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How to find a lost iPhone, even if the battery has died

Martyn Casserly | March 9, 2016
How to track your iPhone and find it using Find My iPhone, whether it's been lost or stolen.

You can also enable Lost Mode on Find my iPhone where you enter a passcode that'll remotely lock your iPhone. If/when your iPhone is retrieved, you simply enter the passcode and your iPhone is unlocked.

If you're fairly sure you're never going to get your iPhone back, you can erase your phone's content remotely - but with it goes the ability to track the phone, so give it some thought before you go ahead with it.

How to find a lost iPhone if the battery is dead: Use Send Last Location

What happens if your iPhone has run out of battery? Because it's no longer connected to the internet, Find My iPhone stops working. So if you lose your iPhone, you have to use Find My iPhone before the battery runs out.

Normally when an iPhone is turned off or has no power, the Find My iPhone feature can't work as there is no signal being sent from the device. This could be heartbreaking if you've left your phone somewhere and the battery drains before you realise its gone.

This can turn using Find My iPhone into a bit of a time challenge. Can you get to another iOS device or internet connection and log on before the battery runs out? If not, you may never know where it is.

Fortunately, there's a lesser-known feature called Send Last Location that really helps in this situation. With Send Last Location you will at least know where it was when the power finally ran out.

Send Last Location is a feature located inside the Find My iPhone settings. Just before the battery runs out it sends the location of the iPhone to the iCloud server. The iPhone doesn't know if you've lost the device or not, so it does this every time the battery is about to run out.

Follow these steps to activate Send Last Location on your iPhone:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap iCloud.
  3. Tap Find My iPhone
  4. Ensure Find My iPhone is set to On.
  5. Set Send Last Location to On.

We think Send Last Location is a tremendously useful feature, but it's not activated by default (Apple can't or won't collect location data without users' permission) - so this is one measure you need to set up before disaster strikes.

But it's a truly useful feature. Make sure you set it to On, and next time you lose your iPhone you won't have a race against time to find it.

If Send Last Location was turned on when you lost your iPhone, it will show up in Find My iPhone as described in the sections above.

Real life Find My iPhone stories

13-year-old Luca Guerrini-Maraldi experienced something that everyone worries about - stepping off a bus and realising you've left your iPhone on the seat.


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