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How to recover lost iPhone using Find My iPhone (even when it’s dead or not powered on)

Losing a smartphone nowadays can be a serious situation to be in since it usually means you may be compromising important personal information. If you use your  iPhone as a personal assistant, chances are it holds sensitive information like payment options as well. It is therefore imperative to find a way to recover a lost device as soon as possible. If you lost your iPhone 8 or iPhone X, finding it is relatively easy as long as it still connects to the internet and remains powered on.

In this article, we provide the ways on how to rescue your lost iPhone (even if it’s not connected to the internet as well). We also tell you other alternate options that you can use like how to remotely wipe the device to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Hopefully, you’ll find it easily by following the steps below.

Before we proceed let us remind you that you can contact us by using the link provided at the bottom of this page. When describing your issue, please be as detailed as possible so we can easily pinpoint a relevant solution. If you can, kindly include the exact error messages you are getting to give us an idea where to start. If you have already tried some troubleshooting steps before emailing us, make sure to mention them so we can skip them in our answers.


How to set Find My iPhone up in your iPhone 8 and iPhone X (or older models)

In order to recover misplaced or lost iPhone, you need to enable one important feature first. This feature is called Find My iPhone and you can enable it under Settings app. Find My iPhone can help you locate your device in real time although it can also be useful even when your phone’s battery has died. This is made possible by one other useful feature within Find My iPhone itself — Send Last Location. If Send Last Location is enabled, Apple will be notified of your phone’s last GPS coordinate. Obviously, Find My iPhone feature only works successfully if your phone continues to enjoy internet connection in the place where you left it. If it’s in a dead spot, or if mobile data or wifi is turned off, you may only get the last known location of the device where it last connected to the internet.

To enable Find My iPhone and Send Last Location, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on your Apple ID at the top.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Scroll down and tap Find My iPhone.
  5. Tap the switch to enable it.
  6. Toggled on Send Last Location.

How to find your iPhone using a computer

If you don’t have access to another iPhone to use Find My iPhone, the best thing that you can do is to use a computer and go to iCloud.com. Here’s how:

  1. Open any web browser.
  2. Go to iCloud.com and log into your iCloud account. Make sure that this is the same iCloud account you’re using in your lost phone.
  3. Click on Find iPhone in the main menu.
  4. Enter your Apple ID and password and sign in if prompted
  5. Click on All Devices at the top.
  6. Click the device name for the device you’d like to track.

You can zoom in and out of the map if you want. In the map page, you’ll also encounter three options — Play sound, Lost mode, and Erase. Below are the explanations for each of them:

Play sound option allows you to send a command to your iPhone so it makes a sound to draw attention. Play sound will override whatever sound settings you set in your device so even if it’s on vibrate or silent mode, your iPhone will continue to make a sound.

Lost mode option sends a command to your device so it displays a phone number you’ve nominated to be displayed on the screen. Hopefully, an honest soul who’ll find your phone use that number to contact you. Lost mode will also allow the phone to play a sound to get attention. Obviously, Lost mode will only work in your lost iPhone if it still powers on. If it doesn’t, you’ll still be able to access Lost mode in another iPhone or computer but it won’t be activated in your lost device. Once it powers back on and connects to the internet, Lost mode will automatically be activated. Keep in mind that Lost mode will activate location services even if you disabled it before the device got lost.

Erase option is mostly useful in a situation where finding your iPhone is almost impossible and you don’t want someone to access your information. In this situation, we suggest that wipe the phone clean using Erase to avoid risking sensitive data. With this option, your iPhone will be wiped clean and all user data that were not uploaded to iTunes or iCloud before will be gone forever. Even if you’ll find your phone eventually, those data you wiped will be gone forever.

How to find your iPhone using another iPhone or iPad

When using another iPhone or iPad in locating your lost iPhone, you’ll need to have the Find My iPhone app. It’s usually part of the pre-installed apps in any iPhone but if the one you’re using does not have one installed, you can get one for free from the App Store. Once you’ve installed the app, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Find My iPhone app.
  2. Log in with your iCloud ID.
  3. Tap on the name of the device you’d like to track.
  4. Tap on Actions at the bottom to see your options. Here you have the same 3 options you have in the web view of iCloud:
    • Play sound option allows you to send a command to your iPhone so it makes a sound to draw attention. Play sound will override whatever sound settings you set in your device so even if it’s on vibrate or silent mode, your iPhone will continue to make a sound.
    • Lost mode option sends a command to your device so it displays a phone number you’ve nominated to be displayed on the screen. Hopefully, an honest soul who’ll find your phone use that number to contact you. Lost mode will also allow the phone to play a sound to get attention. Obviously, Lost mode will only work in your lost iPhone if it still powers on. If it doesn’t, you’ll still be able to access Lost mode in another iPhone or computer but it won’t be activated in your lost device. Once it powers back on and connects to the internet, Lost mode will automatically be activated. Keep in mind that Lost mode will activate location services even if you disabled it before the device got lost.
    • Erase option is mostly useful in a situation where finding your iPhone is almost impossible and you don’t want someone to access your information. In this situation, we suggest that wipe the phone clean using Erase to avoid risking sensitive data. With this option, your iPhone will be wiped clean and all user data that were not uploaded to iTunes or iCloud before will be gone forever. Even if you’ll find your phone eventually, those data you wiped will be gone forever.

What to do if Find My iPhone was not enabled?

If you failed to enable Find My iPhone before you manage to lose your device, there may still be another way to track it using Google location history. This, of course, also needs to be enabled in your phone first in order to be useful. If you happen to turn on location history in your Google Maps app, you may be able to get a general idea where the last known location of your phone is. To track your phone’s location history, follow these steps:

  1. In your computer or phone, open a web browser and go to maps.google.com/locationhistory.
  2. Log in to your Google account. If you have multiple Google accounts, make sure to use the one logged in your lost iPhone.
  3. Pick the date your phone went missing.
  4. Check the last known address of your device.
  5. Remember, if you think your phone was stolen, make sure to report the incident to properly law enforcement agency. Then, let  a law enforcer accompany you to retrieve your device.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Aside from reporting your stolen device, it may also be wise if you can remotely wipe your phone especially if you were using it for Apple Pay, or if it contains important personal information and/or data. If you’re wondering how to delete credit card information from Apple Pay, here’s how it’s done:

  1. In your computer, open your web browser and go to iCloud.com.
  2. Sign in to your account. Make sure that this is the same iCloud account you’re using in your lost phone.
  3. Click on the Settings app.
  4. Under the My Devices section at the bottom, click on the device you’d like to wipe Apple Pay from — you should see an Apple Pay logo next to any device set up with the service.
  5. Click on Remove All…

Now, all cards associated with Apple Pay will no longer be allowed to make any transactions using that device. We understand you’ll need to use your unique fingerprint to authorize Apple Pay but it’s highly recommended that all credit card information from that device is totally removed to be on the safe side.

 


Engage with us

If you happen to have a problem with your own iPhone, let us know about it and we will do our best to post them and their solutions  in our upcoming articles. You can use this link to contact us for assistance. We can’t guarantee an answer to every question but rest assured that we will exhaust everything on our end to help you.

Be as detailed as possible when describing your problem to help us diagnose your issue easily. If you can include error messages, popups, attempted troubleshooting steps, and circumstances leading to the problem, that would be very helpful.

 

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