Tablets

How to Find My iPad

Perhaps you received a new iPad as a holiday gift this year or bought yourself one of Apple’s snazziest gadgets on a Black Friday deal. Either way, an iPad is an expensive piece of equipment. The last thing you want is for it to end up misplaced or stolen. The question is, what steps can you take to make sure your iPad is safe? Learn how to find my iPad.

Enabling the Find My iPad Feature

One of the very first things you should do after taking your iPad out of the box is to enable the “Find My iPad” feature. The great thing about Apple products is that they are ready to use from the moment you unpack them. However, this instant easy usability can sometimes be a distraction to new owners. Think about it: when you have a new iPad, all you want to do is download apps, play games, login to all of your various social media accounts, take photos and videos, change the background, and do other things to personalize it. To protect against loss or theft, though, enabling the “Find My iPad” feature is something you should do before you download a single app or snap a single photo.

Luckily, Apple has made this feature relatively easy to find and access. All you have to do is open the Settings menu and select “iCloud” from the list. One of the options in the iCloud settings menu is “Find My iPad.” Toggle the feature to turn it on. Just like that, “Find My iPad” is enabled on your device!

Using Find My iPad to Locate Your Device

In an ideal world, you will never actually need to use “Find My iPad” to track down a missing device. It will just serve as an insurance safeguard to ensure peace of mind and protect your investment. However, if your iPad does end up getting lost or stolen, you will certainly be glad that you switched on “Find My iPad.”

Two Options to Track Your iPad

To access the feature and use it to track your device, you have two options. The first choice is to log in to your iCloud account online. Specifically, you will want to direct your web browser to the URL icloud.com/find. Since you have a link between your iPad and your Apple ID, and since you enabled “Find My iPad,” you will be able to get GPS tracking data on your device by simply entering your Apple ID and password. If your iPad is still turned on, you will almost immediately see a map with a green dot on it. The green dot indicates the current location of your device. If your iPad has run out of battery or been turned off, the map will show its last known location.

Your second option for locating an iPad is to use Apple’s iOS “Find My iPhone” app. (You can download the app here.) If you have an iPhone and want to use it to track and locate your iPad, the app might come in handy. It’s also a good option if you need to retrace your steps to find a lost or stolen iPad. By using “Find My iPhone” on a mobile device, you can zero in on the location of your iPad while also consistently checking to make sure that the location hasn’t changed. Just like with the iCloud option, though, you will have to enter your Apple ID and password to activate the GPS tracker on your iPad.

Using Apple’s Other Lost Device Features

In addition to GPS tracking, Apple has designed several other features to help iPad owners find or protect their devices in case of loss or theft. Let’s say you’ve just logged into iCloud to use the “Find My iPad” feature. You are looking at the map with the GPS tracking data for your device. The map shows that your iPad as in your home, but you feel like you’ve looked everywhere. You can use “Find My iPad” to play a sound through your device so that you can find it more easily.

The other options that are available to you at this stage are more for security’s sake. For instance, if you are tracking your iPad to a location that is not your home or workplace, you might choose to activate “Lost Mode.” The Lost Mode feature allows you to lock your device so that no one can access it without a passcode. Lost Mode can also temporarily shut down any and all Apple Pay activity coming from your device. If you have a credit card saved on your iPad, Lost Mode will make it impossible for anyone to use that payment information in transactions. You can also use Lost Mode to display a message on the screen of your iPad, such as a phone number where someone can reach you if they find your device.

If Necessary Erase All The Data On Your iPad

Of course, the worry when your iPad gets lost is that whoever finds it (or whoever stole it) won’t feel so inclined to return it. After all, an iPad is a marquee item with a high resale price. If you are worried about your iPad falling into the wrong hands—particularly if your device has a lot of sensitive or confidential information saved on it—you might wish to wipe it clean. “Find My iPad” also includes an option that lets you erase your device.

You should think long and hard before you enable this failsafe. Wiping your iPad will delete your music, apps, app data, photos, videos, messages, and all other items stored on your device. Of course, you might have some of this stuff backed up to iCloud. However, you also won’t be able to track your device via “Find My iPad” once you’ve erased the drive. Wiping your data, then, is something of a last-ditch defense—a step you take when you can’t afford to have your data fall into the wrong hands or when you feel confident that you won’t be able to recover your device.

With a New iPad Turn On “Find My iPad” Right Away

The most important thing to remember is that “Find My iPad” is the only way Apple can track your device. If you don’t have the feature enabled, you won’t be able to get GPS information on the device’s location, enable Lost Mode, or wipe your data. In other words, don’t forget to enable “Find My iPad” as soon as you pull your new device out of the box.