What Is The Difference Between The Find My iPhone App and the Find My iPhone Service ?

In our How To Track Your iPhone page we explain how to configure your iCloud account and iPhone or iPad to use the Find My iPhone service to track your device.  The biggest question and source of confusion for many users is what is the difference between the Find My iPhone configuration and the Find My iPhone App

This page will explain the difference between the Find My iPhone App and the "Configuration"

 

Watch the video version:

 

Find My iPhone - THE SERVICE

Find My iPhone is an iCloud service offered by Apple to help locate your iPhone or iPad (and now even your Mac!) should you misplace it.  In order to use the Find My iPhone service, you must configure/set it up on your device.  Once configured you can then use a PC, Mac or another iPhone to track and locate the device.

To Configure Find My iPhone you must go into your iPhone settings and enter your iCloud username and password, then make sure that Find My iPhone is enabled:

Find my iPhone settingsiCloud Settings

Now that Find My iPhone is enabled, the iPhone or iPad is trackable via the iCloud Web page or via the Find My iPhone App on another device.

It is important to note that you must configure the iCloud Find My iPhone service BEFORE you lose your device or before it gets stolen.  There is no way to remotely configure Find My iPhone after your iPhone is gone! 

 

Find My iPhone - The APP

The Find My iPhone AppThe Find My iPhone App is a free iPhone and iPad app from Apple that allows you to track and locate a device that has been configured to use the Find My iPhone service:

If you misplace your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, the Find My iPhone app will let you use another iOS device to find it and protect your data. Simply install this free app on another iOS device, open it, and sign in with your Apple ID. Find My iPhone will help you locate your missing device on a map.

As you can see from Apple's description of the app above, the Find My iPhone App is used to locate another device - it is important to note that installing Find My iPhone (the App) on your phone or iPad DOES NOT MAKE IT TRACKABLE -  Installing the Find My iPhone App only allows you to track another device that has been pre-configured with the Find My iPhone service as mentioned above, and on this page: Track your iPhone

 

 

 

Summary:

  • The Find My iPhone service must be configured on your device BEFORE it can be tracked
  • The Find My iPhone App is used to track another device - and does not in itself make a device trackable
  • The Find My iPhone service is intended to help locate a misplaced device, not to track and confront thieves - leave that to the professionals!

 

   

   

Comments

If you didn't have iCloud setup, it's time to go buy a new iphone.

If you had the phone locked with a PIN/Password, and don't have iPhone setup, it is possible to get into your info, but it's very difficult and probably not worth it. It's much easier for someone to reset/erase it, and sell it or use it.

Tip: when you go buy your new iphone, take the 3 minutes to setup iCloud and Find My iPhone!!!

Hello i lost my iPhone 5s the phone is on I have the find my phone app on there but I did not set it up on iCloud is there anything i can do? also if someone were to find it and want to use it the phone has a password would they be able to see my information or would they have to reset the phone erasing all my information(which is what aim hoping) thanks in advance for your help

The phone needs to be able to connect to the internet either by Wifi or via 3G/Mobile data

Does the phone need wifi in order to be trackable using the Find My iPhone?

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