If you are reading this article, I can only assume you have lost your phone, want to be prepared in case you lose it, or are interested in tracking someone else’s. There are few things scarier than losing your phone or having someone steal it. We have almost everything on our phones from our personal conversations, personal information, emails and social media accounts. If these are to get in the hands of the wrong people, it can easily turn into a disastrous situation.
Also see our article How to Record a Phone Call – 3 Solutions
It is completely normal to be in a frantic state of mind and be a bit panicked when you lose your phone. If you are panicked about losing a phone or being unable to locate the phone of a friend or family member, you’re in luck. There are a few different ways that you can track an iPhone, and I will go over them in this article.
First, I will go over how to locate and find your own phone if it has gone missing or been stolen. Next, I will go over how you are sometimes able to track or locate the phone of a family member or friend.
But before getting into how to track your phone, there are a few things you need to make sure of so you know if you can even track your phone or not. If your phone is not connected to the internet or you do not have iCloud set up, you will not be able to find your phone. These phones are machines, not magic. If you are not connected to the internet with the GPS capabilities, you’re out of luck. Also, during your phone set-up, if you didn’t activate Find My Phone, the following method likely won’t work for you.
Without any further ado, let’s get that phone of yours found!
Finding/Tracking Your Own Phone
If you lost your phone, it can be an awfully stressful time. But thankfully, “Find My iPhone” comes pre-loaded on all phones with iOs 9 or newer. This app is the gold standard when it comes to locating your lost iPhone. Here’s how to use it to find your missing iPhone and track it down:
Step 1: Open up the “Find My iPhone” on a different device
It doesn’t matter if you decide to use your iPad, your computer or a friend’s iPhone. If you are using an Apple product like another phone or an iPad, you can simply click on the app. If you are using a computer, go to icloud.com
Step 2: Input Your Apple ID Credentials (as they are the same as your iCloud info)
Since you are not using your phone, you won’t be automatically logged in. Once you log in to the app, select the “All Devices” drop-down option and then find the device that you want to locate.
Step 3: Once You Select Your Phone, Options Will Appear
As soon as you select your device on the page, it will begin to search for it. If the search is successful, you will see your device on a map, pinpointing it’s location. But before running out the door and going to get it, there are some other options you should take a look at.
Once you select your device you will have three additional options in addition to seeing your phone’s location. These options are playing a sound, activate “Lost Mode” and erase the phone.
Playing the sound is a great way to find your phone if you lost it somewhere around your house. If you click the option, an audio alert will go off on your phone which will hopefully help you find it.
When enabled, Lost Mode will lock your phone with a passcode and will display a message of your choice. This can either ensure it will be safe until you can find it, or will alert the thief what you expect of them and that you know where they are. This mode can also enable location services on your phone too.
However, if things have gone too far and you think there is a very slim chance you will ever get your device back, the best course of action is to simply erase it. While yes, this is giving up, but it also prevents your personal information getting into the hands of someone who could abuse it.
If you follow these steps (and have covered all the bases I went over before the steps), you should have your phone back in your pocket in no time.
Tracking Someone Else’s Phone
Sorry to burst your bubble, but you can not track someone else’s phone without their knowledge. This guide is used to help you track or locate the phone of a friend or family member after it may have gotten lost. While there are supposedly apps that you can install on a target’s phone to track it and keep tabs on what they are doing on it, that is not the goal of this article. Also, doing things like that without someone’s knowledge is completely illegal and immoral. In addition to this, they could also find the app which would lead to a very awkward situation
Now that has been covered, it’s time to help you find your loved one’s phone. Like when you needed to locate your phone, there is an app that can help you find the phones of your friends and family with ease. “Find My Friends” used to have to be downloaded, but now it comes with iOS, so if you update your phone, you should all have it.
This is an app that basically allows you to share your location with others and vice versa. It can be great for keeping track of where your kids are at, knowing what your significant other is doing or just keeping tabs on your friends. It can also help them find a lost phone (as long as you have “Shared Locations” with them). Here is how to set it up:
Step 1: Open the app on your phone and the phone of the person you want to be able to track you or have you track them.
Step 2: Click your profile in the bottom left of the screen.
Step 3: Enable “Share My Location” and make sure AirDrop is enabled too on your own phone.
Step 4: From there, your friends and family will be able to search/add you to share your location with them and vice versa. You each will need to accept the “Shared Location” request from the other. Now, you can just click on their profile in the app and keep track of them.
As you likely realized throughout reading this article, it is a much better idea to be proactive than reactive when it comes to tracking phones. If you set up “Find My iPhone” and “Find My Friends” before your phone gets stolen or lost, it will save you a lot of potential hassle down the road. While it may be a bit worrisome to have someone be able to see your location at all times, it can really save you once your phone goes missing and you need to track it down. Here it is best to pick someone who you trust a lot to not take advantage of the information an app like “Find My Friends” can provide them with.
No one deserves to have their phone stolen or go missing, but thankfully, there are some ways to have it returned home safely or at leas have the information deleted. Hopefully, this guide helped you be able to find your phone or the phone of your friends and family, or at least prepared you for when it may happen.