Find My iPhone is a feature of Apple's MobileMe service that allows iOS Device owners to find their missing devices. If the device is on and connected to the internet, Find My iPhone can be accessed from a web browser by logging into your MobileMe account or via this New App installed on another iOS device. This App does NOT need to be installed on the missing device to use the feature.  I like the prospect of the Find My iPhone feature of MobileMe. However, you have to realize that there are limitations. First off, you have to be a MobileMe customer and the Find My iPhone feature has to be turned ON on the device before it comes up missing. Even then, you will only be able to locate the device if it's turned on and connected to the internet. So let's say you just discovered that your iPod touch is missing and the last time you used it was a couple of days ago. If the device has run out of power or if someone took it and is walking about outside (not in a WiFi zone), then this feature won't help you. As long as you realize the limits, having MobileMe and this feature provides more hope of recovering your device than not having this feature. If you have an iPhone, you have a better chance since the iPhone can be on a cellular data network just about anywhere.

The only thing worse than losing your device is someone having your information too

Although you can replace your iOS device, it may be a lot more frustrating and potentially damaging  if someone has access to all of the information on it. We often don't think twice about what's on these devices. However, there's a lot of information on them about YOU! Your contacts are on there. Your calendar is there. Your photos are on there. Your emails are on there (probably complete with order confirmations complete with your shipping address, from the places you shop at), and most of your Apps probably have the passwords saved in them for easy access to your various accounts. I always tell people regardless of whether or not you have MobileMe, you should protect your device with a PIN. So it takes a few extra seconds to key it in when you want to use the device, at least it gives you peace of mind that someone else can't just turn it on and have your whole life in front of them. With that out of the way, now let's talk about the App. Like I said, you can do all of this from any web browser. However, since Apple doesn't really let you get to the MobileMe site from your iOS device (odd, I know), you now have a FREE App to use this feature. Once you launch the App you sign in with your MobileMe credentials. You can then access all of your iOS devices that have the Find My iPhone feature enabled. If the device is on and on the net, Find My iPhone will begin to locate it. Once the device has been located you can Display a Message on the device that pops up. This could be a message with instructions on how to return it to you. You can have it play a sound even if the device is muted, which is handy for locating a missing device in your home or around you. You can Remote Lock the device with a new or different PIN. Lastly you can Remote Wipe the device, which will remove ALL of your information from it. This last one is great because once it starts the process of wiping there is no stopping it. Even if they power off the device, the wipe will continue once it's turned back on. What if your device is off or not on the internet? Although Find My iPhone won't be able to tell you where it is, you can still use the Display Message or Sound, Remote Lock and Remote Wipe features and they will kick in the next time the device is turned on and connects to the internet.

You can get the Find My iPhone App here from the Find

 

The Bottom Line

I was already a MobileMe customer before this feature, so for me this just adds more value to my MobileMe account. Although I understand the limitations, I would still like to see a couple of additional features added. First off I have a MobileMe Family Pack and it seems silly that I have to log in as each user separately to locate a particular user's device. I understand the privacy implications, but I still think that the Family Pack MobileMe members should have an Opt In option for the master account holder to be able to see ALL the devices associated with the one account at the same time. The other thing I'd like to see is a Remote Wipe and Destroy! What good is Remote Wiping my iPod touch if the thief can then just configure it as their NEW device once I wipe it? Wipe and Destroy would render the device useless until it was either sync'd with the last computer that it had been sync'd with or taken into an Apple Store to be cleared (not on the stolen list). Even without these last two features I find MobileMe and Find My iPhone a much better value than AT&T's Family Map feature.

 

Whatever you do, don't pay full price for MobileMe

I've been a MobileMe customer since day one and not once have I ever paid the full retail price for it. You can get any version of the retail packaging and use the code inside to renew your subscription. You can get the individual pack here for about $68 ($99 retail) and the Family Pack here for about $98 ($149 retail)