Find My is a tool from Apple that helps you find your Apple devices, items, and friends. It’s like a GPS for your Apple products. It is available on most Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, AirPods and items tagged with AirTags.
Find My can be used to play a sound on a lost device to help locate it. Additionally, it can be used to remotely lock or erase a device, and it can be used to set up notifications when a device enters or leaves a certain area.
With Find My, you can easily locate your lost or stolen devices. You can also use it to share your location with family and friends.
Find My and iCloud both use the same Apple ID and password. Find My allows you to locate, lock, and erase your Apple devices, while iCloud stores and syncs your data across all of your Apple devices. Once setup, iCloud also allows you to access your data from any device with an internet connection. By connecting your Apple ID to both services, you can easily locate your devices and access your data from anywhere when you sign in.
Find My is an essential part of Apple’s suite of services. It is easy to set up and use, and it is a powerful and versatile tool. In short, Find My is a great way to keep track of your Apple products and make sure they don’t get lost or stolen.
This guide explains everything you need to know about Find My, formerly known as Find My iPhone or Find My Mac.
Table of Contents
What does Find My do?
Find My is an app that allows you to:
- Track any Apple device you own
- Locate items that have an AirTag attached to them
- Track and find friends and family
Apple says about Find My, “You can get help finding your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, Mac, AirPods or AirTag — all in the Find My app”.
If you can’t find your Phone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, or Mac computer you can use Find My to track their location on a map. Some devices can also mark their location when the battery is critically low, to help you find them even if they run out of power.
You can also play a noise on the device if it is nearby so you can track down its exact location.
You can send a message that appears on the Lock Screen of the device, such as a contact number or some other instructions on how to reach you.
If your Apple device goes missing you can turn on Lost Mode using Find My. This feature starts tracking your device, sets a passcode to protect your data, and will notify you when it is found.
If you are concerned about the personal data on your Apple device if it falls into the wrong hands, you can remotely delete it. You can also remotely reset your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple Watch.
The Find My network allows you to track your missing device even if it can’t connect to the internet.
iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple Watch also have Activation Lock, which is designed to prevent other people from setting up, using, or selling your device. Activation Lock is enabled when you set up Find My on your device. Activation lock can be turned off by supplying your Apple ID and password on the device itself, or remotely via the iCloud website.
This tracking feature came in very handy for me when I lost my phone in a cinema. After a day out I realized I no longer had my iPhone with me. I simply tracked my lost iPhone using Find My and on the map saw that the phone was still in the cinema I visited earlier that day. I went back to the movie theater and found my phone under my seat. I doubt I would have found my device without the Find My app.
It also works well for stolen devices, which UK sports celebrity and former England rugby captain, Will Carling, found out when his iPad was taken. He was able to get his iPad back by sending messages to the device telling the thief to hand the device to the police back in 2011.
With Find My, you can easily share your GPS location with contacts who have an iOS, iPadOS, or macOS device. You can decide how long to share your location for – an hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely. Your contacts will be able to view your exact location on a map and get directions to you. You can also set notifications to alert you when someone leaves or arrives at a certain location.
Invite your friends and family to share their locations with you so you can stay connected, coordinate around an event, or know when a family member has arrived home safely.
Check everyone’s location on a map and make it easier to find each other. You can share your location for an hour, a day, or indefinitely – it’s up to you.
You can also opt to receive notifications when your child arrives at school or a family member leaves work.
Everyone’s privacy is respected and location data is kept private. Find My is designed to give you control over your data. Location information is only sent to Apple when you actively locate your device, mark it as lost, or enable Send Last Location. Data is encrypted on Apple’s servers and stored for no more than 24 hours. When the Find My network is used, everyone’s information is kept private – even from Apple.
