Like many of you, I was filled with sadness when I read Alicia’s post on losing her iPad last week. It’s definitely a horrible feeling to realize you’ve left a valuable item behind when you’re out and about, but the thing is it happens to all of us at one time or another.
Luckily, as Alicia pointed out in her post, there are some things we can do on our iDevices to dramatically increase the chances of getting them back if lost or stolen. One of the most popular ways is to use the MobileMe Find My iPad (or Find My iPhone) feature to track your device’s location and be able to pinpoint it if it goes missing. I thought this might be as good a time as any to share a quick how-to on enabling this excellent service.
Hit the break for details on how to enable Find My iPad on your iPad …
How To Enable Find My iPad
You need to be an active MobileMe subscriber in order to use this feature. Visit the Apple site here to get a trial version: http://www.apple.com/mobileme/. The service – which also includes mail, contacts, and calendar sync and iDisk web storage – costs $99 per year for an individual user or $149 for a family plan.
You also must have Location Services turned on under Settings > General > Location Services.
— Make sure you add your MobileMe account to your iPad. If you haven’t already done this, you’ll need go to the Settings app on your iPad to get it added.
— In Settings, select the Mail, Contacts, Calendars section in the left-hand pane.
— Choose ‘Add Account’ and then choose mobileme from the selection of account types
— Enter your MobileMe login details and create the account.
— Then tap on the new MobileMe account under Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
— On the MobileMe popover dialog there are a series of toggle boxes to turn On and Off the various MobileMe sync and other options. The last one is for ‘Find My iPad’. Tap to turn that one on.
That’s it. You can then open MobileMe in a browser and go to the Find My iPad / iPhone section, and you should see all your iPad (and any other iDevices you’ve enabled this feature on). You can click on that to verify that it sees the device’s current location.
The exact same set of steps can be used to enable Find My iPhone on an iPhone.
From that MobileMe map screen you can click on your iPad and choose to send a message to the device, lock the device, or remotely wipe its data. And most importantly, you can use the location information to go and retrieve the iPad if it was just misplaced somewhere or report it to the police if it has been stolen.
*** Please be aware that if your iPad is stolen and a thief is savvy enough they can turn off Location Services or FindMyiPad and make your recovery efforts more difficult – but the hope is that only a small percentage of opportunistic thieves will have this knowledge.
I hope none of us lose our iPads anytime soon – but I also definitely recommend enabling Find My iPad if you’re able to get the MobileMe service. I honestly only renew MobileMe each year because of this feature.