Apple’s big software update from yesterday brought along with it improved remote location features for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad users.
The free Find My iPhone app locates any of your connected Apple products running the latest iOS 4.2 software and displays them on a map. You add a MobileMe account to your device (sign in with the same username and password you use for iTunes) and then turn on the Find My iPhone feature.
After that, if your device gets lost or stolen, download the Find My iPhone app to an iPhone 4, 4th-generation iPod Touch, or iPad and sign into the app using the same MobileMe credentials that you used on your missing device. (More on Techland: Apple’s Hits and Misses So Far)
You’ll then see your forlorn iPhone on a map and can remotely lock it, delete all the data, or send a message to the screen asking for it to be returned. If it’s lost somewhere in your couch cushions, you can also have it play a loud two-minute alert sound even if it’s been set to silent.
There’s been a bit of confusion about which devices are compatible with this system, so here’s the quick version.
Any device running iOS 4.2–iPhone 3G, 3GS, multiple iPod Touch models, and iPad—can have the Find My iPhone location services turned on. This is not the same as installing the Find My iPhone app. (More on Techland: The 10 Best Camera Apps for the iPhone)
The actual Find My iPhone app can only be loaded onto an iPhone 4, 4th-generation iPod Touch, or iPad.
For instance, if you’ve enabled the Find My iPhone feature with your iPhone 3GS (using the above steps to add a MobileMe account) and you lose it, you can borrow a friend’s iPhone 4, load the Find My iPhone app onto it, log into it with your own MobileMe credentials, and locate your phone.
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