Please Note: If you haven’t activated Find My iPhone when you set up your device, this method won’t work.
The official Find My iPhone can be downloaded from the App Store but it is not necessarily needed to track your iPhone. The app doesn’t have to be installed on your stolen iPhone. Find my iPhone is actually a cloud-based service by Apple. The app is only an alternative way of accessing this service to locate your iPhone. If you own an iPad or a second iPhone, you can also install the app and try to locate your missing device. Otherwise, all you need is a browser and your Apple ID login details.
How to locate and find a stolen iPhone without an installed tracking application:
If you’re on iOS7 or a later version, a feature called Activation Lock will prevent anyone from disconnecting your device from iCloud, turning off Find My iPhone or erasing your device without your Apple ID password. So you need not worry about that. Now let’s get back your stolen/missing iPhone.
1. Access iCloud and start find my iPhone
At icloud log in using your Apple ID credentials. After signing in, you will see your iCloud dashboard with different icons. Now click on the Find My iPhone icon. Now you should see the Find My iPhone interface, including a map.
2. Choose your lost device and start tracking
Click on All Devices drop-down menu on the top bar and select the missing device. The tracking of your iPhone will now start. This can take a while, depending on several factors. If Find My iPhone is successful and found your device, you should be able to see its location on the map. Now you have the option to trigger an acoustic signal on your device (in case you cannot find it in your house), activate Lost Mode and erase all data. Use the erase option as a last resort, since Find My iPhone won’t work anymore on your device afterward.
Activating Lost Mode shall lock your device with a password and would also display a message of your choice together with a phone number so that a nice soul hopefully contacts you to give your iPhone. The Lost Mode has the smart ability to enable location services on your iPhone, in case it’s deactivated. So there is no need to worry if you realize that you turned it off. It will stay enabled as long as your device is in Lost Mode.
This is basically all you have to do to track your stolen/lost iPhone. It is essential that your lost device needs to be turned on and somehow connected to the internet. If mobile data is turned off and it’s not connected to WiFi, you won’t be able to track it using Find My iPhone.
Your only hope would be to wait and hope that the thief or someone, who found it, connects to the web. You won’t have to stay inside of iCloud and hit refresh all the time. If your device is offline, you can let Apple notify you once it’s back online.
Or Use Google Location History (now Timeline) to find your lost iPhone, Google’s Timeline (former Location History) maps out all location data that has been collected from your iPhone. Google not only stores all that location data of yours but also makes it accessible in its interface. Apple and Google like to gather information about all sorts of things, including your location.
Although this is an invasion of your privacy and some people intentionally disable location services on their devices, it can be very helpful when you lose your phone. With this service on, you can see where you’ve been on a map. Using this tool, you can see where your lost phone was located the last time it sent its location data to Google. In case your iPhone is still on and is connected to the web, it will continue sending its location so you can see exactly where it is and go get it back. Even if it the battery is out, you can still see its last reported location.
To see the location history you can follow the given steps:
- Visit google.com/maps/timeline (https://www.google.com/maps/timeline?pb=!1m9!2m8!1m3!1i1990!2i0!3i1!2m3!1i2090!2i0!3i1!2m2!6b1!7b1!3m10!1m9!2m8!1m3!1i2015!2i8!3i24!2m3!1i2016!2i0!3i22!5m0!6b1!7m3!4m1!2i8741!7e94)
- Click on the Today button or select today’s date in the top left side of the screen.
- Look at the left side of your timeline and scroll to its end to find the last reported location of your iPhone. Also, check all recorded points in the map. Make sure to check the time stamps so that you don’t just know the last location but also when your phone was last connected to Google.
- Try to use the location data to figure out if your iPhone is simply lying somewhere waiting to be picked up, or if it’s moving. If it isn’t staying put, you should contact the authorities and get them to help you retrieve your (apparently) stolen device. We wouldn’t recommend you going after a thief alone. Who knows what kind of person took your phone.
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Can I track my iPhone if it’s turned off, is in airplane mode or not connected to the internet?
As long as your iPhone doesn’t have a working connection to the internet, it won’t be able to send any location data. With Find My iPhone you can let the tool check regularly for your iPhone location. As soon as it goes back online (for e.g., someone charges and turns it on), Find My iPhone will notify you. This enables you to locate it as soon as possible. You can also check your Google Maps Timeline (see above) for your phone last reported the location to Google.
If someone turns off location services would it be possible to find my iPhone?
Even if a stranger turns off location services on your iPhone, it’s still possible to locate your iPhone. With Find My iPhone you can activate the Lost Mode. This activates location services on your iPhone and tries to locate it. It will stay activated as long as your device is locked.
Can I still locate my iPhone although I’ve already erased my iPhone?
No, you can’t. Once an iPhone has been erased, it’s not possible to locate it anymore. Erasing a phone is to delete everything, including personal data, images, user settings and all logins (including iCloud). Without a connected iCloud or Google account, tracking isn’t possible. We recommend that you try to use your Google Maps Timeline (mentioned above) to get the last recorded location of your phone.
We hope that the methods mentioned above help you find How to track & find stolen iPhone. Please let us know through your comments if we have been of any help to you.