Practical Apps: Find My iPhone
The free “Find My iPhone” app allows you to quickly locate your Apple based mobile device from another supported device (you can also achieve much of the functionality from the iCloud web service) as well as being able to lock and remote wipe a lost device.
From a personal perspective it could potentially save you and your family a lot of time when you are madly rushing around looking for your iPhone and from a business point of view it could help you track all your connected devices.
LOCATE A RANGE OF DEVICES
To setup support for Find My iPhone you need to download and install the app then activate the functionality under Settings, iCloud (switch the slider for Find My iPhone to On). Next, launch the app and sign in and it will come up with all the devices you have associated with your iCloud email address. As long as you have a device that can access the internet you can locate a range of iOS devices includes iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.
Once everything is configured and you are logged in to the application you should see a list of Devices with the device type (iPhone, iPad, etc.), device name, and indicator as to whether the location is available or not available (red dot means not available, green dot means the location is available).
Tapping the blue arrow icon next to a device will bring up an Info panel with an option for playing a sound (a two minute chime) with an optional message displayed on the remote screen. The chime from the sound is quite loud and you are sure to heard it and successfully find you phone.
Further options allow a remote lock of a device (which requires a pass code on the remote device) and a remote wipe (to ensure your important data is removed). Use these features with extreme caution as there are consequences to using them (for example you will no longer be able to locate the phone after a remote wipe) – I would recommend you read the help information available within the application.
If the device location is unavailable you can opt to receive an electronic mail message when the device becomes available.
When you have selected a device to locate you can choose to see the location on a map (using Google Maps) which shows the location of the device and provides shortcut access to the features described above. The location on the map is updated every few seconds so you can track the device as it moves around.
THE DEVICE NEEDS TO BE SWITCHED ON
One of the downsides of the application is that it relies on the device being powered on, and connected to a network, so don’t expect it to be a complete safety net (for example, it won’t find the device if the battery is flat). Hopefully a future version of the app may record the last known place the device was located and perhaps get the device to update iCloud with its location just prior to shutting off. At present this functionality is there but it only shows a last known location for up to 24 hours.
An important thing to remember is that the audio chime still works and sounds out, for two minutes, even if the phone you are finding is set to silent.
The “Find My iPhone” app has quickly become one of the most practical mobile applications I have on my iPhone and I would recommend it as one of your first downloads when setting up a new phone. The latest version (version 1.4) of the Find My iPhone app currently has a 3.5 star rating, on the Apple App Store, based on 365 Ratings (as at 28th May 2012).
Practical Apps: Find My iPhone