Loss or theft of a smartphone is a serious problem. The iPhone’s memory contains a huge amount of personal information: from simple photos and scans of documents to passwords from payment systems. In this guide where we discuss different methods to geolocate your lost/theft iPhone and try to get it back.
The presence of potentially defamatory data can subject the owner of the device to blackmail or even lead to dismissal from work. Modern personalization methods make it easy to find a lost gadget.
Is it possible to track an iPhone by geolocation? Apple’s unique software protects your device’s confidential information. One of the advanced personalization methods is geolocation – an integral part of every iPhone. It allows you to track your location throughout the day.
To determine the exact geolocation of the smartphone, you must first activate the geolocation service. This can be done in the “Privacy” settings menu, where you need to move the slider next to “Location Services” to the right.
Attention! If the location service on your phone is not activated, you will not be able to track its location.
In the same section, you must select a subscriber who will track the location of the device. You can authorize access to the data through the item “Information” – “Share the location.”
Step-by-step instructions: how to track an iPhone
When you discover that your smartphone is missing, you first need to calm down and stop panicking. There are many ways to track the location of a lost device: internal search software, external utilities, and alternatives.
Find Friends service
The Find My Friends utility allows you to track the location of people from your contact list. In real-time, the map displays all movements with an accuracy of 1 meter.
Important! For iPhones with iOS 13, Find Friends and Find My iPhone are integrated into a single Find My app.
To activate the service you need:
- In the “Find Friends” application, select “Add”.
- Turn on AirDrop on your iPhone and wait for its icon to appear on your friend’s device.
- Click on the added device and select “Share All time” or something similar.
In addition to the already installed software, iPhone owners can determine the location of the device by installing external utilities.
Contact if found
The application is free and does not take up much space. Upon activation, the owner’s number is displayed on the screen of the lost device. The utility is designed for the decency of the person who found the phone.
Important! The program does not determine the geo-position of the device but informs the finder of the device with data for communication with the owner.
Paid application, registration is required to access the functionality. Allows you to track iPhone via Wi-fi signal. The location is displayed on the map if the device is active.
The functionality of the external application allows you to track the location of the device, makes the distribution to contacts nearby, blocks the device if necessary. You can use all the useful options only after registration.
The latest iPhone models come with a proprietary device location function. The locator allows you not only to track the device but also to turn on a special soundtrack, as well as completely erase all personal data.
Unlike previous versions, the service does not need an internet connection. Le’s innovative Bluetooth technology keeps your location updated by pairing with other Apple devices in your vicinity.
Attention! To get more data on the location of the phone, you must enable the offline search and last geolocation functions.
Main features of the service:
Play sound. Allows you to detect the device indoors.
Routes. A map opens and a route to the device is built, based on how the owner will get to his destination. Options are provided: on foot, by public transport or by car.
Sending notifications. As soon as the phone is found, the owner will immediately receive a notification.
Activation of the “Lost device” mode. Allows you to block the gadget and track its location.
The function of permanently deleting all information. Used only as a last resort.
With Siri’s help
The virtual assistant allows you not only to find out the latest news and send messages but also to approximately determine the location of the device.
The function is available on the latest versions of smartphones, starting from the iPhone 6s. It is enough to say “Hello Siri” and get the assistant’s answer in the form of a comic instruction or a sound signal. Attention! The method will work only when the “Hello Siri” function is activated.
In a situation when the silent mode is activated or the minimum volume is set, after “Hello Siri”, you need to set the timer for 10 seconds. After the specified time, a loud beep will sound.
If the previous methods did not help, you can use the following options:
- Family Sharing feature. Allows you to determine the geo-position of loved ones. It’s pretty simple to activate it. It is enough to find the “Family Sharing” section in the settings and select the “Invite family members” item. Then either send the link via iMessage or provide your phone for a family member to enter their password. Then confirm the request to enable the Location function.
- Contacting the operator. In a situation where the owner is sure that the phone was stolen, it is necessary to file a statement with the police and in parallel call the operator to block the SIM card number.
- Through messages. You can activate the function in the settings, in the “Privacy” section, where you need to select the item “Share my location.”
What methods of searching by geolocation won’t work for the iPhone?
One popular search method that many people mistakenly believe to be reliable is device tracking by IMEI. Many sites are full of ads offering to find a smartphone by its serial number for a small fee. The only thing that can be obtained as a result of such a service is the loss of both money and time. Since it is impossible to use this function without the assistance of law enforcement agencies.
It is also useless to install so-called spyware for surveillance and eavesdropping. There will be no result from their use, moreover, there is a possibility that the owner may be left without money.
It is best to use any of the reliable methods listed above to find your lost device.
In situations where it is not possible to call the number of the missing smartphone or the owner did not have time to charge the phone, it will not be possible to determine the geo position using standard methods. But even in such cases, it is quite possible to find a smartphone if you know what to do.
iPhone is turned off
Many people mistakenly believe that when the device is turned off, it is impossible to track its location. With iCloud, it’s quite possible to find your lost iPhone. To do this, in the application tab in the “User Profile Settings” section, select “Find iPhone” and activate it using the slider. You also need to enable “Last Location”. After activating the function, the user will see a map with the location of the linked device.
For convenience, you can turn on the playback of a sound signal. If necessary, the scale of the map can be reduced or increased in order to determine the exact direction of searches. For more detailed information, it is worth connecting images from satellites through the “Hybrid” item.
You can try activating the Send Last Location feature. To do this, you need to find the name of your device in the settings menu, select the “Find my iPhone” item using the slider to enable Send Last Location.
Important! The owner should mark the device as lost through “Lost Mode” activation. This will block the device. In this case, the attacker will not be able to access personal information and make payment transactions.
If the iPhone still cannot be tracked, you can erase the entire contents of the device. But you need to do this only when you are fully confident that the phone is lost forever. Since it is almost impossible to recover erased data.
There is no SIM card in the device
When an iPhone is stolen, attackers not only turn off the device but also try to immediately get rid of the SIM card. But if the owner uses an e-sim, it won’t be easy to pull it out.
The only way to get rid of the e-sim is to delete it in the phone settings. But setting a password solves this problem too. As soon as the device becomes active, data on its geo location appears immediately.
Other methods of finding an iPhone
- In addition to the main functionality and external utilities, there are other search options. Alternative methods include:
- Track your location using the universal coordinate system on the Google Timeline website. The method will work, provided that you are previously linked to your Google account and have permission to collect reports on the location of the lost device. The owner will have access to the chronology of movements, including the day of loss.
- Search through tracker applications and direction finders.
- Contacting your official regional Apple representative.
- Placing an announcement on the lost phone on social networks with a request to return it for a fee.
Owners of new iPhones often forget that the device is easy to lose or steal. The first thing after purchase is to register an Apple ID account, duplicate all passwords and write down the serial number, activate the geolocation service, and install search applications. If you lose your device, this will greatly facilitate the process of locating your phone.