Find My App: Everything to Know

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple in iOS 13 and iPadOS merged the Find My Friends and the Find My iPhone apps into one app that's just called "Find My," because, well, it's used for finding whatever you need to find.

Find My works similarly to the Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps that were previously available, but it has a nifty new feature that's designed to let you find your lost devices even when you don't have a WiFi or LTE connection.


Note that this guide is designed to walk through all of the Find My features on iPhone and iPad, but it also applies to the Mac, which also has a new Find My app in macOS Catalina.


Locating Lost Devices

The Find My app is organized into three sections, accessible by tapping the tabs at the bottom. On the left, you can find people, in the middle, you can find your own devices, and on the right, there's a "Me" tab introduced during the beta testing process.

As with the prior Find My iPhone app, all of your Apple products are listed. Devices where you're signed into iCloud and have the Find My feature enabled are locatable through the Find My app.


All of your devices are displayed on a map, and you can zoom in or out to get a better picture of their location. Tapping on a single device provides you with options to get directions to its location in Apple Maps, Play a Sound for locating a nearby lost device, or get a notification when it's found if it's offline.


There's an option to mark a device as lost, which locks the lost device, disables Apple Pay, and allows contact information to be put right on the lock screen, and as a last resort, there's a tool for deleting all of your data.[*]How to Remove a Lost Device From Your iCloud Account in Find My
[*]How to Mark an Apple Device as Lost in the Find My AppFind My Compatible Devices

Almost all Apple products are Find My compatible, including iPhone, iPad, Macs, Apple Watch, and AirPods.

Family Sharing

If you have Family Sharing enabled, all of your family's devices are listed in Find My right alongside your own, so you can also find devices from your partner or children through the Find My app.

Locating Friends

The Find My app allows you to locate friends and family members that have shared their location with you. You can view their location using the "People" tab within the Find My app.

The Find My app lists people who have shared their location with you and, if you haven't shared your own location, offers up an option to do so.

[*]How to Locate Friends Using Find MySharing Location

If you press the "Share My Location" button, you can share your own location with any of your contacts even if they haven't shared a location with you. Tapping on a person's name in the list provides an option to bring up their Contacts card for sending a message or an option to get directions to their location.

You'll also find tools for removing friends and turning off your own location sharing with the person if it's a mutual location sharing contact. You can opt to share your own location permanently, for an hour, or until the end of the day.
[*]How to Turn Off Location Sharing Using Find My
[*]How to Share Your Location With a Friend Using Find My
[*]How to Stop Sharing Your Location With a Friend Using Find My
[*]How to Refresh Locations in the Find My App
Notifications

For any person who's sharing a location with you, you can turn on notifications to get notifications when they leave or arrive at a specific location. There's also an option to notify your friend when you leave or arrive at a specific notification.
[*]How to Receive Location Updates From a Friend Using Find My
Me Tab

The "Me" tab in the Find My app displays your current location and includes toggles for sharing location, allowing friend requests, choosing who to receive location updates from, and naming a specific place.


Locating Devices Without a Connection

One of the headline features of iOS 13 is a new Find My option that lets your lost devices be located even when not connected to WiFi or LTE by leveraging Bluetooth and proximity to other nearby Apple devices.

When your lost device is offline but close to another device, it's able to connect to that other device over Bluetooth and relay its location. That means that your devices are more trackable than ever, and there's a better chance you can find a device that's been lost.

The iPad Pro and MacBook in this screenshot are locatable without a connection. The iPad Pro has WiFi turned off while the MacBook was closed.​

Tracking a device in this way requires Bluetooth to be enabled because location is shared with another device using Bluetooth. Turning off Bluetooth or power makes your device untrackable, but if it's on, has Bluetooth, and is near another Apple device, it can be tracked even if it can't connect to WiFi or LTE.

You're not going to notice a difference in the Find My app when tracking a device over Bluetooth rather than a cellular or WiFi connection -- it simply shows up in the list of devices like any other device that does have a standard connection. Offline devices do have their distance from you listed in gray instead of blue, and you can tell when the location data was last updated by the time listed.

