Use 'Find My iPhone' to Locate a Lost or Stolen Phone

Locate your phone with Apple's free iPhone finder

If your iPhone is stolen or lost, Apple offers a free tool to help you get it back. Even if you can't get your phone back, you can use the tool to prevent a thief from obtaining your personal data. This iPhone recovery tool is called Find My iPhone. It's part of iCloud and uses the phone's GPS and internet connection to locate it on a map and perform some remote actions.

Find My iPhone works with iOS 5 and higher on iPhone 3GS and newer, as well as iPad, iPod touch (third-generation and newer), and Mac.

How to Use 'Find My iPhone' to Find or Erase Your Phone

The Find My iPhone service must be set up on your device before it is lost or stolen. After the service is set up, there are two methods to locate a phone: use the iCloud website or the Find My iPhone app (open it on any iOS device to track your phone).

Here's how to use Find My iPhone from the iCloud website:

  1. Visit and log in with the same Apple ID that's logged in to the iPhone.

    Sign in to iCloud web page
  2. Select Find iPhone to search for all the devices that are logged in with your Apple ID.

    Find iPhone icon on iCloud webpage
  3. Find My iPhone zooms in on the map and shows the location of the device using a green dot. Zoom in or out of the map, and view it in standard, satellite, and hybrid modes, like in Google Maps.

  4. To locate a specific device instead of displaying all your devices on the map, select All Devices and choose a different device.

    Screenshot of All Devices shown on map
  5. Select the device on the map, then choose the i icon to display a window with additional options.

  6. To make your phone play a sound, select Play Sound. Use this option when you think the device is nearby or someone has your device.

    Play sound on Find My iPhone via iCloud website
  7. To remotely lock the device screen and set a passcode (even if you haven't set up a passcode on the device), select Lost Mode. This prevents another person from using the device and accessing your personal data.

    Lost Mode button in Find my iPhone via iCloud website

    Use Lost Mode to write a message that displays on the device screen. For example, enter a phone number so that the person who has the device can contact you.

  8. To wipe your iPhone remotely if you don't think you'll get the phone back, choose Erase iPhone. Erasing the data on the phone prevents you from finding it in the future with Find My iPhone.

    Erase iPhone button in Find my iPhone via iCloud website

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

  9. If you think your device is on the move, select the green dot on the map that represents your phone and, in the window that appears, select the rounded arrow to update its location using the latest GPS data.

    Refresh button in Find my iPhone via iCloud website

What to Do If Your iPhone Is Offline

Even if Find My iPhone is set up, your device may not show up on the map. Reasons this could happen include that the device:

  • Is turned off or out of battery.
  • Isn't connected to the internet.
  • Has Location Services disabled.

If Find My iPhone isn't working, the three options — Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase iPhone — are always available. Use whichever you want so that the next time the device connects to the internet, the option you chose is performed.

An iPhone running iOS 15 and later will appear on Find My iPhone even if it's off or low on battery. This version of the platform uses Bluetooth and near-field communication to "ping" off of other Apple devices in the area to determine its location.

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