Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Free Find My iPhone Is a Big Winner

In its continued effort to one-up the fast growing Andriod-based phones, Apple made its Find My iPhone service free to to users of the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch.  This feature was part of the MobileMe service offered by Apple for $99 per year.  Although the Find My iPhone feature is a small part of what MobileMe offers, making it free gives iPhone a great feature for very little new development effort.

Enabling Find My iPhone
Enabling the new Find My iPhone feature on any iOS devices is very straight forward:

  1. Upgrade your device to iOS 4.2 (or higher)
  2. Under Settings, select the Mail, Contacts, Calendars option.
  3. Select Add Account...
  4. Select mobileme
  5. Enter your Apple ID and Password (note: if you have an Apple ID that is not an e-mail address, you must change your Apple ID to be an e-mail address by going appleid.apple.com.  It's an easy process, but once you do it make sure to change it in all of your devices and iTunes clients).
Repeat the steps above on every iOS device you own.  Assuming you're using the same Apple ID and password to enable Find My iPhone on all the devices, you can use the Find My iPhone app on any devices to do one of the following:

  • Locate all the devices on a map
  • Wipe any of the devices remotely
  • Send a text alert
  • Send an audible alert, even if the ringer is off
These features are great and worked really well on iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPod touch (4th gen), and the iPad. 

One Drawback
The one drawback is that the device has to be connected to a network to locate it.  For example, if you take your iPod touch out of the house and leave it somewhere, you can't locate it unless someone finds it and connects it to a Wi-Fi.

If you haven't enabled this feature, do it before you misplace your phone :-)