Most of us are familiar with the process of tracing the location of a misplaced or stolen mobile phone. Apple has “Find My iPhone” and Android has “Find My Device,” both showing you the live location of a device. But do they work as well if my phone is turned off?
Unfortunately, these tracking mechanisms typically only work if the device is turned on because they rely on mobile signal or WiFi connectivity. That means you have a limited amount of time to trace a device before the battery drains or the thief switches it off.
Once that happens, you’ll only receive the phone’s last known location and then have to play detective. You can also choose to be notified when the phone is powered on again and to remotely lock and wipe it so no one else can get access to your personal information.
But recent updates mean you can track some mobile phones even if they’re switched off. However, the service is only available on recent iPhone models with up-to-date software.
Apple’s iOS 15 software, available for the iPhone 11, 12, and 13 (Mini, Pro, and Pro Max models), allows you to locate the phone even after it’s been turned off or its battery has died. To locate a switched off phone, you use the Find My app on a Mac or another iPhone, just as you would to locate a phone that's powered on. You can also navigate to iCloud.com/find on any browser and enter your Apple ID.
Unfortunately, if you have an Android device, it still has to be switched on for you to zero in on its location.