You check your pocket and your iPhone is missing. Did you leave it at home, has it been lost, or is it or stolen? Use Find My on your Apple Mac to find its location and get directions.
Of course, we have been able to track the location of Apple devices for years, but macOS Catalina and iOS 13 have changed the way we do this and just in case the worst should happen and you lose an iPhone, iPad or MacBook, you should familiarise yourself with the new location tracking features.
Find My is a new app from Apple that combines the old Find My Friends and Find My iPhone in previous versions of iOS and macOS into one new app called simply Find My. It can be used to see where both devices and people are currently located.
Devices need to be powered on to report their location, but they can be locked, the screen turned off, and not in use. The Find My app will still show the location and, using Apple Maps, you can get directions to go and get the iPhone, iPad or Mac if it is lost, stolen or simply forgotten at an office, hotel or cafe you visited.
1 Find My permissions and intro
The first time Find My is run in macOS Catalina, it asks for permission to look up your location. It needs to know where you are in order to show directions to lost devices as we will see later. Click OK to continue.
Then there is an introductory message that appears once only the first time the app is run, explaining what Find My does. Dismiss it after reading it and Find My starts.
2 View devices locations in Find My
Select the Devices tab to see a list of all the devices you own. Those devices that can report their location, do so, but any that are powered off will show No location found underneath.
Select a device and its location is displayed on a map in the right side of the window. This map is just like in the Apple Maps app and you can pan, zoom in for more detail or zoom out to get an overview in the same way using the plus and minus buttons.
Map, hybrid and satellite views are available using the controls at the bottom of the window.
3 Actions for lost devices
Ctrl+click a device in the list to see what actions can be performed. If you are at home and cannot remember where you put your iPhone or iPad, you could use Play Sound to help you locate it.
If you think the device is permanently lost or stolen, select Mark As Lost or Erase This Device to make sure a thief cannot access the contents containing your personal information.
It probably isn’t a good idea to track down a thief and confront them because there is always a possibility that they may get violent. Leave it to the authorities.
If you simply lost your device, such as by leaving it on a bus or train, or you visited many locations during the day and someone picked it up, select Directions.
4 Get directions for lost devices
The Find My app gets the location the device and automatically opens the Apple Maps app with one or more routes to the device. The routes are shown on the map and you can choose driving, walking or public transport directions as required. Click the Details link.
5 Turn by turn driving directions
Click the Details link to see the list of turn by turn driving directions from your current location to the lost, stolen or forgotten device. It’s obviously not easy driving with a MacBook, but if you lost your iPhone, it may be all you have. You could always print the directions if you have access to a printer.