14 Ways to Find a Stolen or Lost iPhone

12 Apps/Services and 2 Tips

Having a stolen or lost iPhone is bound to give you a sinking feeling in your stomach - there's $200-$500 down the drain. But just because the iPhone's not in your hands anymore doesn't mean you can't get it back. Whether your phone was just lost or has been stolen, these apps and tips can help you recover it and save yourself from having to buy a new phone.

image copyright Ravneet Singh

Unlike some of the others on this list, the Device Locator app doesn't require a monthly subscription. Instead, this US$4.99 app lets you log into a web-based account to track the location of a phone, cause it to make noise, lock the phone to prevent access by a thief, and more. More »

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image copyright ActiveTrak Inc.

A web-based service that attempts to trick thieves into sending location data about your phone to its servers. With that information, you can log into a web console to locate your iPhone by GPS, map, IP address, and more. While the company charges for its service on other platforms, as of this writing (Oct. 2010), it is free on the iPhone.

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image copyright Appmosys LLC

FoneHome offers GPS-based location of lost or stolen iPhones, as well as the ability to remotely take photos (maybe you'll snap a pic of the thief), play a sound (to help you find your iPhone in the couch), and track information online. Unlike many other apps, it does not require a subscription service, meaning that $1.99 is all you'll pay. More »

find my iphone app
image copyright Apple Inc.

This official app from Apple uses the company's iCloud service to locate your lost phone. You can also remotely lock the phone and set a passcode on it, or even remotely delete its data - two nice security features. It's free and requires access to another iOS device or a web-connected computer when yours is lost.

Learn how to Set up Find My iPhone | Use Find My iPhone | Do you need the Find My iPhone app to use Find My iPhone? More »

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image copyright iHound Software LLC

IHound not only helps locate iPhones that have been lost of stolen, but it also lets you track the location of kids, spouses, etc. via their iPhones. Additionally, it can spur actions based on GPS location, such as emailing a grocery list when you get to the store. The app requires a subscription service. The first three months are included with app purchase, while extensions run US$3.99-$19.99.

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image copyright Antonio Calatrava

This service requires a jailbroken iPhone and getting the app through Cydia, meaning that not all users may be comfortable doing what's needed to use it. If you are, iLocalis not only tracks the location of your iPhone but lets you send remote commands - place calls, delete data, record audio, lock - to the phone, which can either help determine where the phone is or prevent a thief from accessing your data. More »

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If Found +

image copyright Polka Networks Inc.

This $0.99 app doesn't use GPS to locate your phone. Instead, it relies on good Samaritans to return a lost phone. The app creates a wallpaper/lock screen image with a message asking the person who finds the phone to call you. As of this writing (Oct. 2010), the website of the developer is offline, which would lead me to pretty strongly consider not buying the app.

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image copyright Retina-X Studios, LLC

This subscription-based service can track stolen or lost iPhones, BlackBerrys, Android phones, and Windows Mobile phones. Mobile Spy features include a web-based account to log incoming calls and texts, locate via GPS, record newly added contacts, track emails, and more. Subscriptions cost up to US$99.97 a year. More »

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image copyright Fitnio LLC

Another GPS-tracking app that checks in on your phone's position regularly and reports it to a web-based account. PleaseFindMyPhone doesn't require a subscription service or monthly, just the cost of the app - $4.99.

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Phone Trace

image copyright Huang Minggong

A GPS-centric app ($4.99) that lets you pinpoint a phone or the location of a child, spouse, etc. carrying a phone running the app. It does not include any further security features (remote lock or erase, for instance) but doesn't seem to require any sort of subscription.

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TrackMe FindMe

image copyright TrackMe FindMe

This free app is backed by a subscription service (which, strangely, you have to register to learn the price of) that costs $24.99 a year. You can track the location of your phone, or those belonging to friends and family using TrackMe FindMe, via a web console.

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Call Your Phone

Man walking on street on cell phone
Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

This technique won't help you retrieve a stolen iPhone, but if you've lost your phone around the house or office, it'll do fine. Just call your phone number and, unless your ringer is off, you'll be able to track your phone to between the couch cushions by following the rings.

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Make Wallpaper with Contact Info

Woman on cell phone
Nathan ALLIARD/Getty Images

Though a few apps above offer a similar thing, you can create a wallpaper with your contact information for free. Use your favorite graphics program to create a wallpaper (320 x 240 pixels on older iPhones, 960 x 640 on the iPhone 4) with your name, email, alternate phone number, etc. Then sync the image to your iPhone and set it as both the wallpaper and lock screen. This won't foil a thief, but it could help you get a lost iPhone back.

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