How to Find My iPhone for a Friend

Did any of your friends ever call you and tell you that they have lost their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch devices? It’s not very common; It’s not rare, too. I have faced this situation very recently.

A close friend of mine who came down from the USA was traveling across India. After having food at a restaurant in Central India he misplaced his iPhone mobile on the dining table and continued his journey. It was only after two hours or so, he realized that his iPhone is not with him. He did not recollect the name of the restaurant. As he was not familiar with the country, he called me and sought my help. I will explain to you how to find a lost iPhone for a friend?

Losing your iPhone or iPad can be really painful. You will be having the contact details of your friends and family on the iPhones. Suddenly, you realize that you have lost touch with the world. All your contacts are lost in a moment.

Some Facts about Stolen Mobiles

How to Find My iPhone for a Friend

iPhone theft is taking monstrous proportions. There seems to be a racket that specializes in selling such stolen devices like iPhones and iPads! It is a pity that stolen goods are finding their way into the second-hand market.

I do hope and pray that nobody should ever lose their iPhones or iPads, that too in a foreign country.

Some reports published in 2017 put the number of stolen mobiles across the world at 70 million mobile phones. What worries us the most is that these numbers are ever-increasing. iPhones are especially a target for pick-pocketers, as it fetches a good resale value than the Android mobiles in most of the countries.

Other than exposing you to identity thefts, iPhone or iPad theft causes severe financial losses to you. It is always wise to get your iPads, iPhones, iPods, etc., insured so as to reduce the finanacial burden if it gets lost. Installing any mobile tracking app in advance on your iPhones or iPads also needs to be done, just in case it gets lost or stolen. Apple Mobile tracking should be set up on your apple devices for tracking to work. It is quite easy to set up and track any lost or stolen iPhones or iPads.

Contents of this Article

I will share my experience in helping my friend to track his lost iPhone.

Details of how to set up a mobile tracking facility on iPhones are explained below. I have also written about how to avoid losing your costly iPhones. Also, you can find tips on how to get back the lost phone in case it’s location is tracked.

Procedure to file the police complaint in case the SIM card is lost along with the procedure to get a duplicate SIM card is given in this article.

Find My iPhone is the official Apple device tracking app. I have written in detail about the app, its features, etc, in this article. 10 free and paid tracking apps for iPhones are also covered in this article.

Knowing about the best apps along with its features in advance can make you handle any situation if the need arises.

How to Setup Mobile Tracking Facility on iPhones

I will explain the steps to set up a mobile tracking facility on iPhones, iPads, iPods, etc.

  • On iOS 13 or iPadOS, go to the “Settings”, then [your name] and then “Find My iPhone”.
  • On iOS 12 or earlier, go to the “Settings”, then [your name] and then “iCloud” and then “Find My iPhone”.
  • Enter your Apple ID, when you are asked to log in. If you are a new Apple user, create an Apple user ID and password.
  • If Find My [device] is turned off, turn it on.
  • Turn on any of the following from the two given below.
  1. Enable Offline Finding: For devices with iOS 13 or iPadOS, offline finding allows your device to be found even the device is not connected to Wi-Fi or mobile network.
  2. Enable Send the Last Location: If your apple mobile device is lost or stolen and its battery levels are dangerously low, its location details are sent automatically to Apple. You can use “Find My iPhone” to the last known location from this information.
  • For extra security, create a passcode also.

Tips on How to Avoid Losing your Costly iPhone

  • Carry a cheap spare phone while traveling. The costly phones like the iPhone or iPad should be kept inside your bag.
  • The same applies when you are visiting any pool, beach, market, supermarket, grocery shop, etc. Keep your costly phones in silent mode and place it locked inside your vehicle.
  • Carry your costly iPhones in the front pocket only. This applies to ladies also, even when they carry a handbag or backpack. This is because it is easier to pick-pocket from your handbag or backpack, than to pick-picket from your front pocket.

What happened to Your Friends Missing iPhone?

I forget to tell you about the whole incident. Let me tell you the incident in full now. My friend told me that he kept the iPhone on the dining table to pick up the wallet and pay the bill amount. After the bill amount was settled, he came out and boarded the car and continued his journey. After around two hours or a little longer, he searched his pocket for the iPhone to make an urgent call. He could not find the iPhone in his pocket. He searched on the car seats, bags, etc. It took a while to come to terms that his iPhone is lost or missing.