In testing, setting an iPad into Airplane mode and enabling Bluetooth continued to allow the iPad to be tracked thanks to another nearby iPhone, but turning off Bluetooth prevented it from being found even from a device to device connection.

Enabling/Disabling Offline Mode

Offline Finding is enabled on your devices by default, but you can disable it in the Settings app. Open up Settings, tap on "Find My," select "Find My iPhone" and then choose the "Enable Offline Finding" option.


How It Works

Implementing the device to device location feature while preserving privacy was quite a feat and the technical details of how it works are quite complicated, but Apple has given a high level overview of how it functions.

Basically, it's been designed with an encryption system that prevents people from abusing the feature for doing things like tracking you. That encryption system makes your personal location unavailable to people aiming to intercept your device's Bluetooth signal and from Apple itself.

Find My requires Apple users to have at least two devices. Each of your devices emits a constantly changing public key that nearby Apple devices pick up, encrypt, and upload with your geolocation data.

To decrypt that location signal, you need a second Apple device logged in with your Apple ID credentials and protected with two-factor authentication. Essentially, only your own devices can decrypt the encrypted location signal that's being sent from a lost device, no one, not even Apple, can intercept it and locate you or your devices.

As an example scenario, if you were on an airplane, had your iPhone in Airplane Mode with Bluetooth on, and then left it behind on the plane accidentally, it would potentially still be trackable.

In this situation, a flight attendant or an airport worker with an iPhone might come across it. The flight attendant's own iPhone would connect to your lost iPhone over Bluetooth by picking up your public key.

The flight attendant's iPhone would then upload your device's encrypted location and a hash of your public key (for identification purposes) to Apple's servers, where one of your own devices can receive the encrypted info and decrypt it to make the offline device able to be tracked.

Privacy

Because the entire Find My system is end-to-end encrypted, other people can't get the location of your devices using Bluetooth, nor can Apple. Lost devices are trackable only by you.

Device Impact

According to Apple, Find My's background Bluetooth location tracking feature uses just tiny bits of data piggybacked on existing network traffic so there's no impact on device battery life, data usage, or privacy.

Help a Friend Find a Lost Device

To help a friend find a lost device, you can tap on the "Help a Friend" option under the "Me" tab. This opens up iCloud.com on the web, where a friend can sign into their account using iCloud. There is no option to sign out of Find My to let another person sign in like you could with Find My iPhone.


[*]How to Use the Find My App on a Friend's iPhone or iPad to Locate Your Missing DeviceFind My Rumors

Apple is working to expand Find My's functionality through the introduction of a new hardware product that's similar to the Tile Bluetooth item tracker.

Apple is designing a small physical Apple Tag that can be attached to any item, allowing it to be tracked through the Find My app. Users will be able to get a notification when an item gets too far from a tag, and there will be other useful capabilities as well.


Through a "Safe Locations" feature (such as home or work), users can set areas where notifications won't be received, and when an item is lost in an unsafe location, it can be put into Lost Mode. In Lost Mode, the Apple Tag will take advantage of the new crowd-sourced tracking features in Find My.


When a person comes across an Apple Tag item that's been put into Lost Mode, they will be able to see contact information for the item's owner, and the owner of the item will receive an alert. There will be an augmented reality component to the Apple Tag, perhaps allowing users to see where an item is indoors through an AR interface, and there will be an option to have an Apple Tag emit an audible chime.


Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that the upcoming tags will feature ultra-wideband or "UWB" technology. Ultra-wideband is a short-range low-power radio technology able to provide more accurate indoor positioning than Bluetooth LE or Wi-Fi. With UWB, Apple's tags may be able to more precisely pinpoint the location of lost items.


