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How to find a lost or stolen smartphone, tablet or computer

Find My Device lets you remotely track, lock, and erase the data on a lost or stolen device. Here's how to use it.

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Last updated: 30 March 2020

Need to know

  • Find My Device can locate lost or stolen devices on a map, lock them or erase all data, if necessary.
  • Apple devices, Windows 10 and Android all have a version of the Find My Device feature.
  • The feature only works if you've set it up. Do it before you run the risk of losing your device. 

If your smartphone, computer or tablet is lost or stolen, the Find My Device* feature can help you find, lock or erase it remotely. 

Keep in mind that the location data isn't pinpoint perfect – your device might only be in the general vicinity of where Find My Device says, or it may have moved on, so don't go sending in the troops to a suspected thief's address. 

Some older products might also not support Find My Device. Make sure your operating system (OS) is compatible.

But if you've left something behind, these steps can help you recover it.

*For simplicity, we're saying Find My Device which is what it's called on Windows 10 and Android devices. However, on iOS, iPadOS, macOS devices the feature is called Find My.

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Windows 10

OS version: 10565 and above

Find My Device works with any Windows 10 PC, laptop, Surface tablet or Surface Pen as long as the device is on, connected to the internet and has location tracking enabled.

However, Windows 10 PCs and laptops don't usually have built-in GPS, so location tracking may not be precise. When we tried it, we got the right street but were a few houses off the mark.

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For Windows 10 devices, open the Start menu, select Settings, Update and Security, then Find My Device.

How to set up Find My Device on Windows 10

From the Windows 10 desktop, open the Start menu, then go to Settings > Update & Security > Find My Device

Click Change, then select the device you want to track.

You may be asked to turn on location tracking. To do this, select Turn on the location settings Change.

To find your device name, go back to Settings, then select System > About and look under Device specifications.

How to find a lost Windows 10 device

On a computer or smartphone, go to account.microsoft.com and sign in.

At the top of the page, select Devices Find My Device. Pick your device and press Find to see it on a map.

To lock your device, select Lock > Next.

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After activating Find My Device, you'll be able to see the location of your device on a map.

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Apple devices

OS version: iOS and iPadOS 13 or later, macOS 10.15 Catalina or later.

Find My combines the earlier Find My iPhone and Find My Friends features into one single app on an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch or AirPod .

Find My lets you keep tabs on your friends (with their consent) as well as your Apple devices, and it can improve your chances of finding your devices when they're not connected to the internet.

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The Find My app lists every device registered to you and shows their location.

How to set up Find My on a Mac, iPhone or iPad 

Launch the Find My app and you'll see three tabs at the bottom of the screen: 'people', 'devices' and 'me', plus a link to share your location.

People

Contains your contacts that were in the Find My Friends app and your Apple Family Sharing group. 

Clicking a contact brings up a menu with contact details, directions to them, and notification options. Once you're set-up, any paired Apple Watch or AirPods will automatically activate their Find My feature.

Devices 

Each device registered to you is listed here. It provides directions to each device, lets you mark any as lost and gives you the option of erasing them remotely.

Me 

Provides options for sharing and editing your location name and turning friend requests on or off.

Set-up for older devices

If you have an earlier version of iOS or macOS, the feature is called Find My iPhone and set-up is a bit different as it's found under Settings instead of being a separate app.

If you don't have the current macOS Catalina, you can still access all the features via icloud.com in any web browser. Simply log in with your Apple ID and choose Find iPhone.

How to find a lost Mac, iPhone or iPad

Open the Find My app or log on to icloud.com, then select your device to see its location.

If it's nearby, select Play Sound. If not, click on Directions to help track it down.

You can also select Mark As Lost. This locks your device with a passcode and posts a message such as "This phone has been lost. Please call me" (along with your phone number) to the lock screen. Lost mode also turns off Apple Pay.

As a last resort you can remotely Erase This Device, which deletes everything including any payment information. But once you do, you won't be able to use Find My to track your device anymore. 

Note: If your device is offline, you won't be able to find it. However, any request for its location, command to lock, or data erasure will activate the next time it connects to the internet.

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You can use Find My to play a sound on your device, mark it as lost or erase it.

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Android

OS version: Android 4.0 and up.

Android devices have different settings menus and features – yours may differ slightly, and some products may use a different method laid out by their manufacturer.

How to set up Find My Device for Android

Once you've linked a Google account to an Android device, which you almost certainly did back when you originally set it up, Find My Device is on by default.

Your phone or tablet simply needs to be turned on, connected to the internet, and have location permissions enabled.

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Find My Device can make your Android ring at full volume for five minutes.

How to find a lost Android

Either download and open the Google Find My Device app on an Android phone or tablet, or go to google.com/android/find and sign in.

On the top left, select your device to see its map location, battery life, and what Wi-Fi or cellular network it's connected to.

From there, you can make it ring at full volume for five minutes, even if it's set to silent.

If it's not nearby, tap Secure Device to lock it and display a message such as "This phone is lost, please contact…" (along with your contact details) on the locked screen. 

If things are particularly dire, you can erase all content from it. However, once you've done this, you can't locate it anymore.