With the release of iOS 14.3, third-party Bluetooth items and accessories can also be tracked, under a separate “Items” tab using Find My. If something is out of Bluetooth range, the app will display the last known location until another iOS, iPadOS, or macOS device is nearby. Your items can be placed into “lost mode” preventing others from pairing to it. Lost items can be identified from within the Find My app, allowing the finder to see a message or contact information from the owner of the lost item.
If you have misplaced your keys or forgotten your purse, AirTags can help you locate them quickly. The Find My network can help you track down items on a map. You can play a sound on your AirTag to find something nearby, and you can even get the distance and direction to your lost item with Precision Finding.
The specific requirements for using Find My depends on the item:
- iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, AirPods, AirTags, and Third Party Items must be running the latest version of iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, or macOS.
- All devices must be signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID.
- Find My must be enabled on each device.
- Location Services must be enabled on each device.
- Bluetooth must be enabled on each device.
- AirTags must be paired with an Apple device.
- Third-party items must be compatible with Find My.
Find My includes the following features:
- Find My Friends: This feature allows you to locate and share your location with friends and family. You can also set up notifications to alert you when someone arrives or leaves a certain location.
- Find My Device: This feature allows you to locate your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, or Air Pods if they are ever lost or stolen. You can also play a sound on your device to help you locate it.
- Lost Mode: This feature allows you to lock your device with a passcode and display a message with your phone number on the Lock Screen.
- Activation Lock: This feature prevents anyone else from using your device if it is ever lost or stolen. Find out more about What Activation Lock is and can do.
- Remote Erase: This feature allows you toerase all the data on your device remotely.
- Notifications: This feature allows you to receive notifications when your device is located, when someone arrives or leaves a certain location, or when your device is in Lost Mode.
- Location History: This feature allows you to view the locations your device has been to in the past.
Privacy and data protection in Find My
Privacy and data protection are at the core of Find My. Apple has implemented a number of measures to ensure that your data is secure and private.
First, Find My uses end-to-end encryption to protect your data. This means that all data is encrypted before it leaves your device, and only you have the key to decrypt it. This ensures that no one else can access your data, even if they were to intercept it.
Second, Find My does not store your data on Apple’s servers. Instead, all data is stored on your device and is only shared with other users when you explicitly allow it. This means that no one else can access your data without your permission.
Finally, Find My also uses two-factor authentication to protect your account. This requires you to enter a code sent to your device in order to access your account. This ensures that even if someone were to gain access to your account, they would not be able to access your data without the code.
Overall, Find My takes privacy and data protection seriously and has implemented a number of measures to ensure that your data is secure and private.
Find My iPhone was first released as an app in June 2010 for users of MobileMe. In November 2010, with the release of iOS 4.2, Find My iPhone became available for free for compatible devices. In October 2011, with the launch of iCloud, the service became free for all iCloud users. Additionally, Find My Mac was released for Mac computers running OS X 10.7.2 “Lion” or later, allowing users to locate their Macs using iCloud.
With the release of MacOS Catalina, the Find My Mac app was combined with the Find My Friends app to create the new Find My app.
Using Find My
To use Find My, you must first enable it on your device. Once enabled, you can locate your device by signing in to icloud.com/find or by using the Find My app on another Apple device.
Find out more about How to setup and use the Find My App.
How to enable Find My
On iPhone, iPad and iPod
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap your name at the top of the Settings menu.
- Tap “iCloud” in the list of options.
- Scroll down and tap “Find My” in the list of options.
- Tap the toggle next to “Find My iPhone” to turn it on. 6. Enter your Apple ID password when prompted and tap “Turn On.”
- Tap the toggle next to “Send Last Location” to turn it on.
- Tap “Done” in the upper right corner to save your changes.
- Open System Preferences on your Mac. This can be done by clicking the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen and selecting System Preferences.
- Select the iCloud option.
- Click the checkbox next to Find My Mac.
- Enter your Apple ID and password to authenticate the change.
- Click the Allow button to confirm the change.
- Find My Mac should now be enabled on your Mac.
On Apple Watch
- Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap the My Watch tab at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap the Find My tab at the top of the screen.
