Find My Says Offline What Does It Mean? Can I Still Find My iPhone?

Learn about your options when Apple's Find My service shows the "Offline" status for your missing iPhone.

By Moses Johnson - Editor
5 Min Read
  • The "Offline" status in Find My means your iPhone can’t communicate with Apple’s Find My feature to provide its location.
  • You may experience this when your iPhone’s battery is dead or hasn’t connected to the internet in over 24 hours.
  • To find your missing iPhone that’s offline, someone else should pick it up, power it back on, and connect it to the internet first.

Apple’s Find My feature makes it easy to find a lost device. But what do you do if Find My says Offline, No location found, No location available or Location Services Off? Fortunately, it’s still possible to locate your lost iPhone even though it is offline in Find My.

What does it mean when Find My says Offline?

When you are looking at Find My, either through iCloud web page or using the Find My app on another Apple device, and your iPhone shows as Offline, this means that your iPhone is unable to communicate with Find My, and as a result, cannot provide you with its location. But why is this so?

iCloud Find Devices showing two iPhones that are offline  

Why Find My says Offline

Here are some of the reasons Find My may say Offline:

  • Your iPhone is turned off or it’s battery is dead.
  • The device has a weak internet connection.
  • Your device is in a country/region without Find My support.
  • The device is not connected to the internet.
  • Your device’s date and time settings are incorrect.
  • You enabled Airplane Mode on your device before you lost it.
  • The SIM card may have been removed from the device, cutting off cell signals.

Can I still find my iPhone?

If your iPhone says Offline in Find My and you still have your phone with you, there are things you should do to make sure Find My will be able to help you locate your iPhone in case you lose it in the future.

If you don’t still have your iPhone, there are a few things you can try to locate it.

What to do when Find My says Offline (and you know where your iPhone is)

  • Make sure that your iPhone is running the latest version of iOS. Head to Settings > General > Software Update to do this.
  • Make sure Location Services is turned on. Head to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services.
  • Share the device location with Find My. Head to Settings and tap on your name at the top of the screen. Next, tap Find My > Find My iPhone. Make sure that the switch next to Find My iPhone is on, and while you’re there, make sure the switches next to Find My network and Send Last Location are on as well.
  • Turn off Airplane Mode.
  • Make sure the date and time are set correctly. Head to Settings > General > Date & Time.
  • If possible, connect your device to a more stable Wi-Fi or cellular data network.
  • Make sure Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled on your device. Head to Settings > Bluetooth and Settings > Wi-Fi.

How to locate your offline iPhone

  • Ask your friends, family members, or coworkers if they saw your iPhone somewhere. If you’re lucky enough, that’ll do the trick. If not, try the other options on the list.
  • If you were inside a business when you last saw your iPhone, you can ask the owner or workers there if they’ve seen it.
  • If you have another phone with you or borrow a phone from your friends or family, you can try calling your phone number and hear the vibration or ringtone. If your iPhone is nearby, you should be able to listen to it and find it pretty quickly.
  • If you don’t have another phone with you but you have an Apple Watch, you can use the ping button in the control center to locate your iPhone.
  • Another nifty way to find your lost iPhone is to see where you’ve been with the Google Maps Timeline feature. With so much reliance on our phones for commuting and finding directions, there is a great chance that Google Maps has a detailed history of where your phone has been—as long as you’ve enabled Location History in Google Maps on your device. Remember that location history is disabled by default, so you must have enabled it before to get the timeline view.
  • Contact your mobile service provider. If you know your phone’s IMEI number or serial number (which you can find on your iPhone’s packaging), your carrier may be able to trace its position.
  • If you lost your iPhone, it’s possible that someone was kind enough to hand it to the authorities. You can easily ask the police and ask if they have your iPhone. If not, you can still report you lost your iPhone.

When you open the Find My app on another Apple device or go to the iCloud Find Devices page, you’ll see a couple of options when you select your offline iPhone. If you’re using the Find My app on a Mac, Control-click your iPhone or click the Info (i) button next to the iPhone on the map to access the same options.

You will see the battery level of the lost iPhone, but this isn’t something to be overly concerned about. You may also see its last known location. If you see the Directions option, click it to get a route to this location. If you don’t have this option, it means your iPhone isn’t sending its last known location. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else.

While it may seem futile, click Play Sound first. Sometimes, this can re-establish a connection with the lost iPhone; you’ll know it worked when "Offline" is replaced by "Now." Once this happens, you should be able to see your iPhone’s location again.

If your iPhone is powered off or isn’t connected to the internet, you’ll see "Pending" when you click Play Sound. Your iPhone will only play the alert when someone turns it on and connects to the internet. In such cases, you can toggle on Notify When Found to be notified the moment your iPhone goes back online.

What to do if you can’t locate your iPhone

Turn on Lost Mode

If you still can’t find your iPhone, turn on Lost Mode. The Lost Mode option on Find My suspends Apple Pay and locks your device. And if your missing iPhone doesn’t have a passcode set, you’ll be prompted to create one.

You can also use Lost Mode to display a message on the screen telling whoever finds it that this device belongs to you, along with details on how to reach you. Your device will still receive phone calls in Lost Mode, but it won’t display any alerts.

To enable Lost Mode, select your device in Find My and hit Activate under the Mark As Lost option. Then, follow the prompts to create a passcode (if you don’t already have one) and write a message for people to see when they find your iPhone. Then, choose Activate.

Lost Mode keeps your data intact. You won’t lose anything if you recover your iPhone and disable Lost Mode with your passcode.

Erase your iPhone in Find My

You can also erase your iPhone remotely — which deletes all of your information (including credit and debit cards in your Apple Wallet).
Before your erase your device, make sure that you’ve tried everything else. Erasing your device can’t be undone.

  • Open the Find My app, then choose Devices.
  • Select your lost iPhone.
  • Scroll down and choose Erase This Device.
  • Select Erase This iPhone.

If you erase a device that’s running iOS 15 or later, or iPadOS 15 or later, you can still use Find My to find the device. Otherwise, you won’t be able to find your device after you erase it.

Contact your carrier

If you’re still unable to recover your lost iPhone, contact your carrier and explain that your phone has been lost or stolen. The carrier will flag your device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity number and, in most cases, will prevent that number from working on the network, rendering the device useless to whoever has it.

Please note, if you have your service suspended you’ll reduce the odds of tracking the phone unless it’s connected to a known Wi-Fi network or another member of the Find My network happens to be nearby. Suspending service is something you should only do after you’re sure you can’t recover the phone.

File a claim with Apple

If your missing iPhone is covered by AppleCare with Theft and Loss, file a claim for your lost or stolen device. To begin the process for a phone that has AppleCare Plus with Theft and Loss covered, use Apple website. Filing a claim will erase your iPhone and prevent anyone else from being able to use it. Should you find your phone after filing a claim, you can cancel it. But you’ll need to set up your iPhone as new.

Note: you should not remove the lost iPhone from Find My or your Apple ID until your claim has been fully approved.

TAGGED:
Share This Article
By Moses Johnson Editor
Follow:
Moses Johnson is the Editorial Director of GeeksChalk.com, who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. Moses is commonly referred to online as The Professor, with decades of experience in tech under his belt.
Leave a comment