Then it struck that he kept the mobile on the table at the restaurant while paying the bill. “OMG!, I forget to take it back”.

The mobile is missing and what is to be done? He is new to the country and the country’s laws. He does not have any idea about the local language. Luckily, he had a spare Android mobile. He rang me from his Android mobile phone and told me that he was clueless as to what is to be done. He narrated the whole incident to me. I asked him for the restaurant name. He said he does not know. He has also dumped the bill. There was no way he could recollect the name of the restaurant. Had the restaurant name was known, I could have searched the yellow pages and got their phone numbers and check with them if it is with them or not.

I consoled my friend not to worry too much and also told him that somehow we can recover his missing iPhone. I asked him if the ‘Find My Device’ setup was done earlier for this iPhone. He answered ‘yes’ to my question. He said it was his company’s policy to have Find My Device set up on all their employee’s iPhones and iPads. I was relieved. I was sure that with its security features, nobody can use his Apple iPhone. I was of the firm belief that since the iPhone was not stolen, some good Samaritan would always return it. I asked him to wait for a few moments for me to search for and locate his missing iPhone.

I searched for “Apple Find My device” in google and got the website address for tracking the lost iPhone. Then, I visited that website. The website asked me for login credentials. I requested my friend for that. My friend has sent me the Apple login credentials as an SMS. Now, I am armed with the Apple login credentials to track the lost iPhone. The actual procedure to track a lost iPhone for my friend is given below in detail.

Let me tell you that I could locate the apple iPhone with the help of ‘Find my device’. I sent a “Lost iPhone” alarm message with an alternate contact number of mine. After a few minutes, the restaurant manager who was in possession of my friend’s lost Apple iPhone called me on the alternate phone number given on the lost device. He said that the supplier who served food to my friend has noticed the iPhone lying on the table, a few minutes after my friend left the restaurant. The supplier then handed it over to the restaurant manager.

We could recover the lost iPhone in 5 hours or so after it was lost. My friend had to travel back to the restaurant to personally collect the lost iPhone. He checked his email and then activated his Apple iPhone. My friend was relived.

Tips to be followed if you are able to Locate your Lost iPhone

Never confront a thief. You don’t know whether they are armed or not. Follow these instructions if you could locate your lost or stolen iPhone or iPad.

  • Do not go to the location where the device is currently kept unless its a public place and is safe to go there. Even then, it is not advisable to go to the location, if the area is new to you. Ask a local trusted guy to accompany you.
  • Seek the help of the local police.
  • If the police request you to accompany them, please go with them.
  • Otherwise, let the police go and recover the iPhone for you.

What should be done if the iPhone is lost permanently in a Foreign Country?

It is quite easy to get a duplicate SIM card in your home country. It is not that easy to get a duplicate SIM card when you lose your mobile phone in a foreign country. If you lose your iPhone or Ipad in another country, you are into a lot of wastage of time and money.

I will list out what best can be done to tide over the situations when you have lost or misplaced your iPhone or Ipad.

  • You have to file a police complaint and a copy of the complaint.
  • You may have to seek the services of the local people to be able to communicate in the local language.
  • Then select any one of the following three options to get another SIM.
  • 1. Check the time period to get a duplicate SIM from your home country and the time taken for the courier service guy to deliver it to your current address.
  • 2. Get a new SIM from a foreign country.
  • 3. Ask the hotel staff or any friend or relative locally, if they can arrange to get a SIM card for you.
  • Buy a new iPhone or iPad.
  • Insert the new SIM card and do not forget to set up “Find My device” on the new Apple iPhone, too.

Procedure to File a Police Complaint

  • Submit a written complaint with the IMEI number of the lost or stolen iPhone or Ipad device. Also, provide the serial number of the lost or stolen device if available.
  • Report the actual (or approximate) date and time the device was lost.
  • Also, state the location where your iPad or iPhone was lost or stolen.
  • If you could track the lost or stolen device and get its new location (and location history), hand over those details also to the police. This will help the police in their investigations.
  • Get a copy of the police complaint.

Procedure to get a Duplicate SIM Card

  • Please submit your identity proof details.
  • Also submit a photograph, if required.
  • Pay the necessary fees, if any.
  • Collect your new duplicate SIM Card.
  • Follow the instructions and activate your new SIM card.

How to Track Lost iPhone for a Friend?

