How to Set Up Find My iPhone on iPhone

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Introduction to Setting Up Find My iPhone

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If your iPhone or iPod touch has been lost or stolen, it's not necessarily gone for good. If you set up Find My iPhone before it vanished, you may be able to get it back (or at least keep the person who has it now from accessing your data). It's crucial that you enable Find My iPhone before your device goes missing. After it's already gone, it's too late.

RELATED: Is the Find My iPhone App Required to Find a Lost iPhone?

Find My iPhone is a great tool for finding lost or stolen iPhones. It uses the built-in GPS or location services of your device to locate the device on a map. It also allows you to lock or delete all data from your device over the Internet to prevent a thief from accessing it. (If your device is lost, you can also use Find My iPhone to make your device play a sound. Just listening for the dinging between the couch cushions.)

Find My iPhone Requirements

Find My iPhone is a free part of iCloud. As long as you have an iCloud account and a supported device, you can use Find My iPhone. It's available if you're running iOS 5 or higher on an iPhone 3GS or newer, a third-generation iPod touch or newer, or an iPad.

Setting up Find My iPhone 

Since it's free and can potentially help you get out of a bad situation if your device goes missing, there's no reason not to set up Find My iPhone today. 

The option to set up Find My iPhone is part of the initial iPhone set up process. You may have enabled it then. If you didn't, follow these steps to turn it on.

To start, you'll need an iCloud account. Your iCloud account probably uses the same username and password as your iTunes account. If you're not sure that you've got an iCloud account, or aren't signed in:

  1. Tap the Settings app on the home screen
  2. Tap iCloud
  3. Tap Account and sign in
  4. Enter your iCloud username and password.

Continue to the next page for more set-up instructions.

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Enabling Find My iPhone in the iCloud Settings

how to set up find my iphone

Once iCloud is enabled, you just need to enable Find My iPhone and you're all set. To do that, follow these steps (if you're already on the iCloud screen, skip to step 3):

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Tap iCloud 
  3. Tap Find My iPhone
  4. Move the Find My iPhone slider to On (iOS 5 and 6) or green (iOS 7 and up)
  5. In some versions of the iOS, a second slider will appear, asking to Send Last Location. This sends your device's last-known location to Apple when it's about to run out of battery. Because Find My iPhone can't work on a device with no battery power, this is used to try to locate devices after they've run out of juice. I recommend enabling it by moving the slider to green.

Depending on what version of the iOS you're using, you may get a message making sure you understand that this turns on GPS tracking of your iPhone (GPS tracking for you to use, not for someone else to track your movements. If you're concerned about privacy, check out this article). You may need to tap Allow to turn on Find My iPhone.

With this done, Find My iPhone is set up and ready to use. To learn how to use it to protect your device and your data, read on.

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Using the Features of Find My iPhone

Find My iPhone app
The Find My iPhone app in action.

Turning Off Find My iPhone

I don't recommend doing it, but if you want to turn off Find My iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Tap iCloud
  3. Tap Find My iPhone
  4. Move the Find My iPhone slider to Off (iOS 5 and 6) or white (iOS 7 and up)
  5. In iOS 7 and up, you'll need to enter the password for the iCloud account being used on the device. This feature, called Activation Lock, is designed to prevent thieves from turning off Find My iPhone to hide the device from the service.

Using Find My iPhone

You hope you never have to use Find My iPhone, but if you do, you'll find these articles helpful: