Nobody likes to think about their beloved gadgets being lost or stolen, but unfortunately our dearest devices go missing all the time.
The good news is that if you own an iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch, AirPods or even an iPod Touch, it can be tracked down using the Find My iPhone feature.
The software made by Apple makes it easy to get them back – you just have to set each item up properly and learn how to use the tools to track it.
This quick guide will help you prepare for the worst, so you can rest a little easier with your Apple devices and head back here when you need to find them if anything untoward happens.
How to set up your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and AirPods with Find My iPhone
Take your main device, which will be your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
From the home screen, go to Settings > Accounts & Passwords > iCloud > Find My iPhone (or Find My iPod or Find My iPad), and make sure the feature is toggled on. If this is the first time you're setting anything up, you may be required to enter your Apple ID.
If you don't yet have an Apple ID, choose Create a new Apple ID and follow the instructions.
Also on this screen, turn on 'Send Last Location'. This feature will make sure your device transmits its location when it's about to run out of battery, so when you try to locate the device later, you'll see where it was.
If you have Apple AirPods or an Apple Watch paired with your iPhone or iPad, you'll then also get those set up within Find My iPhone. Now you should be all safe to lose or misplace your device.
If you've done this previously and you're here to see how to track down your device, scroll further down for a full guide.
How to set up Find My Mac
It works a touch differently on your Mac, so here you'll want to open up the Apple Menu by pressing on the little logo in the top left of your computer screen. Here you can scroll down to System Preferences and you'll find the iCloud section.
This will be a long list of features that can be backed up to your iCloud, like Siri and your notes, but there's also a Find My Mac icon that you'll need to toggle to get it all set up.
Now you're ready to go, safe in the knowledge you'll be able to track down your device if you lose it.
Lost your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods or Mac? Here's how to track it down on a PC or Mac
Have you now lost your device or you're worried it has been stolen? It's time to track it down.
First off, we'll teach you how to do this from a Mac or PC. Open a web browser and visit iCloud.com (opens in new tab). After logging in with your Apple ID and password, click on Find iPhone (the icon that looks like a green radar). After typing your password again, a map will show the location of all your associated iOS devices and Macs.
A green dot means the product is online, while a gray dot means it's offline. If the device was online at any point within the previous 24 hours, you'll be shown the time it was last located.
If a device is online, click on its dot, then click on the information icon (i). (Alternatively, select the device from the pull-down menu at the top-center of the screen.)
A new window will pop up that lists when the device was last located and how much charge it has left, along with three options: Play Sound (to help pinpoint the item if it's close by), Lost Mode (this lets you lock and track the device, and provide contact information — such as displaying a phone number on your lost iPhone), and Erase device.
If you want to remotely erase your device you'll lose everything on it, but it's useful if you have lots of private information backed up to iCloud that you don't want those who find your device to get.
If a device is offline, you'll have a different option: Notify me when found. This will alert you when the item comes back online.
How to track a lost device using an iOS device
You can also locate a lost iOS device using another iOS device. First, download the Find My iPhone app if you don't have it already — the app works the same as the website described above.
You'll then be able to track down the location of your gadget (or at least where it was last spotted) as well as optionally playing an alarm or deleting everything from the device.
Finally, the Find My Friends app can also be used to locate the iPhone of anyone you've agreed to share location data with. The app doesn't provide as many tracking options, but if your child or significant other misplaces their iPhone, this provides a fast and easy way to make a first check.