Find My iPhone – Official Apple iPhone Tracking App

Go to the website Log in with the Apple ID and password. Using the “Find My iPhone” menu option, you can locate the lost device, play a sound on it, ‘mark it as lost’ and erase the data on the lost device. You may alternatively, use “Find My iPhone” or ‘Find My device’ app from another Apple device. This app requires iOS 8.0 or later.

Note: ‘Find My device’ apps and website tracking using Apple’s cloud websites are available for all Apple devices like iPhone, Ipad, iPod, Mac, etc.

  • Click on “Find iPhone”.
  • Select your device and then view its current location on a map.
  • Play an alarm sound, if you wish. If the device is misplaced inside the same premises, this option to play a sound is useful to help locate it.
  • Scroll down and click on “Mark As Lost”. Select “Activate”.
  • Then select “Continue”. Enter an alternate number to be displayed on the missing device.
  • Select “Next”. You can display a custom message with the alternate phone number on the missing device’s Locked screen.
  • Click “Activate”.
  • You can also keep track of your device’s location.
  • If you have Apple Pay set up on the device, it is disabled. Payments through any linked credit, debit or prepaid cards are suspended.
  • A confirmation email will be sent to the email address associated with your Apple ID. Whenever you get the lost iPhone back, you need to unlock it with your passcode.

Remotely Erase the Data on the Lost Device

To prevent problems like identity theft or others misusing your personal photos, you can erase the data on your iPhone remotely. When you erase your device, all information (including credit cards, debit cards, or prepaid cards for Apple Pay) is deleted from the device, and you won’t be able to track your iPhone anymore using Find My device.

Steps involved in erasing data from your iPhone or Ipad are given below.

  1. Open the ‘Find My app’ and then go to the ‘Devices’ tab.
  2. Select the device you want to remotely erase.
  3. Scroll down and choose “Erase This Device”.
  4. Confirm the action. Please bear in mind that this action is irrecoverable.
  5. If you remove the device from your Apple account after this, Activation Lock will be turned off. This allows another user to use your iPhone. This feature may be useful if you are selling your device to somebody else. This helps them to set their own passcodes.

Help Your Friend to Track Lost or Stolen iPhone or iPad or iPod

If ‘Find My [device]’ was previously turned ‘On’ on your friend’s lost iPhone or iPad, you can help your friend by following the instructions below.:

  1. Open the ‘Find My app’.
  2. Select the ‘Me’ tab.
  3. Select ‘Help a Friend’.
  4. Ask your friend to ‘sign in’ to the iCloud website with his Apple ID of the lost or stolen device. Alternatively, ask him to hand over the Apple ID credentials to you, so that you can log in from the mobile phone computer.
  5. Now you can locate the current location of the device, lock the device and erase the data on the lost or stolen iPhone.

If ‘Find My device’ was not Turned On

If ‘Find My device’ was not turned on previously before your iPhone or iPad was lost or stolen, you can not locate your lost device. Still, you can use the following steps to protect the data on your lost or stolen device and to avoid identity theft problems. This may also help you avoid third-party financial frauds using your lost Apple device.

  1. Change your Apple ID and password. This prevents others from accessing your iCloud data or using services like iMessage and iTunes from your lost or stolen device.
  2. Change the passwords for your email, social media accounts like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc, and any other websites that you used to access from your lost or stolen iPhone or iPad or iPod.
  3. Report about the lost or stolen device to the local law enforcement agencies with the IMEI number, serial number of the device, etc.
  4. Inform your mobile network service provider about the lost device. Your carrier can block the mobile number.

10 Popular iPhone Tracking Apps – (Preinstallation required for all Apps)

Let me introduce you to 10 mobile tracking apps for iPhones, Ipads or iPods. All these apps need to be installed in advanced on your Apple mobile devices to track the device. You can not track the lost or stolen Apple devices using the following apps if the app is not installed in advance on the devices. You may go through the features and price ans decide what best suits you.

1. FoneHome

FoneHome is a Tracker app to locate your lost or stolen Apple mobile devices. It costs $2.99. There are no recurring subscription fees. It can run on devices with iOS 6.0 or above versions. This app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Fonehome can track your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. It is one of the best iOS tracking apps available on the market. FoneHome runs in the background and sends its location information periodically to a central server.

Some of the features of the Fonehome app are listed below.