- Tap the toggle switch next to Find My to turn it on.
- Enter your Apple ID and password when prompted.
- Tap the Allow button to confirm that you want to turn on Find My.
- Tap the Done button to finish.
For AirTags and third-party items
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap on your Apple ID banner at the top of the screen.
- Tap on Find My.
- Tap on the toggle switch next to Find My iPhone to turn it on.
- Tap on the toggle switch next to Allow Offline Finding to turn it on.
- Tap on the toggle switch next to Find My AirTag to turn it on.
- Tap on Done to save your changes.
How to turn off Find My
On iPhone, iPad or iPod
- Open the Settings app on your iPad.
- Tap your name at the top of the Settings menu.
- Tap Find My.
- On iPad: Tap the toggle next to Find My iPad to turn it off.
- On iPhone: Tap the toggle next to Find My iPhone to turn it off.
- On iPod: Tap the toggle next to Find My iPod to turn it off.
- Open System Preferences on your Mac.
- Select iCloud.
- Click the checkbox next to Find My Mac to turn it off.
On Apple Watch
- Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap My Watch at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap General.
- Tap Find My Apple Watch.
- Tap the toggle next to Find My Apple Watch to turn it off.
On AirTags and third-party items
- Open the Find My app on your iPhone.
- Tap Items at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap the AirTag you want to turn off.
- Tap the toggle next to Find My AirTag to turn it off.
If you have problems find out what to do if you can’t turn off Find My iPhone.
Get detailed instructions on enabling and disabling Find My on your device including screenshots and detailed step-by-step instructions.
Inside the Find My app
The Find My app is a powerful tool for locating and managing your Apple devices. It’s organized into three sections, which are accessible by tapping the tabs at the bottom of the screen. On the left, you can find people, in the middle, you can find your own devices, AirTags, and items, and on the right, there’s a Me tab with all of your settings and info.
All of your Apple products are listed, and devices where you’re signed into iCloud and have the Find My feature enabled are locatable through the app.
When you select a device, you can get directions to its location in Apple Maps, Play a Sound for locating a nearby lost device, or get a notification when it’s found if it’s offline. You can also mark a device as lost, which locks the lost device, disables Apple Pay, and allows contact information to be put right on the lock screen. As a last resort, there’s a tool for deleting all of your data.
With the Find My app, you can easily locate and manage all of your Apple devices.
The Me tab in the Find My app shows your current location and gives options for sharing your location, accepting friend requests, selecting who to share your location with, and naming a specific place.
The Devices tab of the Find My app allows you to view the location of all your Apple devices that are signed in to iCloud. You can also view the battery level of each device, as well as play a sound on any of your devices to help you locate them.
Additionally, you can use the Lost Mode feature to lock and track a missing device.
The Items tab of the Find My app allows you to add or view the location of your AirTags or other supported items that are associated with your Apple ID.
Find My Items tab
Apple has added an Items tab to the Find My app in order to provide tracking capabilities for AirTags and third-party items.
The Find My app is a great way to keep track of your family and friends and to ensure that you can always find them when you need to.
With the app, you can easily view the location of any contact who has shared their location with you. You can also share your own location with any contact, even if they haven’t shared their location with you.
You can also access their Contacts card to send a message or get directions to their location.
Furthermore, you can remove friends and turn off your own location sharing with the person if it’s a mutual location sharing contact. You can also choose to share your own location permanently, for an hour, or until the end of the day. Additionally, you can turn on notifications to get notified when your friends leave or arrive at a specific location, and you can also notify them when you leave or arrive at a specific location.
Locate devices without a connection
In iOS 13, Apple has added a Find My Network feature that uses Bluetooth and proximity to other Apple devices to locate lost devices that are not connected to WiFi or LTE. This means that even when a device is offline, it can still be tracked if it is close to another Apple device. Tracking a device in this way requires Bluetooth to be enabled, as location is shared with another device using Bluetooth. If Bluetooth is turned off or the device is powered down, it becomes untrackable. However, if the device is on, has Bluetooth enabled, and is near another Apple device, it can be tracked even if it can’t connect to WiFi or LTE.
