Last week Apple rolled out a major update to its mobile operating system iOS 4. Hidden away among the improvements in iOS 4.2.1 was the ability to track down your iPad should it get lost or stolen. Best of all, this new feature is free.
You need to activate Find My iPad/IPhone/Ipod Touch (Fourth Generation) before you lose your device, so do it now. Since the steps to turn this useful feature on aren’t immediately obvious, here’s how to do it:
1. Make sure you have the latest iOS update (iOS 4.2.1) installed. Plug in your iDevice and click “Check for updates” in iTunes to get the software.
2. With iOS 4.2.1 installed, tap the Settings app, then tap “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” and “Add Account.” Then choose MobileMe.
3. In the MobileMe account menu, enter your iTunes or Apple ID and password (i.e., the login you use to buy iTunes media on the iPhone).
4. The “Find My iDevice” option should appear. Slide it to “ON” to activate it.”
If you subsequently lose your iDevice all you have to do is log on to http://me.com with the same username and password and you will see your device located on a map.
You will also see a simple menu which gives you the choice of sending a text message to your iDevice with or without a 2 minute long beeping sound. This is handy if you simply misplace it somewhere at home or the office. The iDevice will respond by email when it displays the message. You can also lock it to prevent someone from accessing your data or, as a last resort you can wipe the iDevice. Once this is done you lose the ability to track it.
Find my iDevice was previously only available as part of the $109/yr Mobile Me service. I think it was a good move on Apple’s part to add this free service. We tend to keep more and more of our lives on our iDevices and the ability to track it for free is a great feature.