When you first buy a new, or second-hand, apple device such as a MacBook Pro laptop, iPad tablet or iPhone mobile phone you should either create a new apple id (Apple Account) for it or associate it (attach/link it) to an existing APPLE ID (Apple Account).
An APPLE ID is basically the User Name & Password associated with your Apple Account, just as an e-mail address and password are associated with your e-mail account. You use your APPLE ID (User Name & Password) to login to your Apple Account which in turn then gives you access to the iTunes Store (so you can purchase music online for example) and iCloud features (such as downloading apps from the App Store). In this example it will be used to access to the iCloud website whereby you can use the Find My iPhone feature.
With a valid Apple Account, and therefore a valid APPLE ID (User Name & Password) of course, begin by visiting the iCloud website (https://www.icloud.com) and login (sign in) with your APPLE ID. Your APPLE ID User Name is normally your e-mail address. Click on the RIGHT ARROW button or press the ENTER keyboard key, after entering your login details, to login to the iCloud website.
Fig 1.0 Enter the User Name (e-mail address) and Password associated with your APPLE ID
Once logged in you will see the applications available to you "from the Cloud". You can check your e-mail from the iCloud website, edit your Pages documents, view your Contacts book (which is great if you left your iPhone at home!) or use the Find My iPhone application (feature) to locate your apple devices for example; which is what the examples in this section will demonstrate, so click on the RADAR icon (Find My iPhone icon) to continue.
NOTE WELL - The main purpose of Find My iPhone is to find a misplaced or lost Apple device such as an iPad, MacBook Pro and/or iPhone. It is NOT an anti-theft application or feature of OS X (Mavericks) or iOS 7. YES, it has the ability to erase a device's data, restoring the device back to its default factory settings, just in case that device falls into the wrong hands when misplaced or lost, but that ability can also be used to erase a device's data when you want to sell the device. In other words, it's not called Find My STOLEN iPhone or Find My STOLEN Device. Also, the location feature isn't just for locating lost devices. It can also be used to track the whereabouts of the device and the person holding it (i.e. you could track your child to make sure they are on their way home from school).
Fig 1.1 Click on the RADAR icon to open the Find My iPhone application
When the Find My iPhone application opens for the first time it will show a map with one or more coloured dots/circles on it, coloured grey if a device is offline and coloured green if a device online, that represent each device associated with your APPLE ID (Apple Account). In this example I have three devices (an iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro) in the same location whereby only the iPhone is online; hence the green coloured dot/circle on the map.
Online here doesn't mean the iPhone is connected to a wireless broadband network (internet connection). It means the iPhone is Switched ON. When locating an iPhone the Find My iPhone feature uses the iPhone's GPS (Satellite) Signal to locate it and not its wireless broadband network (internet connection/signal).
Note Well - For the examples in this section I have purposely zoomed out of the map to hide the location of my devices and more importantly the location of my house! Meaning this section was created using a live location (my house) as opposed to a fake location (i.e. a library or public space) to show the reality and beauty of the Find My iPhone application in that it uses a live GPS (Satellite) Signal to pinpoint each device, right down to the street location. Now I'm not suggesting you would come round my house for tea and steal my iPhone at the same time, but you never know!!!
Fig 1.2 Find My iPhone uses a live GPS (Satellite) Signal to pinpoint each device, right down to the street location
To locate a specific device you need to click on the DEVICES drop-down menu, located in the top-middle part of the iCloud web page, currently set to ALL DEVICES. Click on the word (menu title) ALL DEVICES to reveal its menu-items. From there, upon first usage, you will see a little spinning cog-wheel next to each device stating Locating and then stating either Offline (no location settings found) or Online (location settings found - show the minutes since the device was last tracked). So in this example my Macbook Pro laptop computer is switched on and connected to the internet but it does not have its Find My Mac setting switched on within the iCloud system preferences. My iPad on the other hand is completely switched off and therefore truly offline whereas my iPhone is switched on with no internet connection, but with its location settings found. It has been switched on for the last 4 Minutes.
To use the Erase iPhone, Lost Mode or Play Sound features of Find My iPhone, for the selected device, click on its name to continue. In this example I am clicking on the ClickWiseCS iPhone.
Fig 1.3 Click on the DEVICES menu to see the status of your Apple devices - Click on a device name to continue
After clicking on a device name you then have the option to erase the data on that device, put the device into a locked-out (blocked) mode or play a sound on the device in order to locate it. Some of these options will not be instant because it depends on whether or not the selected device is switched off or on, with or without a live internet connection, and with or without its location setting switched on.
