Track your stuff, find your friends, and safely share your location
Version 2.0, updated September 28, 2023

Take Control of Find My and AirTags takes you inside Apple’s Find My ecosystem. Once solely a way to track where your iPhone was, now Find My encompasses so much more. You can follow people’s location (with permission) and share yours; find misplaced Apple and Beats audio hardware, even down to a single lost earbud; and track and share AirTags and third-party items attached to or in your bag, car, bike, and more.

Since the introduction of Find My iPhone over a decade ago, Apple has made it possible to Find My Nearly Everything. The current ecosystem encompasses people, Apple devices, and low-power, long-life trackers, with apps available for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and on iCloud.com. Take Control of Find My and AirTags takes you through the many parts of Find My so you can configure and refine how you and your stuff is tracked and shared.

The book looks at three different kinds of tracking:

  • People: Learn how to share your location safely, follow others who let you, and send and receive notifications about arrivals and departures.
  • Devices: Apple lets you track the whereabouts of your and Family Sharing group members’ iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Watch, and Apple and Beats audio hardware. Get to know the ins and outs of enabling Find My and taking remote actions, from playing a sound to wiping your data from a device.
  • Items: Find out how AirTags make use of the crowdsourced network of other people’s Apple devices to help you find a lost or forgotten purse, backpack, or even car, and about third-party devices licensing the technology from Apple. Learn how to share your items with up to five other people.

Also get to know the dangers of Find My stalking and how to identify the risk, deter unwanted tracking from happening, block it if you find it—and report it to law enforcement or get other help. And find out about a new industry effort, headlined by Apple and Google, to make trackers from all companies discoverable on Apple and Android phones, tablets, and computers.

The book also digs into how Family Sharing interacts with personal and device location sharing and finding, and how to help other people find their lost stuff if they don’t have one of their own Apple devices handy.

The book focuses on the latest Apple operating systems: iOS 17/iPadOS 17, macOS 14 Sonoma, and watchOS 10. However, it looks back to iOS 15/iPadOS 15 and macOS 13 Ventura for nearly every feature—and sometimes back even years before those releases—so you can best use your mix of Apple devices of all vintages.

Here’s more of what you can find in this book:

  • Start sharing AirTags and other items with up to five other people.
  • Find out the difference between device-based Find My tracking and the Find My network.
  • Figure out if your Apple or Beats audio hardware can be tracked just over Bluetooth nearby or via the Find My Network.
  • Lost a single earbud? Apple may have you covered by playing a sound out of it or providing nearly pinpoint tracking.
  • Experience the joy of playing a sound over the internet or nearby to help find a missing device or item.
  • See the place in Apple’s ecosystem for third-party Find My tracking from nearly a dozen companies that make bike, bag, and general stuff trackers, some with extra alarms
  • Control and monitor the way you let others track your whereabouts.
  • Get to know presence, the way you define which of your devices indicates where you are to other people.
  • Learn about the capability in iOS 15/iPadOS 15 and later to track an iPhone or iPad even after it’s been erased!
  • See how Messages in iOS 17/iPadOS 17 simplifies and improves location sharing and maps.
  • Dig into Apple’s efforts to prevent Find My from being used for stalking and unwanted tracking, and how to find out if someone’s trying to track you without your permission, including the new partnership with Google to block stalkers and harassers.
  • Discover buried controls for configuring exactly how Find My updates your device’s location, including when power runs low.
  • Your Apple Watch has three Find My apps you’ll get to know to use them effectively on the go.
  • Understand Activation Lock, which protects devices from being reused even if someone has erased them.
  • Help family members find lost and stolen gear through Find My’s Family Sharing support.

Table of Contents

  1. Read Me First
  2. Introduction
  3. Find My Quick Start
  4. Learn How Find My Works
  5. Deploy an AirTag or Accessory
  6. Enable Find My
  7. Share Your Location and See Others’ Locations
  8. View Locations
  9. Take Remote Action
  10. Mark Something as Lost
  11. Finding a Lost Device
  12. Understand Stalking via Tracking
  13. Erase Your Device
  14. About This Book
  15. Copyright and Fine Print