You reach for your phone—and realize it’s not where you left it. With a sinking feeling, you pat your pockets, then tear your room apart. But the truth settles in: Your beloved device is gone, and you have no idea where you lost it.
Now that we rely on our smartphones for everything from checking bank balances to making perfect social posts, a lost one can create a huge headache. And we’re not just talking about missing out on Facebook updates. Without your pocket computer, you lose touch with your family and friends (who memorizes phone numbers any more?), risk missing work commitments, and have your travel plans thrown into chaos.
In other words, you need to recover your missing phone as soon as possible. The good news is that your phone has apps to help you. The bad news is that these apps need to be set up in advance.
Before we begin, we have a couple caveats. If you’re reading this because your phone is missing, but you haven’t already configured a recovery app, then we can’t help you (other than offering the usual advice: look in the last place you remember seeing it and ask one of your friends to call the number). And if your phone’s been stolen, we do not recommend that you track it down on your own. For your own safety, contact your local law enforcement agency and hand over any of the information your phone-finding app provides, rather than taking matters into your own hands. Now, let’s get started!
Apple has built a phone-finding tool right into the iOS operating system. The Find My iPhone ability, which lets you track down a missing iPhone or iPad, relies on your Apple ID—so make sure to memorize your password or secure it in a reputable password manager.
To set up this feature, open Settings on your iPhone, tap your name at the top of the screen, then hit the menu entry that lists your iPhone as one of the devices connected to your Apple ID. Enable both the Find My iPhone and Send Last Location toggle switches in this menu. To recover a lost…