The ERASE IPHONE option (feature) for example erases your personal data from an iPhone before restoring the iPhone back to its default factory settings (brand new iPhone configuration), but only when the iPhone is switched on. In the case of an iPad it also needs to be connected to the internet before its personal data is erased and it is put back to its default factory settings. The PLAY SOUND option on the other hand only relies on the device being switched on in order for a 'beep beep' sound to be played on it for "locate it" purposes. The sound will be played at full volume even if the device has its Mute option enabled (switched on/active). You will also get emailed notifying you that the device has been played a sound, which is a good indicator that the device has at least been found and switched on; even if it is by a criminal.
With the Erase iPhone option you will not get notified in any way simply because your data will be gone (deleted) and therefore, technically, you will no longer be the iPhone's registered owner registration-wise, activation-wise and iCloud Account-wise. Meaning, the Erase iPhone option is meant to mean "void my ownership, as I am wanting to sell the iPhone" or "void my ownership, but I don't want the thief who stole the iPhone knowing my personal details".
In this next example where my iPhone is switched on, but with no broadband internet connection, clicking on the ERASE IPHONE button (Fig 1.4 below) gives me the following message (Fig 1.5).
Fig 1.4 Clicking on the ERASE IPHONE button (iPhone on with no broadband) gives the following erase option.....
Fig 1.5 .....The data on this iPhone can be erased after clicking on the ERASE button.
When a device is switched off with no internet connection, such as in this next example with my iPad, you will see the following ERASE option instead.
Fig 1.6 Clicking on the ERASE IPAD button (iPad off with no broadband) gives the following erase option.....
Fig 1.7 .....The data on this iPad can only be erased when the iPad is switched on and connected to the internet.
As you can see from Fig 1.6 above; When a device is truly offline (not trackable), such as my iPad, you then have another option called NOTIFY ME WHEN FOUND which basically means you can be notified by e-mail when that device is switched on, connected to the internet and trackable. The real important part to tracking any device is to make sure its tracking (FIND MY) preference (setting) is enabled. With a MacBook Pro for example you need to go to the iCloud system preferences and make sure the setting called TRACK MY MAC is ticked, otherwise you won't be able to track it and therefore locate it.
Fig 1.8 Make sure the iCloud setting TRACK MY MAC is ticked, so your MacBook Pro laptop is then trackable.
Putting a device into Lost Mode is ideal when you absolutely cannot physically find/see that device and fear you may of lost it in a public place, such as in a park or in the high street, whereby putting it into lost mode will at least give you the chance to track its whereabouts, once it has been switched on, before deciding if to erase its data. Obviously if the device is already switched on, such as an iPhone, you should be able to track it and therefore see where it is located. Remember what I said earlier; Lost Mode isn't an anti-theft feature. It's not called Stolen Mode.
With an iPhone you need to make sure the Find My iPhone feature (setting) is switched on - Tap on the iPhone's grey cog-wheel, desktop, SETTINGS icon to get to the Settings screen. From there tap on the grey hand-sign PRIVACY icon to get to the Privacy screen where the blue LOCATION SERVICES setting at the top of that screen should state ON to denote that feature (service) is switched on. If you tap on the setting (words) LOCATION SERVICES, to take you to the Location Services screen, you should see the actual LOCATION SERVICES setting switched on, denoted by a green slider button, and if you then scroll down the Location Services screen you should also see the FIND MY IPHONE setting (feature) switched on (denoted by the word ON). Tapping on the setting (words) FIND MY IPHONE will confirm this, denoted by a green slider button (not shown in these examples).
Fig 1.9 Use Lost Mode as a last resort - Click on the LOST MODE button and follow the prompts.
If you do need to use Lost Mode simply click on the LOST MODE button and follow the prompts. You can set it up with an optional phone number and message whereby if/when the device is found (switched on), and possibly connected to the internet (depending on the device), a message appears on the device; such as "This device has been reported Lost - Please call John on 0207 1234567 - £100 reward". You will also be asked to set up a unique PIN for the lost device whereby the person who finds the device cannot use it without knowing the PIN. If the device is an iPhone they will be able to use it, in Lost Mode, to call the optional phone number and tell you "I've found your iPhone.....".
Find My iPhone is NOT bullet-proof. For misplaced or "lost at the back of the sofa" scenarios its great, but criminals can easily get around a stolen device. They have ways of wiping your device and taking new ownership of it. So with this said, set up Find My iPhone but don't treat it as an anti-theft mechanism.