It's not known when Apple plans to launch Apple Tags, but details about the feature have been found in iOS 13, so presumably we won't be waiting too long for them to debut.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about Find My, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Article Link: Find My App: Everything to Know
 
Last edited:

sergekills

macrumors regular
Mar 22, 2017
137
105
Moscow, Russia
I downgraded from beta of iOS 13, but still have a question about Find My app.
How do I log in with another Apple ID in there? For example, a friend lost his iPhone, and we have no laptop nearby, he doesn't have any other Apple devices handy.
On iOS 12 I can just simply sign out of my account and then sign in with another one. How do you perform this now? Because I didnt find that option.
 

Kabeyun

macrumors 68020
Mar 27, 2004
2,247
3,829
Eastern USA
Family Sharing

If you have Family Sharing enabled, all of your family's devices will be listed in Find My right alongside your own, so you can also find devices from your partner or children through the Find My app.
What if you don’t want your Family Sharing members to know your location? I presume they thought of that and made it configurable.
 

scoobdriver

macrumors regular
Aug 1, 2011
110
3
No widget or watch app. Running the iOS 13 beta on my phone have now lost find my friends on Apple Watch. Is it coming. ?
 

Konigi

macrumors regular
Jan 24, 2017
138
220
Montréal, Québec
That sounds worrisome -- "receiving notifications about their location". Like parents keeping track of their kids' whereabouts? What about children's autonomy?
Haven't Apple seen Black Mirror?
 
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Pipper99

macrumors 68030
Aug 14, 2010
2,667
1,239
Fort Worth, TX
What if you don’t want your Family Sharing members to know your location? I presume they thought of that and made it configurable.
Exactly my thought. My father in law misplaces his phone rather often. Our plans are unrelated, and I don't want to include him on Family Sharing, but I have been able to just sign in to his account and find his phone. I don't use Family Sharing at all, and I don't want to have to use it.
 

heov

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2002
246
576
Can we disable the snitching feature? For example, suppose I'm a regular iPhone theif, and I also use an iPhone. I of course know better and will shut down the stolen iPhone ASAP, but if I forget, or my partner in crime forgets, how can we ensure our personal iPhones aren't used by Apple to track the device?

But in all seriousness, is there a way to opt out of this feature? Although the intentions are good, what if Apple or the government loses something (or someone), and they want to harness the power of our phones to find it? Should we simply allow that?

Basically, I don't want to be a link in Apple's chain, for no other reason than I don't want to.

Going "off the grid" might mean you can't even use an iPhone at all (or BT). BT is no longer just a personal area network.
 

Classie

macrumors regular
Nov 3, 2018
244
260
Sweden
This is awesome! Will it work if the device is turn off? Is that possible?

If Apple releases some kind of Tile like item I will buy them all!! I’m sick of having my things stolen; bicycles, baby strollers!
 
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JetTester

macrumors 6502
Feb 12, 2014
462
881
The device-to-device feature and the Tile tags feature sound very useful. I’m interested in seeing them in action.
 
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hank moody

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2015
696
316
This article is incorrect.

The location sent to Apple servers is the location of the sender device and NOT the location of the lost device. It is the same, because they are nerby, but it is incorrect saying it is the lost device's location.

The lost device doesnt have GPS to know where it is.
The only thing that all devices are constantly emitting to nearby devices is their public key, nothing more.
 

hank moody

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2015
696
316
I downgraded from beta of iOS 13, but still have a question about Find My app.
How do I log in with another Apple ID in there? For example, a friend lost his iPhone, and we have no laptop nearby, he doesn't have any other Apple devices handy.
On iOS 12 I can just simply sign out of my account and then sign in with another one. How do you perform this now? Because I didnt find that option.
You can't.
You need the Private Key that is stored locally in your devices, to unlock the Public Key in the Apple servers.
 

steve23094

macrumors 68030
Apr 23, 2013
2,616
1,331
I’m at the pub and scanned the article. But hang on... if you can turn off Bluetooth to defeat this, then what is the point?
 

