If you’ve lost your iPhone or iPad, how can you find your device? If you had the forethought to activate Find My iPhone, you should be able to find your
Device effortlessly. Though, after logging in, you bump into a problem: Find My iPhone is offline.
What does “Offline” mean on Find My iPhone? How can you still trace your device? And if it’s been stolen, how do you prevent a thief from accessing your personal
data? Well, simply read on to find the answers.
How to Activate Find My iPhone
So what exactly is Find My iPhone? As you may already know, it’s a feature that helps you find your device if it goes missing. Whether
you’ve lost it while out and about, or you’ve misplaced it somewhere at home, activating Find My iPhone means you can log into your Apple ID on a computer
or tablet and locate your device on a map. (Find My iPhone is part of the
Find My app starting with iOS 13.)
You can also use Find My iPhone to remotely lock your phone, erase all content (in case you think it’s irrecoverable), or play a sound to lead you to it.
Simply start the Settings app on your iPhone, then tap your profile at the top of the screen. Next, head over to iCloud > Find My iPhone. (Later, we’ll explain why this screen is
Important if your phone reads Offline.)
Ensure this setting is enabled. It cannot be turned on remotely, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s a good idea to take
Precaution but hope you never need it.
What Does “Offline” Mean on Find My iPhone?
To locate your device with Find My iPhone, you should sign into your
from another smartphone, computer or tablet. There are many iterations of the Find My app, including Find My iPad and Find My Mac. All of these use iCloud.
If it’s working correctly, you should see an icon on a map showing where your device is. In some situations, though, it reads “Offline”. It may also
say “No location available” or “Location Services Off”.
So, what does it mean when find my iPhone says offline?
There are a couple of reasons for this, however, they all mean the same: your iPhone cannot check in to Find My iPhone. It doesn’t have access to Wi-Fi or
what does it mean when find my iPhone is offline? The most obvious reason is that it’s out of battery. You might also have left it powered off. In any case, if your phone has
no power, Find My iPhone won’t show you its location.
Find my iPhone can only function if your device is connected to iCloud, of course, and signed into your Apple ID. That means, for you to activate the feature, you’ll
have already signed into these. Though, it’s possible to disable both, severing the connection to Find My iPhone.
Again, your iPhone may have Airplane Mode turned on.
If your iPhone has been stolen, the burglar may have ejected its SIM card. This disconnects it from the internet, making it more difficult—but not
There’s also a slim likelihood that your iPhone has been lost in a location without Find My iPhone. This is because the feature needs to access maps
and Apple unfortunately doesn’t have that capability in some areas.
How to Find an iPhone That Is Offline
When you launch Find My iPhone, you’ll be presented with 3 options. Though it may seem useless, start by tapping on Play Sound. It’s not likely this will work, particularly when
your iPhone shows as Offline. However, you’ll be pleasingly amazed if you do find your iPhone this way. (We’ll come back to the other two options on
this screen. You need to explore other methods before using those two.)
The main way to locate your iPhone is, again, by preparing in advance. When setting up your device, you need to go to Settings, tap on your profile,
then head over to iCloud > Find My iPhone > Send Last Location. This sends the location data of your device to Apple when the battery is significantly low.
This is your best bet to retrieve your lost iPhone, however, it may not help if a thief moved it to a different location, or if the function is disabled.
If you use Google Maps on your iPhone, it may be possible to track its location through the
You can see which apps access your geographical data by heading over to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
It’s also a good idea to contact your mobile service provider. If you have the serial number or International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number for your iPhone, your carrier
may be able to trace its location.
You can visit the place where you’ve been recently and hope you find your iPhone without having to use technology. If not, you need to wait and keep
your fingers crossed that someone finds and charges it. Keep signing into Find My iPhone every now and then in case this does happen.
How to Protect Your Data If Your iPhone Is Offline
Suppose you still can’t find your iPhone. You think that someone has stolen it, or that whoever finds it may access your private data.
What can you do to prevent this from happening?
Even when Find My iPhone says “Offline”, you can still use some of its features. Most notably, Activation Lock comes in handy when using Find My iPhone.
The best thing about this feature is that nobody can turn off Find My iPhone or erase your phone’s data without your Apple ID.
Two more options are useful:
- Lost Mode: This allows you to remotely lock your device and display a custom message on the screen. You should include a way of contacting you in case someone finds your
iPhone. As an additional layer of security, this disables Apple Pay. Moreover, notifications won’t be displayed, so no one can access your activities. Once you
recover your device, you can unlock it by simply using your passcode.
- Erase iPhone: This should only be done as a final resort —it wipes the entire data on your iPhone. It’s a last bullet, not to be taken frivolously. Try everything
Possible to find it again. If you do take this avenue, you’ll be required to
restore your iPhone from a backup
or will unfortunately lose all your data.
These modes only gets enabled once your iPhone switches on and reconnects to the internet.
Should You Choose to Erase Your iPhone?
At this point, we hope these tips helped you find your iPhone, even if it says it’s offline. However, you may need to erase your device if you really can’t
Choosing this option means you’ve completely lost hope. However, we recommend that you use Lost Mode. It doesn’t matter if you lost your iPhone
a few hours ago or one year ago. If someone finds it and power it on, they will notice your message and with a bit of luck return it to you. You may consider
offering a reward too.
Advice for anyone who has lost their iPhone
is simply not to lose hope. With today’s always-on world, someone will hopefully find it and get it back online. With that in mind, make sure you know
what to do if you find a lost iPhone.