  • Push message features allow you to send a message to be displayed on the lost or stolen device.
  • A loud sound can be played on the lost device.
  • You can take the photo of whoever is in possession of your device and see it from the app website.
  • You can also remotely open any websites on your lost device.
  • GPS location of the lost or stolen device can be tracked.
  • ‘Lost’ mode setting can be activated, so that you will get location updates in every single minute.
  • A loud piercing siren can also be played on your lost device. This helps in those in the area make aware that there is some theft happening there. This helps police or other local people to help nab the thief. Sometimes thief may abandon the device and try to escape from the area. This loud piercing siren has reportedly helped many people to recover their lost devices.
  • You can print a detailed report on the location of the lost or stolen device, with an approximate address that will help the police to identify the location.
  • VOIP calls can be made to any other devices running FoneHome for free.

2. Prey Anti-Theft

The Prey Anti Theft app alias Prey Find My Phone Tracker GPS app is a free app. Apart from the free plan, three premium plans are also there. Prey Anti Theft app requires iOS 8.0 or later versions. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Some of the features of the Prey Anti Theft app are listed below.

  • GPS tracking feature allows location tracking to the precise building.
  • You can make an alarm on the missing iPhone, which can not be muted. This sometimes forces the thief to abandon the device and escape.
  • Pictures of the user can be taken, to identify thieves.
  • Wi-Fi scanning of the neighborhood areas helps to find all active networks near your lost device.
  • You may also lock the lost device, with a custom passcode remotely.
  • You can get the device’s Mac Address. this helps in legal cases.
  • This app allows to remotely take the device’s surroundings pictures.
  • Even the high-end features are free!

3. Life360 (Family Locator)

The Family Locator app by Life360 is one of the best GPS trackers for iPhone or iPad or iPod. It is a free app. The premium version of the app is available for a fee. This app is also called ‘Life 360’. It requires Android 4.0.3 or higher versions This app is useful if you or your acquaintances use multiple devices. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Some of the features of the Life360 Family Locator app are given below.

  • You can make your family a “Circle“, a closed group of people like family, friends, or teammates.
  • All the members will appear on the map as small icons so that any mobile can be tracked at any moment.
  • The app can track the GPS coordinates of any lost or stolen device on the map.
  • A car crash notification feature is available, to seek help from the circle members.
  • Driver Care Support feature with the push of a single button is also available

4. Glympse

Glympse is a free app for sharing and getting location details of aby iPhone or iPad. It is a social app to share your location using GPS. This app requires iOS 9.0 and watchOS 3.0 or later. This app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Some of the features of the app are given below.

  • Shows the location of the lost or stolen device, if the app was previously installed.
  • You can control who sees the location and when to allow them to see the location.
  • No signup is required for this app.
  • This app runs in the background.

5. LocaToWeb

LocaToWeb is a real-time GPS tracking app. It is helpful to track a lost or stolen device. It costs $0.99. This app requires iOS 10.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Some of the major features of the app are given below.

  • You will get the current location of the device in real-time through the app website.
  • You can capture or upload photos while tracking. Capturing the photo is helpful to identify and nab the thief.
  • No registration is required.

6. FollowMee GPS Location Tracker

FollowMee GPS location tracker or GPS Location Tracker by FollowMee is a free mobile phone tracker app from FollowMee. It is useful to track and locate any lost or stolen mobile devices on which the app is already installed. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. The app requires iOS 9.0 or later versions.

Some of the features of the FollowMee app are listed below.

  • Track and monitor the whereabouts of the lost or stolen iPhone or iPad or iPod on the web site.
  • 3-day history is available for the paid service, costing $5.99 per device per year. Extended history from 14 days to 3 years is also available for a higher amount of $9.99 per device per year.
  • Paid service is available for Converting the coordinates to the actual address. It costs $2.99 per device per month with 41% off for one year if the amount is paid in advance.
  • Web Service API is also available so that you can feed that data into your own application or web site. It costs $2.99 per device per month with 41% off for one year if the amount is paid in advance.


GPS TRACKER app helps to locate any Apple iPhone or iPad or iPod in real-time. It is a free app from Cellphone Solutions, LLC. It has got over 2.5 million downloads, to date. For a one time payment of $ 0.99, you can follow 10 people. This app requires iOS 9.0 or later versions and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.

Some of the features of GPS TRACKER are given below.

