How to get free Find my iPhone on iPhone 3GS and other unsupported devices

How to get free Find my iPhone on iPhone 3GS and other unsupported devices

When Apple announced Find my iPhone was going free this morning they seemed to restrict it to 2010 hardware: iPhone 4, iPod touch 4, and iPad, but now it looks like there may be a way to get it working on iPhone 3GS and other unsupported devices. In fact, Apple.com tells you how:

Create a free Find My iPhone account on any iPhone 4, iPad, or iPod touch (4th generation) running iOS 4.2. Once you create an account on a qualifying device, use your Apple ID and password to enable Find My iPhone on your other devices running iOS 4.2. Find My iPhone is not available in all countries.

[Find my iPhone page via @jsnell]

Georgia

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, hosts the ZEN & TECH podcast, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Prime.

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How to get free Find my iPhone on iPhone 3GS and other unsupported devices

70 Comments

Really odd. Why do you need to create on an iPhone 4 or iPad and WHY does Apple tell you how to get around this?

Noticed that too, but can't figure out why you'd need to set it up from a 2010 device. Seems arbitrary if you're able to run the service on earlier devices.

I wonder if it's just poorly worded, and really means that once you set it up you can activate it on any OTHER iPhone 4, iPad, or iPod Touch 4th gen, but still not on earlier devices.

Some more apple bs. I guess iPhone 4, iPod touch 4g , and iPad owners want to find there idevice if it is lost

It's weird how Apple creating this limitation and tells you how to get around it. It's a bit of a hassle, but it looks like I'll be bugging a co-worker to use their iPhone 4 or iPad to do this.

Well I have a 3gs and the only thing i wanted was the "FMP". I don't know anyone with a Iphone 4 or Ipad (to add my account). :(

It's probably just a way for you to track your 2010 device with a previous model. Ie: activate on your 4/iPad/iPT, then track (using same AppleID) on a 3G,3GS,etc..

Why not just go to an Apple or AT&T store if you have a 3GS etc. and enter your info on an iphone 4 or ipad and then you can delete the account and bam you can have the free account on your phone...

Has anyone been able to accomplish this yet? I was able to set it up for myself on my iPhone 4.
But I want to try it for my wife's 3GS later today.

enter your itunes account information (the email address and password you use in the app store) into the "find my iphone" application that you will end up downloading on the ipad or iphone you use at the store. once you activate your account through the ipad or iphone 4 at the store remove the account from the in store iphone or ipad and then you will be able to use "find my iphone" on your 3gs or whatever. the account just has to be activated through an ipad or iphone 4.
let me know if this helps

Not working in the UK, when I try to set up a new Mobile Me account in Settings, I get an error message saying "This iPhone is qualified for the free MobileMe service" - very disappointed with Apple.

Andrew -
It's me (the loveable ok not so loveable) pest. Even if the local AT&T store doesn't have their Iphone 4 updated to latest os, it should still work, right? (work meaning the steps you outlined).

Andrew, You suggestion almost works. I can get the account on a 3G, and activate the finder. However, when I try to log in to www.me.com, it keeps asking me to enter the password. Something ain't right! Any ideas?

I am currently updating multiple devices, and I will test this out when I'm done and report back here!

I set up the account on an IPhone 4, activated it and then deleted that account I can now access my information for the 3GS. Seems stupid to have to do this but it works

yeah sorry i forgot to include that the iphone/ipad must be updated to 4.2 before it will work.
kind of an important step to leave out...but hey just trying to help haha

That a BS. I had enough of Apple I am switching to Android phone upcoming Nexus S or Samsung Galaxy S2 with Dual Core

I am curious how this works. I borrowed my coworker's iPhone 4 and followed the steps to set up the free Mobile Me account. I then unchecked the Find Me and deactivated the account. Jon, did you delete the account without deactivating the Find Me? Maybe that is what I did wrong.

Hmmm...here are the steps I am taking. On my coworker's iPhone in set up another Mobile Me account using an existing Apple ID that I have. I enable the Find Me feature which disables his. I then delete the account and re-enable his Find Me on his Mobile Me account. I then log into the Find My iPhone app on my 3GS. It says there are no devices registered. What am I doing wrong? Anybody have some thoughts?

@Doug - This is just a stab in the dark, but why not try logging into Find My iPhone on your 3GS before deleting your account on your friend's iPhone 4?

Okay, I was being a ditz. I did have to setup the account on the coworker's phone. I had not then set up a Mobile Me account on my phone. I had skipped that step and went straight to the Find My iPhone app to log in. Works like a charm.

Does the older iphone need to download the "find my iphone app" as well, or can I locate it with my iphone4 by just adding the mobile me account?

It works on both my iphone 3gs and ipad. So I dont know what you people are talking about that it don't work on the 3gs. It works perfect to.

I installed the app on my ipad set it up. Made the mobile me account in mail settings. Then installed the app on the iphone 3gs. I can fing my 3gs on my ipad. My ipad on my 3gs. And both on my imac. Thank you Apple

So it looks like Apple set an arbitrary limit on the number of devices you can activate from your iPhone 4...?
"The maximum number of free accounts have been activated on this iPhone.”
Any idea how to bypass this?

It worked for me (using my iPhone 4 to enable it on my wife's 3GS).
My steps:
- Add an additional MobileMe account on my iPhone 4 (using my wife's apple ID/password)
- Got a confirmation email to her account, which I confirmed.
- I then added her MobileMe account on her 3GS.
- I also turned on 'Find Me' on her 3GS.
That's it! No more steps required. (Although I removed the extra MobileMe account from my iPhone 4 after that, to prevent any future problem)

I am not getting the confirmation email to my wifes aol account. Same set up as Lars. I have iphone 4 wife has 3GS. Apple website says to resend verification email, but there is no option on how to do that.

