Smartphones represent a significant financial investment. They routinely cost hundreds of dollars, even when purchased for a discounted price with a two-year contracted service commitment. This is especially true of the iPhone, which is only available through certain premium service providers. Buyers will not find the iPhone sold through discounted service providers like Tracfone, Boost, or Virgin Mobile. Given the cost, it is only natural for owners to protect their phones from loss or theft.Thankfully, Apple makes it easier than ever to find a lost phone and take added security in the event of theft, using a simple and intuitive service called “Find My iPhone.”
What is “Find My iPhone”?
“Find My iPhone” is a remotely managed app that allows users to find and enable security on an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac, no matter where it is physically located. Using iCloud, owners can set up the “Find My iPhone” service and rest easy, knowing that their phone is protected. As long as an iPhone has battery life, this service allows owners to:
- Use GPS to locate the device on a map.
- Make a noise to help locate the iPhone when it is within a short range.
- Activate “Lost Mode” to lock the device and begin tracking.
- Erase all personal data from an unrecoverable device.
Which Models offer “Find My iPhone”?
“Find My iPhone” is available on any 3rd Gen iPhone or later that has iOS 5 or newer, which is required to run iCloud. Later models have additional services, like the new feature called “Activation Lock”. iPhones running on iOS 7 or later automatically turn on this new feature when “Find My iPhone” is set up. “Activation Lock” service turns on security features which make it more difficult for anyone to use or sell a lost or stolen Apple product with iCloud access.
What is Activation Lock and How Does it Work?
When an iPhone is stolen, the first step for the thief is typically to hack in and access personal data. This can give the iPhone holder access to the owner’s iTunes account and any one-touch purchasing that is set up on the device. Next, many iPhones are wiped to factory default, allowing the thief to resell the now clean phone. Activation Lock throws a wrench into the process by making anyone with the iPhone enter the associated Apple ID and password before they can:
- Access “Find My iPhone” features to disable them.
- Sign out of iCloud.
- Erase and reset the device to factory condition.
Protect Your Investment with “Find My iPhone”
Investing in an iPhone comes with a lot more than just the cost of the phone. People spend a lot on matching accessories. A Bluetooth headset can add to the cost, along with device specific accessories like iPhone cases, belt clips, screen protectors and more. Even when buying products at well below retail on eBay, the costs can add up quickly. Given the easy portability of the device, accessing “Find My iPhone” from any computer is a must in the event of a lost or stolen phone.