How Accurate Is The Find My iPhone App?

Last Updated
April 1, 2024
How Accurate Is The Find My iPhone App?

If you have ever been in such a situation, where you urgently needed to find your lost iPhone, then you are on the right page. Apple’s ‘Find My iPhone’ feature is a lifesaver. However, many people have doubts regarding it.

This feature works best when the device is connected to Wi-Fi. Moreover, the GPS signal also needs to be strong. People simply lose their phones which is causing them to buy again. Between 2011 and 2019, 52 million iPhones were bought in the UK. Apple’s market share was around 36.9% in 2019. 

So, what does the ‘Find my iPhone app’ do? It shows the exact location of your missing device, whilst using a combination of services like location services, GPS, and cellular towers. The app will show you a green dot, for the phone’s location. 

You can also get the phone’s location, even if you are offline, through cell tower triangulation. So, let us delve into the accuracy levels of the app and answer the burning question, ‘How accurate is the Find My iPhone App’.

How Does It Get the Location Of The Lost Device?

It mainly uses GPS signals, Wi-Fi networks, and cell tower signals to locate the phone. Apple has this innovative technology gathers and combines all the available data from the nearby cell towers, GPS, and Wi-Fi. 

The app delivers the location in the form of a green dot. If you have strong Bluetooth signals, it further enhances the search and rescue operation. The ‘Find my iPhone app’ is a very valuable tracking tool for other iPhone devices as well, like iPod, and Apple watches. 

How Accurate Is The App When The Phone Is Off?

While it is true that the app can help you locate your lost iPhone, there may be some loopholes. If the phone is switched off, the case may be different. When your iPhone is switched off, or in sleep mode, it will not be able to connect to cell towers, or Wi-Fi, or GPS. These are absolutely essential for precise location tracking. However, there is still a ray of hope. Apple has offline finding features that can help at times. It does so by leveraging the power of nearby Apple devices, which have Bluetooth on. They can help you with the last location of your Apple device. This may not be correct all the time, but there are chances that you may be able to get a fair idea. 

Secondly, your iPhone should have the iOS 13 version. Additionally, the feature ‘Find My’ must be activated on your phone, and you should also be signed in to iCloud and iCloud backup features. Moreover, you must have an active data plan. It is absolutely important for you to note that, in the above cases, you will only get the last location, and that too within seven days. 

Decoding How The App Works 

Apple has always stayed a step ahead in the competitive smartphone market, and with this, the hold remains. The app happens to be very precise, using a combination of GPS, cellular data, and Wi-Fi. You can choose a variety of options to find your iPhone faster. 

Some of the features are listed here. 

  • You can see the location of the device on the map. 
  • Play some sound on the device. 
  • Stop playing the sound. 
  • You can get some directions from the phone as well. 
  • You can also use it to wake up someone, even when their iPhone is silent. 

Apple had introduced this feature way back in 2010. And it has been performing well till now. However, most onlookers will ask that one burning question. And that is regarding its accuracy.

What Is The Green Signal in The App?

The green signal represents the estimated location of your device. It does so by harnessing the power of Wi-Fi, cellular data, and other networks. Although, it may not be exact, but nearly so. It acts as a compass. 

Factors That Impact The Accuracy Of The ‘Find My’ App

  • GPS Signal – When your iPhone’s GPS has strong signals, it can work more accurately. However, if the signal happens to be weak, or does not have any signal at all, the accuracy levels may go down. 
  • Availability of Cellular Data and Wi-Fi – The app also uses Wi-Fi spots to find out your phone. If the phone is in an area with few towers, it may make the app work harder, but without satisfactory results. 
  • Bluetooth Signal – Apple also assists in connecting to Bluetooth. However, the feature has to be enabled beforehand. Your iPhone can also connect to nearby Apple devices if the internet is unavailable. They transmit the location.  
  • Battery Levels – If your iPhone’s battery levels are low, then it may not be able to show the location properly. 

By understanding how this mechanism works, you can also optimize it. Learn that in the upcoming part of the blog. 

How Can You Enhance The Accuracy Of The App?

You can make use of the following to enhance the accuracy of the app. 

Enable ‘Precise Location’ in The App

By enabling this option, you allow the iPhone to use GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular data to show the device’s location. 

Go to - Settings - Privacy. Click ‘Location Services’ and select ‘Find My iPhone’. Click on the ‘Precise Location’ option.

Connect To The Internet 

You have to enable the internet connection on your device. Otherwise, it will not show the location correctly. Wi-Fi and cellular data are both desirable. 

Battery Should Be Charged 

If the battery does not have charge you may not be able to see the location. Accuracy may also go down. 

Update The Software 

Apple releases software updates every now and then. It helps in enhancing device performance. Updating the same will increase the accuracy of the app. 

Set The Correct Date and Time

You should always ensure to set the correct date and time. It helps your device to sync with the app properly. Moreover, you can easily find the device, if lost. 

Enable ‘ Send Last Location’

If this feature is enabled, things become easy for both the phone and you. It can send its location, right before the battery dies. 

Setting Up The App

You can set up the app in a few easy steps. They are right here:

  • Open the ‘settings’ on your iPhone. 
  • Tap on your saved name at the top of the app screen.
  • Select ‘Find My’ option.
  • Click on ‘Find My iPhone’.
  • Toggle the switch to green.

If you take some time out to set up the app, it can save you from dismay. 

Can You Locate Your iPhone Without The Find My App?

Yes, you can also locate your iPhone without the app. You can use iCloud to track the location. Additionally, you can also use a third-party app like Life360. iCloud basically keeps a list of Apple devices connected to it. You can find out the app to get the last location when it is connected to the server. The third-party apps use GPS technology to track the device's location. 

Finally…

So, now you know how you can track your iPhone, with or without the ‘Find My iPhone App’. There are many other ways, as well, which you can utilize. So, if you have not loaded it already, do so now.