  • Locate any iPhone movements for the past 12 hours.
  • You can give permission to any of your friends or family members in advance so that they can track your iPhone, in case of theft or loss of the device.
  • GPS options to reduce battery usage are available.
  • It helps to find your lost or stolen phones.

9. GPS Phone Tracker

GPS Phone Tracker app allows you to locate your lost or stolen iPhones which have got the app preinstalled on them. This app requires iOS 9.0 or later. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Some of the features of the GPS Phone Tracker app are listed below.

  • Track the movement of any GPS iPhone or iPad or iPod during the past 72 hours.
  • Track and find any such device with an accuracy of 30 feet.
  • You have the option to use satellite maps or street maps.

10. Device Locator

The Device Locator app costs a one time fee of $ 2.99. This app requires iOS 9.3 or later versions. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.

Some of the features of The Device Locator app is given below.

  • Tracking any number of devices.
  • Sound an alarm on your lost or stolen device from a computer. This helps in alerting those standing near the lost or stolen device.
  • Send a message with a sound to the lost or stolen device.
  • This app can send location information even when the application is not running or is running in the background.
  • The app will send your device location every time the lost or stolen device is connected to a new cell tower.
  • You can lock the application to prevent the thief from accessing your account.

Procedure for Claiming Insurance

If you have insured your iPhone or iPad or iPod, you may need the following documents for insurance claim settlement.

  1. Fill up the physical application form, if required. Otherwise, fill up the application form electronically.
  2. Attach proof of purchase, like the invoice with date of purchase clearly mentioned on it.
  3. If the insurance was provided free of cost, attach proof for the same.
  4. If the iPhone was covered under any group insurance policy, attach proof for that.
  5. Attach proof of insurance premium paid if you have insured the iPhone or iPad or iPod on your own.
  6. A copy of the police complaint.

What is to be Done if You ever Lose Your iPhone or iPad

I will explain what is to be done if you ever lose your iPhone or iPad device.

  • If you are 100 % sure that your iPhone (or iPad or iPod) is stolen and chances of getting it back are not there, erase the data on the stolen device.
  • If your iPhone was stolen and you are hopeful that somebody will return it, try to locate it using “Find my Device” or any preinstalled app. The thief may find that the security features are preventing it from being opening, he or she will abandon it somewhere. You can send a message with the alternate contact number. This helps the one who is in possession of it to return it to you.
  • If you have misplaced the iPhone (or iPad or iPod) while traveling and do not remember where it was left, try to find its location. You might have forgotten it at a restaurant, supermarket or grocery store. Somebody might have noticed it and kept it safe. If you could locate the lost device, the chances of getting it back are higher.
  • Contact your phone carrier and ask for guidance. Based on their advice, you may decide what is to be done.
  • If the iPhone can not be located within a reasonable time, then you have to file a police complaint. Also, Erase the data on the lost or stolen device.
  • If your lost device has got insurance coverage, submit the required documents for claiming the insurance amount.
  • Change passwords stored in your iPhone or Ipad or iPod.
  • Some apps like Apple Pay, Spotify, Venmo, Google Pay store credit or debit card details on the mobile. Cancel the existing cards and go for a new card if necessary.

Conclusion: Getting a phone call from a friend to track his lost iPhone (or iPad or iPod) is not something that most of us have encountered. Still, this is not rare. I had to face this situation a few months back. It is very painful to lose your iPhone. If you lose your iPhone, you are left with very limited means of contact with the outside world, especially if you are traveling.

How to avoid losing your costly iPhone mobile phone? In case your iPhone (or iPad or iPod) is lost or misplaced, what is to be done? What is the procedure for claiming the insurance amount for your iPhone or iPad or iPod which is lost or stolen? How get the iPhone back, if the location is known to you? All these questions (and much more) are answered in this article.

If you have previously turned on the “Find my device”, you can track your lost or stolen iPhone or iPad or iPod devices, mark the device as lost and even erase any data on those devices. Otherwise, none of the apple services will be able to locate your device. Apple offers cloud-based and app-based solutions to find any stolen or lost apple devices.

There are many free and paid iPhone third party tracking apps available in the market. It is in your best interest to download and keep at least one such app, in addition, to setting up the official “Find my device” with Apple. I have analyzed the features of 10 such free and paid apps for you. Some apps are totally free, while some others require a small one-time payment. A few others charge a monthly or yearly fee. It is advisable to have any location tracking app installed on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices, so that you can track in case the device is lost or stolen.

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