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Enable Find My iPhone or iPad
Find My iPhone used to be a paid service but it's now free and it allows you to locate your iPad (or iPhone) on a map when it's lost - or more likely, misplaced in your house, movie theatre or Chic-Fil-A.
First, log into your iCloud account or create a new one in Settings > iCloud > Account. Then slide the switch for Find My iPhone to ON. When you misplace your iPhone or iPad, use any web brower to access https://www.icloud.com/#find, log in and click the icon for Find My iPhone. From there you have several choices:
- Play Sound, which is super useful for finding it when it's lost in your house
- Lock Mode allows you to display a message on the lock screen with a contact number. Then whoever finds it can call you without accessing the rest of the information on your device.
- Erase iPhone, which completely wipe it of all information.
Find My iPhone will also send you email messages confirming your actions and notifying you of the status of your device.
Find My iPhone helped me recover my iPhone 4 when it was picked up by a stranger in Hollywood Studios Orlando and I've used it to find my parent's iPhones several times.
Bonus points: For extra security, you can prevent a saavy thief from disabling Find My iPhone by turning on Restrictions and locking changes to Location Services. Here's how to do it:
- Settings > General > Restrictions > Enable Restrictions (enter your passcode)
- If restrictions are not enabled, choose the 'Enable Restrictions' option and then create a 4-digit PIN code and confirm it.
- Then scroll to Privacy > Location Services and touch Don't Allow Changes
If you don't take this step, a savvy thief that takes your phone before the auto-lock engages can simply turn off Find My iPhone just as fast as you activated it. When Don't Allow Changes is enabled, the Find My iPad section of Settings > iCloud is greyed out and it can't be switched off.
Update: An important new feature called "Activation Lock" was added to Find my iPhone in iOS 7, which I cover next...