using restrictions to keep tabs on your iphone/ ipad/ ipod touch

25 Oct

I appreciate Apple for thinking of us iPhone/iPad owners when they created the Find my iPhone/iPad app and more recently built it right into the operating system with iOS5. I’ve never lost either of these products so I’ve never had to use the functions but I think they would be pretty handy should your device go missing.

Using Find my iPhone/iPad, you can find your device on a map, send it a message, play a sound (even if it’s on silent), conduct a remote wipe of your phone and set a passcode remotely. See the Apple website for a more detailed description.

This is all great as long as you have the app installed and have restricted settings on it. Let’s say, someone stole your iPhone while you were at a concert. You didn’t realize they took it until the concert was over and you are frantically looking for your phone. During that time, that person could have turned on your phone (if you didn’t have a passcode) and simply deleted the Find my iPhone app (iOS 4) OR turned it off in General settings through iCloud or Location Services. Once that is done, your device is off the grid. I feel like a character from Tron when I say “off the grid.” Anyways…

I tested  this today with my iPhone (iOS 5). I went to Settings > iCloud > Find my iPhone = Off. I went to (see my post about the site here), signed in, and I could see the location of my Macbook and iPad but the iPhone wasn’t even listed on the site.

——- End of Line. Ok, no more Tron references.

To prevent unauthorized disabling of Find my iPhone/iPad and Location Services, do the following steps:

1.  Go to Settings > iCloud. Make sure Find my iPhone/iPad is on (notice how easy it is to turn it off?) and then go back to Settings > General > Restrictions

2. Enter your passcode or create a new passcode (make it different from your unlock code – just in case).

3. Once in, press “Enable Restrictions” (you might as well turn off Ping while you’re here and save some battery unless you actually use it).  Find “Location” and scroll down the bottom. Make sure Find my iPhone/iPad is “on” and then scroll up and select “Don’t allow changes.” Note that you will be unable to make changes to the apps listed below but since it’s your phone you can always edit restrictions later on.  Just don’t forget the code because I don’t know what happens or what to do and I don’t really want to find out.

4. Once you select “Don’t allow changes,” you will be brought up a level and will see a lock icon beside “Location.”

5. Go to Settings> iCloud and you won’t be able to turn off Find my iPhone/iPad. The same will be true for all apps under Location Services. You can always go back into restrictions and make changes to individual apps.

Now you can log-in to iCloud with your Apple ID to find, message, play a sound, or remote wipe your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch!

Update: November 11, 2011. By restricting locations, you will be unable to create Reminders that remind  you when you leave or arrive at a location. It’s weird how Restriction blocks Reminders even if you allow Reminders to access your location. So if you want to create these location-based reminders, you will have to “allow changes” and then turn it back on. If Apple fixes this, I will report back!

Update: November 30, 2011. A friend asked, well what if the person who took your phone just takes out your Sim card? I just tested this by taking out my sim and re-starting. I did not do a restore or wipe because I want my stuff still. Taking out the sim card didn’t change anything. I was still able to locate my phone using wifi networks. However, the iCloud mapping system was down in general but the phone still showed up on the screen along with my other Apple products.


2 Responses to “using restrictions to keep tabs on your iphone/ ipad/ ipod touch”

  1. Nathan Hsu October 26, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    I’ve never put the two together. Restrictions + Location Services. Thanks. Makes so much more sense now.


  1. in case you missed it… « 1 : 24 - October 29, 2011

    […] Enabling restrictions to keep tabs on your iphone/ipad/ipod touch […]

share with me

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s