clicking on it all data contained on your device will be deleted and your device will be restored to its factory state. If you click on this option, you will also be logged out and will no longer be able to locate the device using the Find My iPhone tool.

As I mentioned earlier, the Find My iPhone tool is also accessible via homonymous application for Apple devices. To take advantage of this tool on mobile devices such as iPhone and iPad, you can follow the instructions I have just given you regarding the Web version.

How Find My iPhone works

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