I’ve been a fan of the Find My iPhone feature since day one. It’s great that Apple provides a way for you to locate a missing iPhone on a map, remote lock it and remote wipe it. However, I hadn’t looked at this feature in a while and while I was writing the new edition of my iPhone Book I took a new look. Wow!
How does it work?
If you have an iCloud account (no reason not to, it’s free) and you setup your iCloud account on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac you can use the Find My iPhone feature of the iCloud website anytime your device comes up missing. Perhaps you misplaced it in your house. In that case you can use this feature to play a sound on your device even it’s muted or in Do Not Disturb mode. If you left your device somewhere or it was lost or stolen you can display a message on it that gives instructions on how to get in touch with you. At this point you can also lock it (if you didn’t already have a passcode lock on it). Lastly if you feel that the device is gone and never coming back you can remote wipe it. Once you start the remote wipe process it can’t be stopped. Even if the device is powered off, the wipe will continue once it’s powered back on.
Great, but I want one more option
Like I’ve said in the past, Find My iPhone is awesome! However, I do wish Apple would allow us to take it one step further in the case of theft or a lost device that isn’t coming back. I think that there should be a remote wipe option that renders the device unusable until it is taken into an Apple Store where the rightful owner can enter their security code, Apple ID password, etc. This way a stolen Apple device becomes useless and therefore less attractive to would be thieves. Wiping my info is great, but if they could then just plug it in and set it up as a new device, that means I’ll probably never get it back.
Check out Find My iPhone (also works with Macs) by logging in at iCloud.com.