If there’s one thing most thieves would die to get, it is the iPhones of unsuspecting owners.
If you’re one of those who’s worried about getting their iPhones stolen from them, then the best course of action—other than the usual avoid using your phone too frequently in public—is to use the Find My iPhone feature.
There will be times that the Find My iPhone feature fails to work; this article lists the top 10 reasons why this happens, thus narrowing down your options to better troubleshoot the problem.
The device is turned off or doesn’t have power
Find My iPhone works by locating devices that are turned on. The reason is because the feature will need the GPS signals sent by the device to Wi-Fi and cellular networks for it to detect its current location.
If you find that your device is currently turned off, the best possible result that Find My iPhone can give you is the location it has detected in the last 24 hours.
Find My iPhone or iCloud are deactivated
To use this feature, you have to make sure that both Find My iPhone and iCloud are both enabled before losing the device. Sure there’s no way you can predict that a thief’s just around the corner, but it’s better to be ready than miserable in the end.
What happens when these features are disabled? First, you won’t be able to use both the Find My iPhone app or website, simply because the paired device doesn’t have the same feature enabled on it. This is why you shouldn’t forget this while setting up your device.
No SIM card inserted
You can find the SIM card slot in that small opening on the side (for older models, at the top). This small card connects your device to the cellular company of your choice, and allows it to connect to cellular services such as mobile data, calls, texts, and many more. No SIM card means no 3G or 4G; plus, you won’t be receiving and calls or texts from friends and family.
No connection to the internet
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to locate your lost device if it’s lost its Internet connection. This happens when the device has gone out of range, or when Airplane Mode has been activated by the person who got the device. If this is the case, you’ll only be able to track its location in the last 24 hours.
Find My iPhone isn’t vailable in your country
Although iPhones are shipped in countries all over the world, the Find My iPhone feature is only available in selected countries. This is due to the Maps data for each country which Apple isn’t granted absolute access to.
If you’re in a country that doesn’t have the feature, you won’t be able to track your device in your local map. However, there are still other features that you may use such as data deletion and remote locking, which wipes out all the data from your phone and locks it to prevent it from being used ever again.
The date of your device is incorrect
For some reason, the date of your device may affect the performance of the Find My iPhone feature. This error is also evident with other features such as iTunes and other Apple services. The servers of Apple need its devices to have the correct date; otherwise, problems will occur.
The dates in iPhones are set by default on automatic, but there could be factors that change it. When this happens, make sure to visit the Settings app and enable ‘Set Automatically’ for the date.
The device is still on iOS 5 or earlier
People with the latest versions of iOS seldom experience this problem, but phones that are still running versions earlier than iOS 5 are more likely to experience errors with the Find My iPhone feature. For those with iOS 5, it should be updated to its latest version for it to be able to use the feature.
The latest iPhones are now on iOS 9, but attempting to track an earlier iPhone model means that the device might still be running an OS version that can’t support the Find My iPhone feature.
The device has been restored to its factory settings
iOS 6 devices that were stolen can be broken into by thieves. They’d simply restore the phone to its factory settings to disable the Find My iPhone feature. Good thing phones running iOS 7 and later cannot be restored unless the password used to activate it from the start was used. This is why it’s always important to upgrade to the latest iOS version.
The app is irrelevant
All devices that can run Find My iPhone and iCloud can be tracked through the iCloud website. However, the app is best used when you’re trying to find your iPhone while on-the-go. Also, you can’t use it to track your lost iPhone, unless the feature is also installed there.
Device has no passcode
Finally, the last known reason why Find My iPhone may not be working is that it may have already been deactivated by the thieves. This is why you should always put a passcode on your phone; leaving it unprotected renders it readily usable by anyone.
Knowing these factors can help prepare you for the worst case scenario. As a good measure, it’s always important to enable your iPhone’s security features to help prepare yourself in case you cross paths with a thief.