Nobody wants to think about it, but one day you may find that your expensive iPhone or MacBook has disappeared. Apple makes it really easy to track, lock, and erase your missing device.
However, before disaster strikes you must first make sure the “Find My” service is enabled on each of your devices. To check on your iPhone or iPad go to: Settings > Your name (at the very top) > iCloud and then scroll down to “Find My Phone”. Make sure that “Find My Phone” and “Send Last Location” are enabled.
To check on your MacBook or Mac Mini go to: System Settings > iCloud and then scroll down to “Find My Mac”. Make sure this is enabled. You may also see a warning that you need to enable Location Services first. Once you’ve enabled this your device is traceable if you lose it.
So how do you actually find your device if it gets lost or stolen? You can open up any web browser, go to icloud.com, and log in with your Apple ID. Click on “Find iPhone” and choose which device you are missing. For the iPhone and iPad you have three options: “Play Sound”, “Lost Mode”, and “Erase iPhone”. “Play Sound” does just what it says and is great if you know you lost it around the house or in the car. “Lost Mode” is really only good if you think you lost it somewhere that you know it will get returned to you. This option makes a noise and then displays contact info on the phone. If it is truly lost or stolen the safest option is to choose “Erase iPhone”. This completely wipes your information from the device and allows you to put a passcode on it so it can’t be used. It will also show you the last location of the device when you erase it.
For MacBook and Mac Mini you have three different choices: “Play Sound”, “Lock”, and “Erase Mac”. “Play Sound” works the same as on the iPhone. The “Lock” feature locks the Mac and allows you to track its whereabouts. “Erase Mac” is again the safest option as it completely wipes the Mac as soon as it is powered on and connected to a network. It even allows you to display a message of your choosing. The downside to using “Erase Mac” is that it does not show you the last location, so you have no way to track its last location.
Hopefully this never happens to you, but Apple does give you some peace of mind knowing that you can find or at least securely erase your lost devices.