Find My Apple Devices

Apple devices

One of the worst feelings in the world is the panic one feels when you can’t find your wallet, pack, or purse. That same feeling applies when you can’t locate your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook. Fortunately, the Find My app – included with all Apple operating systems – can help you find your devices if they are misplaced, lost, or stolen. Let’s review the requirements for using this essential feature for locating a missing iPhone, iPad, or MacBook.

What You’ll Need

To use the Find My app, you’ll need the following:

  1. Update your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook to the latest version of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS.
  2. Enable Find My on your device(s).
  3. Enable Location Services on your device(s).
  4. Enable Family Sharing on your Apple ID.
  5. Access to a separate computer or mobile device for using if you don’t have access to a device in your Family Sharing circle.

In addition to the Apple devices already mentioned, the Find My app can be used to locate:

  • Apple Watch
  • iPod Touch
  • AirPods
  • AirTags
  • and certain third-party products

All of the supported devices are associated with your Apple ID or paired with your device. That includes any family member devices added to Family Sharing.

iPad and iPhones

Enable Find My on iPhone and iPad

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap your name and then tap Find My
  3. Tap the switch to turn on Share My Location (shares your device location with people in Family Sharing)
  4. Tap Find My [device type]
  5. Tap the switch to turn on Find My for your device
  6. Tap the switch to turn on Find My network to locate your device if it’s offline
  7. Tap the switch to turn on Send Last Location if the battery is critically low

Enable Location Services on iPhone and iPad

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Privacy
  3. Tap Location Services
  4. Tap the switch to enable Location Services

Enable Find My on MacBook

  1. Click the Apple menu and click System Preferences
  2. Click Security & Privacy and click the Privacy tab
  3. Click Location Services
  4. Check the box for Enable Location Services
  5. Make sure the box is checked next to Find My in the list of apps
  6. Click the dots or use the left arrow to return to the main System Preferences screen
  7. Click Apple ID
  8. Click iCloud
  9. Make sure the box is checked next to the Find My Mac app in the list of apps
  10. Click Options and verify that Find My Mac and Find My network are both enabled

Enabling Find My for AirPods, Apple Watch, or Beats Products

Pairing your AirPods, Apple Watch, or supported Beats product with your iPhone will automatically include those devices when you enable Find My iPhone.

Locating a Missing Device

To locate a missing Apple device, you can:

  1. Use the Find My app on another Apple device (yours or one in your Family Sharing circle) OR
  2. Log in to

If your device is turned off or unable to connect to a network, Find My can’t locate it.

Managing Found Devices

Using the Find My app, you can do the following with your missing device after connecting:

  • See its location on a map
  • Play a sound on the device (if it can connect to a network)
  • Mark it as lost (enable Lost Mode)
  • Remote erase your device
computer and smartphone

See It On a Map

  1. Open the Find My app
  2. Click or tap the Devices or Items tab
  3. Select the device to see its location on the map. You can also see devices in your Family Sharing group.
  4. Click or tap Directions to show its location in Maps

Play a Sound

  1. Open the Find My app
  2. Click or tap the Devices tab or the Items tab
  3. Select your device and choose Play Sound. 

Offline devices won’t play a sound until they connect to a network.

Enable Lost Mode

Lost Mode remotely locks your missing iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or MacBook using a passcode. You can display a custom message including your phone number on the Lock screen and track your device’s location.

  1. Open the Find My app 
  2. Click or tap the Devices or Items tab
  3. Select your missing device or item
  4. Click or tap Activate or Enable for Mark As Lost or Lost Mode
  5. Follow the onscreen steps. You can:
    1. Display your contact information on your missing device or item, or 
    2. Enter a custom message asking the finder of your missing device to contact you
  6. Click or tap Activate

Remotely Erase Your Device

As a last resort, you can erase your device remotely. All of your information (including any stored payment cards for Apple Pay) is deleted from the device. Once you remotely erase your device, you won’t be able to track it using Find My.

  1. Make sure you’ve tried the other recovery options first – erasure can’t be undone
  2. Open the Find My app and click or tap the Devices tab
  3. Pick the device you want to remotely erase
  4. Click or tap Erase This Device
  5. Click or tap Erase This Device to confirm

Note: if you have AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss, file a claim for your lost or stolen device. Don’t remotely erase it.

An abridged version of this post appeared in the September 2021 edition of Prime Time News, a newspaper for older adults.

Copyright © 2021 – Prime of Life Tech