In the Find My app, tracking a device over Bluetooth will appear the same as a device with a standard connection, except the distance from you will be listed in gray instead of blue, and the time of the last location update will be listed.
To disable Offline Finding, open up Settings, tap on Find My, select Find My iPhone and then choose the Disable Offline Finding option.
Locate devices that are switched off
Starting with iOS 15, devices that have been turned off can still be tracked by the Find My network.
This feature works by leveraging other nearby Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and Macs, to locate the device even without a WiFi or cellular connection. It is unclear exactly how this feature works, but it is likely that either the U1 chip, Bluetooth, or NFC continues to be powered in the background even when the device is off or out of battery. However, tracking may only last a limited number of hours if the device is out of battery.
For this feature to work, the Find My network feature must be enabled, which is on by default. You can check this by going to your profile, tapping on Find My, selecting Find My iPhone, and then making sure Find My network is toggled on.
Find out more about locating a device that is powered off using Find My.
Track devices that have been deleted and reset
With the introduction of iOS 15, even if someone steals your iPhone and erases it, it will still be trackable using the Find My app. This is because Activation Lock, which requires your Apple ID and password to use the device, is still enabled.
In prior iOS updates, erasing a device would disable Activation Lock, preventing Find My from functioning. However, with the new update, erasing a device will not disable Activation Lock, meaning it will remain tied to your account and locatable using Find My.
Additionally, the Find My app now has a feature for tracking a device that’s turned off, making it a much stronger theft deterrent. To ensure that someone isn’t tricked into purchasing a device that’s still tied to your account, the Hello screen on a newly erased iPhone will make it clear that the device is locked, locatable using Find My, and the property of someone else.
For more information see:
- Activation Lock on iPhone.
- Activation Lock on iPad, iPad Pro, and iPad Air.
- Activation Lock on MacBook and Mac.
- Activation Lock on iPod.
- Activation Lock on Apple Watch.
Help a friend find their lost device
If a friend has lost their device, they can tap on the Help a Friend option under the Me tab in the Find My App on your device. This sends them to iCloud.com so they can access their iCloud account. Once they have signed in, they can use the Find My feature to locate their lost device.
Unfortunately, there is no option to sign out of Find My to let another person sign in like you could with Find My iPhone.
To find out more, see How to switch off Find My from another device.
In April 2021, Apple introduced AirTags. These are small, circular Bluetooth-enabled item tracker designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets.
With the Find My app, you can track your belongings right alongside your other Apple devices.
The AirTags also feature Lost Mode, and can be tracked through the Items tab in the Find My App. Additionally, they can take advantage of the Find My network, allowing them to be tracked by billions of iPhones, iPads, and Macs when they’re out of range of your own devices.
Tracking third-party items
With the release of iOS 14, Apple has enabled third-party Bluetooth products to be tracked using the Find My app. Through the Find My Network Accessory Program, users can add third-party products to the Find My app and track them on the Find My map.
This program also allows users to use features like Lost Mode and Play a Sound to help locate their items.
Although the Find My Network Accessory Program is separate from AirTags, it will provide similar tracking capabilities for third-party accessories.
In iOS 15, Apple added Separation Alerts to the Find My app. This feature is designed to help you keep track of your Apple devices, AirTags, and other Find My-enabled third-party devices.
With Separation Alerts, you can set up notifications in the Find My app to remind you if you leave your iPhone, keys, or other important items behind.
Find My anti-stalking measures
The Find My app has a feature to protect against stalking and tracking by alerting you if an AirTag is near you. If an unknown item is detected and moving with you, you will receive a notification.
Additionally, if you hear a mysterious chirping, it could be an AirTag that has been slipped into your things without you knowing.