You frantically pat your pockets or dig through your purse, as the realization sets in like a lead balloon in your stomach: You’ve misplaced your iPhone. Fortunately, Apple’s free Find My iPhone app can help settle your digestion by making it easy to find out where you lost your phone.
As the app’s name suggests, it’s good for precisely one thing: finding your iPhone (or your iPod touch or your iPad). If you’ve set up Apple’s service for locating your device—and really, if you haven’t, why not?—then it’s a breeze to enter your username and password, tap your device, and find it on a map.
Like the service’s Web interface, you can use the Find My iPhone app to send a message to your lost phone, play a sound (so that you can find it where it slipped behind the couch cushions), remotely lock your device with a passcode, or erase the whole thing so nobody gets their hands on your data. As you’d expect from Apple, all this functionality is presented in a straightforward fashion that makes the app simple and intuitive to navigate.
If there’s one thing missing from the program, it’s that the app will display your device on a map, but it doesn’t offer any way to plot a route there, or otherwise save or export the location. Better integration with iOS’s built-in Maps app would be welcome.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to fire up Find My iPhone for anything other than a tech demo for curious friends, but if you do, then you’ll find it does its job with aplomb.
[Dan Moren is a Macworld senior associate editor.]