It’ll never happen to me! I’ll never leave my precious iPad behind. That’s what I always thought. That is until I lost my iPad twice in the last six months! Anytime we leave somewhere, I’m always the guy asking my wife, “do you have your iPad?” Of course, she’s never ended up leaving it anywhere, but I did. The worst was when we were in New Zealand after an International Convention. I left my iPad in our rental car when turning it in. Not realizing it until we were going through security in the airport, I figured it was gone forever. On boarding the plane I received an email from the rental company telling me they found my iPad and would return it to me by airmail. I couldn’t believe it! This experience impressed upon me the need to put into place some precautionary measures. I did so, and want to share them with you. The following items are things you can do today to prevent your iPad or iPhone from being lost forever.
Use an Eye-Catching Case
Both times I left behind my iPad, it was housed in a black leather Apple Smart Case. I love the design of the Smart Case, and you’ll have a hard time finding a higher quality enclosure for your iPad. But I’ve learned my lesson with the color black. The problem is it’s so minimal that it blends into its surroundings (like the black back seat of my rental car mentioned above). Instead, I recommend getting a bright color case that you won’t have any problem seeing. I now have a red Apple Smart Case and love it.
Set Up Find My iPhone
Find My iPhone is a amazing tool built right into your iPhone. On iPad its called Find My iPad. It allows your device to be located if you misplace it. You’ll need to turn make sure its turned on in Settings->iCloud->Find My iPhone. Do this on each of your devices using the same iCloud account.
Next install the Find My iPhone app on all your devices (below). Login to the app with the same iCloud account and you’ll be able to see where all your devices are in real-time. You can also see your devices by logging into iCloud.com on any internet browser. Now you’ll be able to interact with your lost iPhone or iPad. You can have it play a loud alert sound even when the device is set to silent. This will help you locate it if it’s nearby. If it’s not nearby, you might want to enable Lost Mode. This will lock the device and let you send a message to it with your contact details. In Lost Mode, no other notifications will appear. As a last resort, you can erase the device so that it can’t be used at all.
Remember, Find My iPhone will only locate your lost device if it still has an internet connection. What can be done if it doesn’t?
Add Contact Info to your Lock Screen
If your lost device doesn’t have an internet connection, Find My iPhone will be useless for you. But there are other ways to let people know you own the device. For example, your Lock Screen doesn’t have to just be a place for pretty wallpaper. You can also use it to display your contact information in the event that you lose your iPhone or iPad. There are a few apps that let you do this, but the best one I’ve found is called If Found Lock Screen. The app lets you choose an image from your Photos app and then any text you’d like on top of it. It’s very simple to let anyone who finds your iPhone or iPad see that you’re the owner.
Unfortunately, if your iPhone received any notifications since you lost it, these will be displayed on the Lock Screen and blur out the wallpaper. That’s why we also recommend the following step.
Add a Contact Widget to your Today Screen
Here is another precaution you can take in case your lost device doesn’t have an internet connection. Place your contact information in your Today Screen using a widget. You can learn more about how widgets work here, but basically they’re snippets of information that can be accessed by swiping down from the top of your screen and tapping Today. There are a few widgets specifically made for adding your contact info to the Today Screen. Lost & Found Widget is an easy one that lets you enter any text and have it displayed on your Today Screen. This will then be available on your Lock Screen if anyone swipes down from the top.
OK so how about if your iPhone is lost, has no internet connection, and the battery is dead?
Add a Contact Sticker to the back of your Device
This is a last ditch effort to prevent your iPhone or iPad from being lost forever. But it’s a tried-and-true way to let anyone who finds it know who you are. Print out your contact info on a sticker and place it on the back of your device. Then put your bright eye-catching case back on. If anyone removes the case, they’ll see who the iPhone or iPad belongs to.
I hope you never have the experience of losing your Apple device like I did. But now is the time to prepare for it! Take the steps above today and your future-self will thank you for it. And if you have any other suggestions, let us know in the comments below.