Works fine with an account actived from a 4th Gen iPhone then used on the 3GS ! And the iPhone is correctly named 3GS on the mobilme location page :p

It doesn't Work For Me Not sure why,as Far as I can tell you need to have 4.2 in order too Get it to work. I've entered the my Apple ID and Password that I always use on itunes and it tells me that I've entered it in Wrong SO...I'm going to jut wait for RedsnOw too come out.

Would it work if i created a 60 day free mobile me account then install find my iphone app then cancel mobile me subscription?

Works perfectly fine on iPad and older 3GS phones. Just have to install it on the newer device first then you can activate it on the older ones. It won't work unless you do it on the newer devices first. Then you can just go and turn the feature off of the newer devices and there you go...!!! Free Mobile Me.
Now just wish it would tell you EXACTLY where the phone was. Also can be a bit wonky and believes your phone is many city blocks away, but overall better than nothing and wonderful to be able to remotely wipe the phone if it is stolen (I was robbed last year and wish I would have had this then).

This is greedy Apple for you. Once I've come to know what Apple are really like I don't want a bar of them anymore. My next phone won't be an Apple. They are just too greedy for their own good. We 3GS owners paid Apple too so if it can be done why not? Greed that's all. Shameless Apple. Stuff their products. They still haven't fixed the daylight savings bug for Australia in the latest patch although it's 2 months ago it appeared. I rang and told them where to go. Just don't buy Apple anymore cause their greedy and don't care about their cusotmers. Steve Jobs must have been drunk when he recently said he 'loved' his customers. Maybe he meant to say ne loved his customers $$$$. No respect anymore for Apple after these two incidents.

Go into an AT&T store, use an iPhone 4 to set up the free account just don't save it when it says turn Find My iPhone on. Go to your iPhone 3GS and do the same thing only this time it will let you on. Now turn on Find My iPhone and save. It took me like all of 2 minutes even with the salesman looking at me funny and asking if I needed help with anything.

The issue is that most of the AT&T stores are not taking the time to upgrade their demo iPhone 4's to iOS 4.2. I tried it on the iOS 4.1 phone in the store and it didn't work.

I set up mobile me on my new iphone4 and confirmed that find my iphone worked. Then...I enabled it on my old (non active) iPhone3G and confirmed that it also worked. PERFECT!!! My question is whether this service will still work on my old 3G once I'm out of my wifi area. Going to test it later. And...I'm going to activate it on my wife's new iphone3GS....and then I'll see where she really is!!! :)

I can confirm that this works. I've activated on my iPhone 4 earlier this morning, and have just now used the same Apple ID to activate it on my wife's 3GS. Both phones show up on the map, sweet.

I dont see how this service can grief anyone who stole your iphone. They can simply just delete the mobile.me email account on the iphone and that all needed to make it untrackable

i have upgrade 4.2.1 on 3gs phone. whem i try to login apple id or create new account for mobile me, the massage is appear;
Decive Not Supported
This device is not qualified for free mobileme service.
any body have tips or sultion for this.
thanjks....

TO ALL PEOPLE THAT GETS THE MESSAGE:"Decive Not Supported This device is not qualified for free mobileme service"
you can`t use/creat "find my iphone" mobilme anc, for free if you dont have a 4gen..
that means , that you need to creat a anc. (on appel/me) with your iphone/ipod 4g og afterwords you can add your 3gs (or others) to the list..
1.SO FIRST CREAT A free ANC. With A 4 gen. iphone/ipod..
2. Login on the anc. on your 3gs og add the phone to the same anc as you used to the 4 gen..
then it works.
/frank

Hi, does the iphone 3gs have to be pre programmed with a mobileme acct to be found? I just had my phone stolen and I'm now trying to track it, but I didn't pre install any software. thanks

To happygolatte:
I believe that if you didn't have the software/app installed on your iphone prior to it being stolen, you're SOL. In other words, it's too late. You have to have had installed the necessary software/app before it goes missing.
Sorry!

I have just lost my 3g but remembered I downloaded the find my phone app. Which I likely paid for!
How do I track it??? not finding this easy as the site is asking for a my mobileme account??

Hi Angela
Merely downloading the application onto your device isn't sufficient. You would have then had to set up a mobileme account on your iPhone. As your phone was a 3G, you would not have been able to do that either, unless you had already set up a mobileme account on a version 4 device. Sorry

Guys I am using 3gs i went to mobile A/C and turned on find my iphone.....when i am trying to log in using my Apple id and password from find my iphone it is telling me go to setting,mail contact and enable it....please help me what shall i do and how will it wrk on this 3gs..if any one knows it please do reply me on mendonsalloyd@gmail.com..thanks

Is there not a device dependency in terms of functionality for Find my Phone to actually work? (i.e. "multitasking" or apps running in the background) which 3G doesn't support. Otherwise, how can the app know your location without being launched?

Haha just read this; great idea to use in-store iPhones to set it up!! And guys, like they said up there, you need to first activate it on a fourth generation device or iPad. Trying to first activate it on any other idevice doesn't work

Well, I am in Ecuador, and they steal cellphones all the time, I dont want to lose mine. It is worth $700 here. It is a 3gs 32 gb. I dont know anyone with an iphone 4 can someone help me?

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