How Accurate Is Find My iPhone, Plus Tips to Improve Accuracy (2023)

Have you ever wondered how accurate the iPhone location is in the Find My App? We’ll teach you some tips and tricks to make it as accurate as possible.

Is Find My iPhone accurate? It depends. There are several factors that can impact accuracy and understanding them can help you potentially locate your device. I’ll answer all your burning questions and I’ll give you tips that will make it easier to recover your iPhone in an emergency.

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How Does Find iPhone Work?

There are several factors that make it possible to find your lost phone. These include GPS, cellular towers, Wi-Fi signals, and Bluetooth signals. These depend on your phone’s settings and battery life, obstacles like trees or buildings, bad weather, and other factors. 

To learn how to set up Find My iPhone, read this. For more tips about your iPhone, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter. We love to share tips and articles with our readers, such as How To Find Someone Else's iPhone When It's Lost.

How Accurate Is Find My iPhone?

Depending on the factors described above, Find My iPhone may be extremely accurate or not at all. Before you storm into your neighbor's home and accuse them of stealing your phone because you see the green circle over their house, there are some other steps to take.

While there are a few ways to make Find My iPhone more accurate that I’ll cover in the next section, they can only be done before your phone is lost or missing. If enabled, the Find My app will tell you if the location shown is exact or approximate. 

If you see a blue dot, the location shown is exact. If you see a larger green circle, the location is approximate. You may wonder, "why does it show approximate location on iPhone?" Any of the factors in the section above could be responsible for the location not being exact.

If your phone runs out of battery, you may still be able to find it as long as the Last Known Location has been set up. This feature will automatically send the location of your device to Apple when its battery is low. If you haven’t already, consider setting it up now because it’s one of the only ways to find your phone when it's dead.

Related: Stolen AirPods? How to Track AirPods Before It's Too Late (2023)

How to Make Find My iPhone More Accurate

There are several things you can do to make locating your iPhone easier in case of an emergency. Tap the links to get step-by-step instructions on how to what’s mentioned in each step:

  1. Enable Location Services.

    Enable Location Services - iphone location showing wrong
  2. Update your iPhone to the latest iOS.

    Update your iPhone to the latest iOS - blue circle around location iphone
  3. Make sure your date, time, and time zone is Set Automatically.

    Make sure your date, time, and time zone is Set Automatically - find my phone that is turned off

While these steps can help make your Find My iPhone more accurate, it still isn’t guaranteed to be perfect. Don’t forget that you can use the Play Sound feature in the Find My app when you think you are close enough to your iPhone to hear it. If you have an Apple Watch, you can also try pinging your iPhone once you are within Bluetooth range.

The location of your iPhone on Find My can be incredibly accurate, but it can also be approximate. If you set up Find My and follow the steps above, this will ensure that it is as accurate as possible! If you are extra worried about losing your phone, consider buying a phone case that can hold an AirTag. While AirTags use the same Find My network, they have a much longer battery life and Precision Finding feature.
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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life who lives in Hawaii. With a BA in International Relations from Anglo American University, Olena traveled the world. She has lived in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, China, and the USA. Olena won an excellence award for a controversial article, got a grant to blog from a war-zone, and published a short fictional story. She hopes to publish a full-length novel and continue writing up a storm on her blog The Travel Bug Bite! When she’s not typing or flying, she is loving on animals, crafting bizarre creations, and devouring all-you-can-eat sushi.