Can I Track My iPhone Via Computer?

Updated April 17, 2017

Losing your Apple iPhone can be costly as well as inconvenient. You can track the location of your missing Apple iPhone from a personal computer with the "Find My iPhone" application that is available as part of the Apple MobileMe service. If your iPhone gets lost or stolen, you'll want to find it again as soon as possible to prevent fraudulent use of the device and to protect your personal data.


To use the "Find My iPhone" application, you'll need an iPhone running the iOS 4.2 or 4.3 operating system, and an Apple MobileMe account. Apple MobileMe is a subscription service that charges users an annual fee for a range of services, including secure online data storage and automatic synchronisation between the user's iPhone, iPad, Mac computer and Windows PC. You can sign-up for a MobileMe account from the Apple website or through the iTunes software running on your personal computer.


Installing "Find My iPhone" is simple and you can download the app from the "App Store" on your Apple iPhone. Launch the "App Store" icon from the home screen on the iPhone and use the "Search" function to locate the "Find My iPhone" app. Tap the "Free" button beside the app name and then tap the button again when its display changes to "Install." Enter your Apple ID into the password dialogue box and then press "OK." The app downloads directly to your iPhone.


To enable location tracking on the iPhone, you first need to add the MobileMe account details in your iPhone's settings. Select "MobileMe" from the "Add Account" option under "Mail, Contacts, Calendar" in the iPhone's settings menu. When prompted, enter your Apple ID and password and tap the "Verify My Account" button. Return to the "MobileMe" screen and move the tab beside the "Find My iPhone" option to the "On" position to enable the location tracking service.


"Find My iPhone" works by tracking the identification signal that your iPhone transmits every couple of minutes to announce itself to the cell phone network. Find the location of your iPhone by logging into your MobileMe account on a computer and accessing the "Find My iPhone" menu. This displays the most recently recorded location of your iPhone on a map. The application also offers extra remote security features to protect the iPhone; you can send a message to the iPhone's screen or lock the device by setting a new passcode.

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About the Author

Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.