How to Use Find My iPhone to Find a Lost/Stolen Phone

Use Find My iPhone
Find My iPhone in action on iCloud.

If your iPhone has been stolen, you may be able to get it back—or at least prevent the thief from getting at your personal data. To do that, you need to have set it up to use Find My iPhone before it was stolen. Everyone hopes to never need this article, but if you do, these instructions will help you use Find My iPhone to locate a lost or stolen iPhone.

Here's What You Need:

  • A web-connected computer or device

Related: Do you need the Find My iPhone app to use Find My iPhone?


If your iPhone or iPod touch (or iPad or Mac) is missing, following these steps to try to recover it:

  1. As already mentioned, you need to have set up Find My iPhone on your device before it was stolen. If you didn't, there's not much you can do, unfortunately.

    If you did, go to in your web browser. 

    There's also a Find My iPhone app (link opens iTunes) that you can install on another iOS device to track yours. This article covers using the web-based tool only.

  2. At iCloud, log in using the account you used when setting up Find My iPhone. This is probably your Apple ID/iTunes account.

  3. When you log in, you'll see a set of web-based tools offered by iCloud. Click on Find iPhone.

  4. Find My iPhone immediately begins trying to locate all the devices you have it enabled on. You'll see onscreen messages as it works.

  1. If you have more than one device set up for Find My iPhone, click the All Devices menu at the top of the screen and select the device you're looking for.

  2. If it locates your device, Find My iPhone zooms in on the map and shows the location of the device using a green dot. When this happens, you can zoom in or out of the map, and view it in map, satellite, and hybrid modes, like in Google Maps.

    Check out the next section of this article for what to do if your device is not found.

  1. When your device is found, a window appears in the right corner of your web browser. It lets you know how much battery your phone has and offers a few options.

  2. The first option is to have it play a sound. Sending a sound to the device is best when you think you've misplaced your device in the house or office and want help finding it. It can also be helpful if you think you know where a device may be, but someone is denying it. To do this, click Play Sound.

  3. You can also click the Lost Mode button. This allows you to remotely lock the device's screen and set a passcode (even if you hadn't previously used a passcode). This prevents the thief from using your device or accessing your personal data.

    To do this, click the Lost Mode button and enter the 4-digit lock code you want to use. You can then also enter a phone number where the person who has the device can reach you (this is optional; you may not want to share this information if it's been stolen). You also have the option to write a message that is displayed on the device's screen. 

  4. For even greater security, you can also delete all data from the device. To do this, click the Erase button. You'll see a warning (basically, don't do this unless you're absolutely sure you want to). Click the box that says you understand what you're doing and click the Erase button. This will delete all the data on your phone, preventing the thief from accessing it.

    If you get the device back, you can restore your data from backup.

  1. If you think your device is on the move, click the green dot representing your icon and then click the rounded arrow in the pop-up window. This updates the device's location using the latest GPS data.

What To Do If Your iPhone Is Offline

If the device you're looking for is turned off or out of battery, isn't connected to the Internet, or has had its Location Services disabled, it won't show up on the map. In that case, Find My iPhone gives you a handful of options:

  • ​Check the Notify Me When Found box to have Find My iPhone let you know when your device connects to the Internet so you can find it
  • The three options—Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase—are available here. You can use whichever you want. The next time the device is turned on or connected to the Internet, the option you selected will happen on the device
  • Choose Remove from Account if you've sold or given away the device and don't want it to show up in Find My iPhone anymore.

To dismiss the screen showing the offline device, just pick another device from the Devices menu.


Related: Why Is Find My iPhone Not Working?

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