MisterSavage

macrumors 68000
Nov 10, 2018
1,548
1,251
That sounds worrisome -- "receiving notifications about their location". Like parents keeping track of their kids' whereabouts? What about children's autonomy?
Haven't Apple seen Black Mirror?
This functionality already exists today in iOS 12. A less nefarious example is making sure someone got home safely.
 
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QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
10,571
2,661
Bay Area
I’m at the pub and scanned the article. But hang on... if you can turn off Bluetooth to defeat this, then what is the point?
One, a thief might not know how to defeat it, and more importantly, two, for when a device is lost, not stolen, and thus nobody is trying to defeat anything.
 

BuddyTronic

macrumors 65816
Jul 11, 2008
1,124
739
Can we disable the snitching feature? For example, suppose I'm a regular iPhone theif, and I also use an iPhone. I of course know better and will shut down the stolen iPhone ASAP, but if I forget, or my partner in crime forgets, how can we ensure our personal iPhones aren't used by Apple to track the device?

But in all seriousness, is there a way to opt out of this feature? Although the intentions are good, what if Apple or the government loses something (or someone), and they want to harness the power of our phones to find it? Should we simply allow that?

Basically, I don't want to be a link in Apple's chain, for no other reason than I don't want to.

Going "off the grid" might mean you can't even use an iPhone at all (or BT). BT is no longer just a personal area network.

You can turn Bluetooth off, But that’s not a great solution if you were wanting Bluetooth for other things.

You can probably opt out pretty easily in settings. That works for you I think.

It’s all transparent to the end users and nobody knows or judges good and bad any more that you would be resentful that you are being bombarded from every angle right now by radio waves of all kinds - some carrying “bad” information potentially - have you considered that? Because it’s nearly the same thing - this just uses crowd based cooperation and you want to know if you can opt out of being part of the crowd - I get it, but don’t see this anonymous encrypted scheme as being intrusive - maybe I’ll learn more in the coming months
 

ThatGuyInLa

macrumors 6502
Oct 26, 2012
473
495
Glendale, Ca.
That “My phone is lost” feature is great. At least when there’s people around with even a little moral compass. Lost mine at a casino in Vegas. Sin City, right? Morals be dammed! Yet, someone dropped it off at the help desk when they saw the alert. NEAT.
 

noraa

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2003
287
650
That sounds worrisome -- "receiving notifications about their location". Like parents keeping track of their kids' whereabouts? What about children's autonomy?
Haven't Apple seen Black Mirror?
It’s fairly trivial to turn off location sharing in the “Find My.”
 

Focusx0131

macrumors member
Feb 23, 2017
87
132
Can we disable the snitching feature? For example, suppose I'm a regular iPhone theif, and I also use an iPhone. I of course know better and will shut down the stolen iPhone ASAP, but if I forget, or my partner in crime forgets, how can we ensure our personal iPhones aren't used by Apple to track the device?

But in all seriousness, is there a way to opt out of this feature? Although the intentions are good, what if Apple or the government loses something (or someone), and they want to harness the power of our phones to find it? Should we simply allow that?

Basically, I don't want to be a link in Apple's chain, for no other reason than I don't want to.

Going "off the grid" might mean you can't even use an iPhone at all (or BT). BT is no longer just a personal area network.
I’m on the 13 beta on my XR and these are my Find My iPhone options. Should address your concerns.
 

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libertysat

macrumors regular
Nov 10, 2010
160
33
"Rumors have suggested Apple plans to expand Find My's functionality through the introduction of a new hardware product that's similar to the Tile Bluetooth item tracker.

Apple is said to be working on a tag that can be attached to any item that would allow it to be tracked. Like Tile, Apple's rumored tracker reportedly lets users receive a notification when a device gets too far from the tag, potentially cutting down on lost items."

I have some Tiles and like them
However if Apple came out with something real similar without too large of an Apple tax - would be great
 
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Newjackboy

macrumors 6502a
Aug 6, 2012
543
212
What if you had just temporarily turned off Bluetooth on your iPhone. And then it was stolen / lost a few minutes later? Would this feature still work? Anyway to remotely force BlueTooth back on?