This Apple service was once part of the fee based, MobileMe offering, is now free and bundled as part of the iCloud suite. I have found various parts of the iCloud to be unreliable (particularly for those users attempting to integrate Apple devices with one or more Windows based computers). If you are interested in reading an earlier post on this subject, please click this link. However, Find My iPhone works very well and can make your life easier in several ways!
Like many insurance policies (and Find My iPhone is actually "insurance" against the day your iDevice is stolen or misplaced), once you need the insurance it is too late to get the policy! (Ever heard of someone trying to buy fire insurance as the house burns, or obtain medical insurance after getting news of a chronic illness?) In order for Find My iPhone to perform its magic, you have to install this simple App on each iPhone and iPad you want to track. Be sure to SIGN IN to the service on each device! Downloading the App does nothing more to protect you than getting an insurance application and leaving it unsigned on your desk! Once you have completed these two quick steps, it is likely you will forget all about this App until you need it!
The service itself is elegantly simple and "just works." You can access the service from another iDevice--I have yet to lose BOTH my iPhone and iPad simultaneously!-- or any browser through the iCloud Control Panel:
Please note, you do not have to use any other Apple iCloud service to activate and take advantage of Find My iPhone. When activated, Find My iPhone determines the location of your device(s) using a combination of GPS and wi-fi (if available) and provides a graphic display of each iDevice's physical location:
If your device is in unfriendly hands, you have the option of remotely wiping the device of any and all sensitive data. This feature will help you rest easier especially when combined with the option to limit the number of attempts to open your device using the PIN # erase feature found under Settings | General | Passcode Lock on your iDevice. By also setting the Erase Data option to "On" your device will auto delete after ten unsuccessful unlock attempts. This is actually a first tier level of protection you should engage now if you have any sensitive data-- and virtually everyone carrying a smart device has something they would rather not share with unscrupulous thieves-- whatsoever:
But with Find My iPhone, you don't have to wait, worry, and "hope" the auto destruct feature set above works its magic! Log into Find My iPhone from another iDevice or web browser and select the missing smart device. You will have three simple but effective options:
- Play Sound or Message (This option will Play A Sound even if the device has been set to Vibrate!)
- Remote Lock.
- Remote Wipe.
Each of these alternatives have a place in your arsenal of remote nuclear destruction. Even combinations of choices makes sense in certain circumstances. For instance, if your iPhone is lost at a party, it may be discovered with Option 1 and then Locked using Option 2 until you can physically retrieve the device.....
What happened this morning? Well as occasionally happens in my world, I couldn't put my hands on my iPad this morning. I wasn't truly panic stricken because I knew the device was somewhere in my house, the question was where! (This series of events is all too familiar for those close to me!) After fifteen minutes of fruitless searching, I headed to my home office and fired up Find My iPhone. I selected my iPad and after confirming it and I were indeed sharing the same address at the moment, I selected "Play Sound or Message." After this, it was only a question of wandering around and listening for the wayward device. I found it well hidden, snugly secured between my mattress and headboard. Without this service, I would probably still be frantically searching (creating a heck of a mess in the process), cursing, and making my dog very nervous. This may sound like a trivial example of forgetfulness (and it is in many respects), but it also shows how a feature you think may only have value after your iDevice has been left in a cab can make life better.
So if you haven't taken the time to add this sentry to your Apple devices. Please make this your next projects after Google+ing (as that a verb!?), tweeting, or sharing this article on Facebook with your friends.
If Find Your iPhone has helped you in some way, I welcome your comments!
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This commentary is not meant as an endorsement of any company or to provide financial advice. If the author has any financial interest in any company mentioned at the time of this article’s posting, it will be explicitly noted. I welcome feedback and comments.
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