How to Find a Lost iPhone Offline

By | December 24, 2021

What It Means When Finding My iPhone Is Offline and How To Find It

If you lose your iPhone or iPad, how can you find your device? If you have the foresight to enable Find My iPhone, you should be able to find your smartphone easily. However, after logging in, you see a problem: Find My iPhone is offline.

What does “Offline” mean in Find My iPhone? How can you still find your device? And if it’s been stolen, how do you stop others from accessing your personal data? We’ll walk you through it.

How to Enable Find My iPhone (Find My iPhone)

So what exactly is Find My iPhone? As you might expect, this is a feature that helps you find your device if it is lost. It doesn’t matter if you lost it while traveling, or if you still think it’s somewhere in the house. Turning on Find My iPhone means you can sign in to your Apple ID on your PC or tablet and find your device on a map.

You can also use it to remotely lock your phone, erase all content (if you think it can’t be fixed), or play a sound to direct you there.

All you need to do is open Settings, then tap your name at the top. Next, open iCloud > Find My iPhone. (We’ll come back to why this screen has additional meaning if your phone reads Offline.)

You need to make sure this setting is turned on. It’s not possible to activate it remotely, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s a wise idea to be prepared for the worst but hope you never need to.

What does “Offline” Mean in Find My iPhone

To place your smartphone in Find My iPhone, you need to sign in to your iCloud account using another device. There have been many iterations of the Find My app, including Find My iPad and Find My Apple Watch. All this using iCloud.

If it’s working properly, you’ll see an icon on the map to show you where your lost device is. However, in some cases, it reads “Offline”. It can also say “No location available” or “Location Services Off”.

There are several reasons for this, but they all mean the same thing: Your iPhone can’t check in to Find My iPhone. It has no access to Wi-Fi or cellular data.

Why is your iPhone offline? The most likely reason is that the battery is dead. You can also turn it off. Either way, if your phone has no power, Find My iPhone won’t give you its whereabouts.

This app will only work if your device is connected to iCloud, of course, and signed in to your Apple ID. To enable the feature in the first place, you’re already into this. However, it is possible to turn both off, disconnecting from Find My iPhone.

Your device may also have Airplane Mode on. We’ve already explained how Airplane Mode works on your iPhone in case you’re not sure. Basically, it cuts off all wireless signals like Wi-Fi and cellular data.

If your smartphone is stolen, the thief may have removed the SIM card. This disconnects it from the mobile internet, making it more difficult but not impossible to track.

There is also a small chance that your iPhone has been lost in a country without Find My iPhone. This is because the feature needs to access maps and Apple doesn’t have that capability in some areas.

How to Find an Offline iPhone

When you open Find My iPhone, you will see three options. Though it may seem pointless, click Play Sound first. It doesn’t seem like this will work, especially when your iPhone is showing as Offline. However, you will be surprised to find your smartphone in this way. (We’ll return to the other two options on this screen. You’ll need to look at the other methods before using either one.)

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The main way to find your device, again, is by preparing ahead of time. When setting up your device, you need to navigate to Settings, choose your name, then go to iCloud > Find My iPhone > Send Last Location. It sends your device’s location data to Apple when the battery is low or its last location online.

This is your best chance of retrieving your device, but it won’t help if someone moves it to another location, or if its functionality is turned off.

If you use Google Maps on your phone, you may be able to track its location via Timeline Maps. You can see which apps are accessing your geographic data via Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

We recommend that you contact your cellular service provider. If you have a serial number or International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, your carrier may be able to track its position.

You can revisit where you were recently and hope you found your smartphone without the need for further technology. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait and keep your fingers crossed for someone to find and charge it. Keep going to Find My iPhone in case this does happen.

How to Protect Your Data If Your iPhone is Offline

Let’s assume that you still can’t find your device. You are afraid that someone has stolen it, or that anyone who finds it may access your personal information. What can you do to stop this from happening?

Even when Find My iPhone says “Offline”, you can still use some of its functions. Most notably, Activation Lock comes standard when using Find My iPhone. This means that no one can turn off Find My iPhone or wipe your phone data without your Apple ID.

Two further options are useful:

  • Lost Mode: It lets you lock your device remotely and presents a custom message on the screen. You must include a way of contacting you to return the smartphone. As an added layer of security, it disables Apple Pay. Plus, notifications won’t show up, so no one can peek at your activity. Once you get your device back, you can unlock it using only your passcode.
  • Erase iPhone: It should only be used in this dire situation it wipes all the data on your phone. This is the final step, not to be taken lightly. Try everything you can think of to find it again. If you take this path, you will have to restore your iPhone from a backup or you will unfortunately lose all your information.

This mode only activates once your iPhone is on and connected to the internet again.

Hope these tips help you find your iPhone, even if it says it’s offline. However, you may have to consider wiping your device if you really can’t find it.

Taking this option means you completely give up hope. In most cases, we think it’s better to use Lost Mode. It doesn’t matter if you lost your phone 24 hours ago or six months ago. If someone finds it and turns it on, they’ll be able to see your message and hopefully get it back to you. You may consider offering gifts as well.

The main advice for anyone who has lost their phone is not to panic. With today’s always-on world, hopefully someone will find it and get it back online.

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