Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tuesday Tech Tip #5 - Tracking Lost Apple Devices

When devices go missing one of the first questions we're asked in the IT department is, "Can you track it?" All of our school-owned devices have Meraki Mobile Device Management Software installed and this software allows us to do many things including track a device's location. It often comes in quite handy.

Did you know that you can do the same thing with any your Apple devices? Whether you own an iPhone, iPad, or a Macbook Pro you can track your device's location using iCloud's Find My Mac or Find My iPhone/iPad software. It's built right in and all you need is an Apple ID (aka iTunes account).

Last Monday I set up Find My Mac and Find My iPhone/iPad on all of my devices. This morning I was quite thankful I had thought to do this earlier in the week. In the midst of paying our bill and tipping the waitress I left my iPhone sitting on the table at breakfast. Naturally, I didn't realize it was missing for a good 15-20 minutes and we were on the complete other side of town. However, the moment I realized I didn't have it I was able to login to the Find My iPhone app using Kelly's phone and could quickly see that my phone was still at the restaurant. I was also able to send a message to the phone stating that it was missing with directions to call his number. Just a few minutes later after a quick trip to the restaurant the phone was back in my possession.

The Find My iPhone/iPad/Mac software will also allow you to remotely lock the device, play a sound, or just erase it all together. Take a moment to install it. You'll be glad you did. If you have an NCS Macbook or teacher iPad I would also suggest installing the software on those devices using your personal Apple ID. It is a useful back up to the Meraki software already installed and you'll be able to access the tracking software all by yourself.

A word of warning though - tracking software is not perfect. It only works if two conditions are met.

  • The device is connected to the Internet (great for cell phones, not always great for iPads and laptops).
  • The tracking software (Meraki or Find My iPhone/iPad/Mac) is installed and activated. Should someone erase the device the tracking software may also be removed.
You can find more information about Find My iPhone/iPad/Mac on Apple's iCloud website. Please let me know if you have any questions or need help setting it up.