New “Lost Mode” in Find My iPhone (iCloud)
With iOS 6, Apple will be releasing an updated set of web apps on iCloud.com, including Mail, Calendar, Notes, Reminders and Find My iPhone. Find My iPhone is a useful feature that allows you to track or wipe your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch should it get lost or stolen. For more info check out my article on Protecting and Recovering Your iPhone and iPad from Loss and Theft. In this post I just want to point out the changes to Find My iPhone, in particular the new “Lost Mode”.
The new user interface is largely similar to the old one, with a couple of minor improvements to the device box which is now in the top right corner. I’ve circled two of the new elements in red, the first one on the left is used for status information (in this case stating that this is an old location), and on the right side showing the charge/battery level of the device. At the bottom of the box are the same Play Sound and Erase iPhone (Remote Wipe), and the new Lost Most which replaces the Remote Lock and “Play Sound or Send Message” buttons from the previous Find My iPhone.
Clicking on the Lost Mode button brings up the first step (above) which allows you to enter an optional phone number where you can be reached. This number will be displayed on your device’s screen, and can be called. Clicking next brings up the following step (below), where you can enter a message that will be shown on the screen of your device (together with the phone number if you entered one).
Once you click Done, if your phone is online it will be put into Lost Mode (see below). This will automatically lock the device (using the current passcode), and display your message and phone number. You will receive an email to inform you that your device has been put into Lost Mode, and if your device is located, you will see it in Find My iPhone and receive an email.
The screenshot below is what your iPhone’s screen would look like in Lost Mode.
If you click on Lost Mode again, you have the option of changing the phone number and the message, as well as choosing whether to receive email updates. If you find your phone, you can stop Lost Mode here too (or just enter the passcode on your phone).
In Lost Mode, the dropped pins that indicate the phone’s location are persistent, meaning that every time the phone’s location is refreshed, a new pin appears (instead of moving the old one). This allows you to track where your lost (or stolen) device is going throughout the day.
All in all this feels like a decent improvement to Find My iPhone, as it definitely simplifies the process of tracking and recovering a lost device. For those of you hoping to play around with the new iCloud updates before iOS 6 is released, check out beta.icloud.com. You can also read my Frequently Asked Questions About Find My iPhone (and iPad).