Find My iPhone – now FREE!

If you’ve ever lost your iPhone, you probably shudder at the memory. Your iPhone was expensive enough when you purchased it the first time — now, it will cost several hundred more dollars to replace. And that’s not even counting the potential risk of losing your contacts, your email, and so on.

Apple’s MobileMe service has offered a solution called “Find My iPhone” for quite awhile now, but it’s part of a $99 annual subscription. Now, with the new iOS 4.2 operating system update, iPhone 4 users can utilize this service for FREE.

I can’t stress enough how wonderful this service is. When Sal accidentally dropped his iPhone at Universal Studios while sitting in a show, it promptly vanished under his seat and was scooped up by someone within four minutes of the show ending. We know this because we noticed it was missing four minutes after the show ended, and immediately went back in — no luck, it was gone, and after checking with Lost & Found for two weeks we finally gave up.

Replacing his iPhone was expensive, and yes, he had a ton of sensitive information on the lost one. It inspired me right then and there to sign up for MobileMe to safeguard my information and to help find my iPhone if I ever lost it. And when my neighbor lost her iPhone a few months later, and was able to find it (and the thief that stole it) that same evening using the service, it reinforced to me what a great tool “Find My iPhone” can be.

The service lets you immediately locate the phone using GPS, even showing you on a map where the device is, and gives you the option of remotely “locking” the iPhone with a passcode to prevent people from accessing its contents. You can even send a “remote wipe” command to erase all data on the iPhone and render it useless until synced again.

And if the thieves have turned your iPhone off to prevent any of this from happening, the remote lock and/or wipe will kick in immediately the next time the device is turned on.

iPhone users, if you haven’t subscribed to MobileMe for this outstanding service — and the nifty functionality of having all of your contacts, emails, calendar appointments, etc. wirelessly syncing without requiring you to plug in to your computer — I encourage you to consider it. For $99 a year, it’s pretty damned awesome.

If you don’t want to spend the money though, and you already have an iPhone 4, you absolutely must sign up for the free “Fine My iPhone” service immediately. It will just take a few minutes of your time, after you have updated to the new iPhone operating system (for free) on your next sync, and it could save you a tremendous amount of time and money.

There’s a great video on the Apple iOS webpage that shows in detail how the service works. Here’s the video on someone’s YouTube page:

Click here for step-by-step instructions on setting up the “Find My iPhone” service on your iPhone 4. Trust me – you will absolutely be relieved that you did, and will never forgive yourself if you don’t do it and end up losing your iPhone.

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