By Sarah Kingsbury updated on 09/14/2016
When your iPhone is lost, there’s an understandable tendency to panic. But even if your iPhone battery is dead, you can still find it. Lots of people worry that if their iPhone is dead, suddenly iCloud won’t be able to track it. But breathe easy, it’s just as simple to track the last location of a dead iPhone as it is to find one full of battery life. We’ll use iCloud and Find My iPhone to get that precious iPhone you’ve lost back into your hands—dead or alive. We'll also cover how to enable lost mode for your iPhone remotely and various options you have when finding your iPhone. Here’s how to find your iPhone even if the battery is dead.
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The big question, of course, is can I find my iPhone if it’s dead? Yes! As we stated above, whether or not your iPhone is dead will not affect iCloud’s ability to find its last location. That means if you lost your iPhone somewhere and it died, you can still find out where it was when the battery died. To do this, you’ll need to have had Find My iPhone enabled before it was lost.
If you suspect your iPhone has been stolen, contact local authorities; do not attempt to recover it yourself.
Having Find My iPhone enabled is only one half of making sure even a dead iPhone can be found with iCloud’s location tracking. You also need to turn on Send Last Location. With that enabled, your iPhone will send out its location when the battery is about to die. So even if your iPhone dies, you’ll be able to track where it was lost. To do this:
- Open Settings.
- Tap iCloud.
- Select Find My iPhone.
- Toggle on Find My iPhone.
- Toggled on Send Last Location.
You'll be using Find My iPhone in iCloud to find your iPhone, which is why you can find your lost iPhone even if it’s dead. To find your lost iPhone on iPad or a friend’s iPhone (even if it’s dead):
- Open the Find My iPhone app.
- If you’re not on a device you own, tap Sign Out in the top right corner. Then sign in with you Apple ID and passcode.
- Once you’re signed in, you’ll see a list of all your devices. Choose your missing iPhone from the list.
- A big dot on the map will show you where it’s located. You can zoom in and out by pinching your fingers.
- Tap Actions at the bottom.
Tap the car icon to get directions. You’ll be redirected to the Maps app.
When you start your route, the directions will take you right to where Find My iPhone last located your lost iPhone, even if the device is dead.
I imagine most people will end up looking for their lost and potentially dead iPhone on the computer. If you need to track your iPhone using Find My iPhone from a laptop or desktop, here’s how:
Open a browser and go to icloud.com.
Sign in using your Apple ID and password.
Click the Find My iPhone app icon.
Select All Devices at the top and choose your missing iPhone.
The map will display where your lost iPhone is located. Go find it!
When you use Find My iPhone to locate your lost iPhone, you’ll see the option Lost Mode. Lost Mode, when enabled, will remotely lock your device, display a custom message with a phone number to contact if found, and turn on location tracking. Even if you had location services disabled, putting your iPhone in Lost Mode will turn location services on until the phone is recovered and taken out of Lost Mode.
Lost Mode requires that your iPhone be alive to work. If your iPhone is dead, you can still turn it on but it will only be able to enter Lost Mode if it’s powered back up and connects to the internet. If you suspect your iPhone still has battery power, I would recommend using Lost Mode. To do this:
From Find My iPhone, once you’ve selected your lost device, click Lost Mode.
Enter a phone number you can be reached at if found.
Then enter a message to display from the Lock screen.
- Tap Done.
- When you recover your iPhone using iCloud and Find My iPhone to track its location, simply unlock your device with the passcode and it will leave Lost Mode.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have Find My iPhone enabled, you’ll need to resort to retracing your steps. Unless you’ve enabled location history for Google Maps. Location history with Google maps will be able to tell you the last location of your lost iPhone. If you aren't sure whether or not you've enabled location history, visit the link below. If you haven't, it will give you an option to enable it, which is a good idea in case you lose the phone in the future.
- Head over to maps.google.com/locationhistory.
- Make sure you’re logged into your Google account.
- Then select the date your iPhone went missing.
- Check your last location and go get that phone!