How To Setup And Use Find My iPad

Way back before iOS 4.2 there was a really great feature that subscribers to Apple’s MobileMe service enjoyed.  As part of the service you could locate your lost iPhone by having it show up on a map from within MobileMe.  Things have changed and here is how you can now use this great service to not only find a lost iPad, but for free.

Find My iPad For Free

Find My iPadAs long as you are running iOS 4.2 on your iPad then you can now enjoy the benefit of finding your lost device for free.  And we are going to show you how to do it.

Once you download and launch the Find My iPad app, you can sign in to locate your missing iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch on a map and have it display a message or play a sound. You can even remotely lock the device, or wipe it to permanently delete all of your data if you think that it won’t be returned.

Note:  For added security, the app will automatically sign you out after 15 minutes or you can manually sign out at any time.


• Locate your iPhone or iPad on a map
• Display a message and optionally play a sound for two minutes at full volume (even if your device is set to silent)
• Remotely set a passcode lock on your device, or lock it using your existing passcode
• Remotely wipe your device to permanently erase all of your personal data

How To Setup Find My iPad

find-my-ipadPlease note that you must first set up and turn on Find My iPhone on each device you want to locate. Here are the steps to get Find My iPad working.

  1. Tap the Settings icon and choose Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  2. Tap the Add Account button and select MobileMe.
  3. Enter your Apple ID and password.  If you have an iTunes Store account or have ordered from the Apple Online Store, you already have an Apple ID.  If you don’t have an Apple ID, tap Create Free Apple ID and follow the onscreen instructions.  If you’re already a MobileMe subscriber, enter your or email address and password.
  4. Verify your account.  If your MobileMe account says “Not Verified,” check your email inbox for a message from Apple. Click Verify Now and sign in with your Apple ID.  If you don’t see a verification email in your inbox, select your MobileMe account and tap Resend Verification Email.
  5. Return to the MobileMe screen and switch on Find My iPad.  When the Find My iPad message appears, tap Allow.
  6. Sign in to from a computer to see your iPad on a map, display a message, or set a passcode lock.

Once you have done the following steps, you can get the Find My iPhone app which will also work on your iPad.  You do not need the app for the Find My iPad service to work but it is added convenience if you choose to use it.  The app is free and can be downloaded by clicking here.

That is how to setup and use the new Find My iPad feature in iOS 4.2.  It should go without saying that this will only work on iPad’s that can be located that have their location services turned on.  And if your iPad does not have the 3G service turned on and there is no WiFi then it would not be able to be located.


  1. Just tested this on the iPhone and found it amazing! I was wondering would this work if the iPhone/iPad was turned off?

    1. Shane says:

      Hi Dale!

      The device can be asleep, as in when you let it turn itself off or when you press the top “off” button and it will still work. This is because its essentially in standby.

      But it would not work if you have shut it down by holding the home button and the on/off button and then swiping the red slider to shut it off.

  2. Carol says:

    Hi Shane,
    What a great feature! I have tested it out, while my iPad was upstairs, I used my computer downstairs, to locate it, worked great! Hope I never have to use it, in the real world.
    I tried the same test with both my WiFi and 3G, turned off, it didn’t find it, so my question is, if you miss place your iPad, where there is no WiFi and 3G is off, will it find your device? And is there a difference from turning WiFi and 3G off completely or having WiFi on just no WiFi signal in the location where no missed placed your device? Does that make sense?


    1. Shane says:

      Hi Carol,
      All excellent Questions! So the way it works is that it needs to have some form of signal to be located – that being WiFi (which is not 100% accurate) or 3G. If the iPad is just in standby then it’s fine. If it is completely shut off, it will not find it. And if it were lost and there was no wifi or 3g, then yeah, it would not be able to locate it. It’s rare these days that there is no signal at all, but, it does happen! And I do believe it will also work on Edge as well.

  3. Carol says:

    So it would be in my best interest, to keep 3G, on, even if it uses battery power? I live outside Columbus, Ohio, there are hot spots around the city and in some restaurants, but out in the country,???, most people have the wireless locked.

    1. Shane says:

      For me, I have the same situation actually – and what I do is when I am traveling where I could “potentially” lose it, I do leave the 3G on – but – I only do this rarely. I think the line of thinking here is that most people would recognize very quickly they lost it and try to find it.

      I am going to find out one thing, however. If the Wifi is on and there are access points, could it find the iPad even if it was not connected to the access point? I feel it could because as long as you can “see” it then it should be able to locate it.

      1. Carol says:

        I agree, if you leave it some where, you are going to know, very quickly!

        I to am wondering about the access points!

        Please post the results.


      2. Eric Bjerke says:

        Just commenting so I will be notified if you find the answer to the access point question.

  4. Robert L. says:

    I believe you are correct Shane about being able to see an iPad without it being directly connected to a nearby wireless signal. I have yet to test this but apple even goes so far as to say nearby “registered wifi networks”.

    Now if you live out in the country you get poor results but in a more populated area with closer access points and wifi signals they can be pretty darn close

    On another point I have used this feature many times for my iPhone and iPad. There have been times I simply misplaced it around the house and I simply went online and sent a message to it with a sound… Then I just follow the sound. It has come in handy. It has also helped me narrow down if my iPad/iPhone is in my car or house. If I can’t hear the sound but the location is my house I know I left it in the car. Yes, a little lazy but not on cold days. LOL

    1. Shane says:

      I kind of thought so because wireless networks are able to be picked up and seen without “logging in”. The authentication is for accessing the web but it still knows your device is there!

  5. David says:

    Please help is there any way i could set my own sound when locating iPad? Because i live in a house and it’s realy hard to hear the normal iPad’s sound….

    Please hurry with the answer

    1. Shane says:

      Hi David….I have never heard of a way to change that sound…I think it’s pretty much stuck on one single sound.

  6. hydz says:

    Hi, My Ipad has been stolen can’t locate it. It has a passcode so I think the one who got it can’t get through because of the passcode. Can I still find it without the Ipad logging in? Or can I still locate it if it’s already locked?

  7. […] Find My iPad Setup And Use | TCGeeks – This walkthrough shows you how to setup the find my ipad … as in when you let it turn itself off or when you press the top “off” button and it will still work…. […]

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