Software & Apps

How Accurate Is Find My iPhone?

Find My Iphone

The Find My app is a useful tool on Apple devices that helps to locate an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods when misplaced. The Find My app has an update and the original version. The updated version is only available on iOS 13 or later and macOS Catalina or later, while the original version is available on iOS 12 or earlier and macOS Mojave. But how accurate is the Find My iPhone app? 

Quick Answer

Find My iPhone is very accurate. Since it relies on the GPS on your iPhone, the GPS signal at the time can influence its accuracy. However, Find My iPhone can be accurate up to 3 meters.  

Apart from using the location service (GPS) on your iPhone, the Find My app also uses Wi-Fi hotspots, internet connection, cell sites, and Bluetooth to pinpoint the exact location of your device. So, the ability of the Find My app to accurately locate your device depends on the factors mentioned earlier.

This article will explain more about the Find My app. 

How Does the Find My App Accurately Predict Your iPhone’s Location? 

The Find My app is a helpful tool for finding your misplaced device. It can accurately locate your device by sending its accurate position to your iCloud, and you can also use it to play a sound on it so you can easily locate it. The Find My app can achieve this by combining a group of features. 

In this section, we will look at the features the Find My app uses to predict your iPhone location. 

Method #1: Using GPS 

GPS, or the Global Positioning System, is one of the essential things the Find My app uses to pinpoint your iPhone location. The GPS accuracy on an iPhone is impeccable. It can predict the location of your device up to 10 meters from its actual position when it does not have access to the internet, which is pretty impressive. If the GPS can access the internet, it can predict the location of your iPhone with an accuracy of up to 3 meters

Method #2: Using Cell Towers 

Another way the Find My app can locate your iPhone accurately is with cell towers. The Find My app can pinpoint your iPhone’s exact location by triangulating it using signals from the closest cell tower. This method is the same way an emergency call center pinpoints the location of a distress call. For this to work, you don’t need internet access.

Method #3: Using Wi-Fi 

The Find My app can also increase the accuracy of your iPhone’s actual location by using the Wi-Fi hotspot on your device. It connects the Wi-Fi hotspot on your iPhone to the closest Wi-Fi. This method is similar to cell tower triangulation. This method works even if you are not connected to the Wi-Fi network. And because the Wi-Fi network of each router is mapped, it makes it easy for Find My iPhone to predict your iPhone’s actual location up to 2 to 4 meters

Quick Trivia

Interestingly, when your battery is low or shut down, the Find My app on your iPhone will still work and periodically (every 15 minutes) power up and send a distress message of its current location to your iCloud. It does not use much battery, so it can keep doing this for days, and the device will not fully boot up, meaning the display will not turn on.

How To Improve the Accuracy of the Find My iPhone App

While the Find My iPhone app is accurate, you can use some tricks to improve its accuracy. In this section, we will look at a few things you can do further to improve the accuracy of the Find My iPhone. 

Step #1: Enable Location Service 

Enabling your iPhone location service is a great way to improve the GPS. It gives apps on your device access to the location services on your iPhone, including the Find My app. Since you never know when you may misplace your iPhone, you should keep this feature activated. Although it may drain your battery a little bit faster, it is worth the extra loss of battery at the end of the day. 

Step #2: Ensure Your Time Zone, Time, and Date Are Set Automatically 

The GPS and other location services on your iPhone can work accurately when the time and date on your iPhone are set correctly. So, turning the “Set time and date to automatic” feature would be best. Doing this eliminates the error of having a time or date that is a few minutes behind or ahead. 

Step #3: Update Your iOS to the Latest Version 

Finally, if there is an update for the version of iOS that you are using, then you should update it. Doing so reduces the chance of a bug causing the location service or GPS not to work properly. Updating your iOS to the latest version will also help with speed and fix several issues on your device. 

Conclusion 

Using Find My iPhone is a valuable feature that helps you locate your iPhone when you misplace it. The Find My app can do more than find your iPhone; you can also use it to erase data on your iPhone if you realize there is no way of getting your device back. You can even use the Find My app to automatically turn on Activation Lock on the iPhone, which will require you to use your Apple ID and password to disable it. 

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