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Open a browser on any computer and go to the iCloud website. You will be asked to enter your Apple ID and password. After you are authenticated, you are presented with a collection of icons, each representing an iCloud app. Click on Find My iPhone. A map will appear with a green dot indicating your iPhone’s location. Click on the My Devices link at the top to view all of your Apple devices. You can access the Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase iPhone features by clicking on your Apple device. It even displays how much power you have left on each device.
What If My iPhone is Turned Off?
Find My iPhone will display the last known location of your iPhone, if it has been turned off. When it is turned back on, the map will update its location. If your iPhone has been stolen, eventually the thief will need to power it back on. If you lost your device and it runs out of power, Find My iPhone should still work. The only caveat is that if you disabled Location Services, you might be out of luck. Make sure you have location services turned on (Settings > Privacy > Location Services > ON — make sure Find My iPhone is also turned on here).
My iPhone Was Stolen, What Should I Do?
iPhone thefts are quite common, especially in major cities. In New York city, iPhone thefts account for 14% of all crimes. It’s so common, stealing iPhones is called “Apple picking”. These thefts are often part of larger criminal organizations. You don’t want to confront these people yourself.
If your iPhone was stolen or you were mugged, use Find My iPhone to locate your device. Do not take the law into your own hands. Contact the police and have them take action. Confronting the thief is never a good idea.
If your iPhone has a passcode, the thief will probably need to reset the device and reinstall the operating system. With iOS 7, which is the only iOS version available, the user must enter your Apple ID to use the device. This won’t completely thwart a thief. It’s possible to install a jailbroken version of iOS, however, this lowers the resale value. Indeed, it may make the device unappealing to black market consumers.
Apple has made it very difficult for thieves to profit. The rest of the smartphone industry is playing catch-up with Apple. After all, it’s not in their best interest to prevent theft. If you lose a smartphone, you will buy another one, perhaps the same brand. Fortunately, non-Apple users have a lot less to worry about. Thieves want to steal iPhones more than any other brand. They have the highest resale value.
Apple’s theft prevention isn’t profitable in the short-term, but it builds brand loyalty. It may also prevent you from being mugged and physically injured. As thieves learn that they can’t make money from a stolen iPhone, they will be less inclined to steal them. It remains to be seen if Apple’s efforts have resulted in less theft. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman urges iPhone users to upgrade to iOS 7 to prevent theft. Apple’s theft prevention scheme is getting a lot of solid support. It’s all the more reason you should upgrade to iOS 7.