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How to Find Your Lost or Misplaced iPhone

Hopefully, you'll never have to use the Find My iPhone feature on your iPhone — though it’s pretty darn cool. If you inadvertently leave your iPhone in a taxi or restaurant, Find My iPhone may just help you retrieve it.

To turn on Find My iPhone, open Settings and tap iCloud. (You get an iCloud e-mail account when you join the free iCloud service.) Make sure the Find My iPhone setting is turned on.

Now suppose that you lost your phone — and you’re beside yourself. Log in to your iCloud account from any browser on your computer. Click Find My iPhone.

Apple now supplies a free Find My iPhone app in the App Store. So you could use an iPhone loaded with this app to locate another iPhone (or iPad or Mac computer).

Assuming that your lost phone is turned on and in the coverage area, its general whereabouts should appear on a map.

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The truth is that even seeing your iPhone on a map may not help you much, especially if the phone is lost somewhere in midtown Manhattan. Take heart. At the Find My iPhone site, click Lost Mode to bang out a plea to the Good Samaritan whom you hope picked up your phone.

The message appears on the lost iPhone’s screen. You’ll get to enter a phone number so that the person can reach you.

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To get someone’s attention, you click Play Sound to sound an alarm that plays for two minutes, even if the phone was in silent mode. Hey, that alarm may come in handy if the phone turns up under a couch in your house.

After all this labor, if the phone is seemingly gone for good, click Erase iPhone at the site to delete your personal data from afar and return the iPhone to its factory settings. And, if you ever get your phone back afterward, you can always restore the information with an iTunes or iCloud backup on your PC or Mac.

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