How to set up your free Find my iPhone account

How to set up your free Find my iPhone account

Apple has put up a new web page showing how to set up the new free Find my iPhone service. You need an iPhone 4, iPod touch 4, or iPad to set it up, but once you're done you'll be able to use it on any iOS 4.2 device. The steps are simple enough and we'll sum them up after the break!

  • Update your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to iOS 4.2 (coming later today)
  • Go into Settings: Mail, Contacts Calendars
  • Tap Add Account
  • Tap MobileMe
  • Enter your Apple ID (iTunes Store ID, Apple Online Store ID, etc.)
  • Verify your account via email
  • Go back to Settings: Mail, Contacts, Calendars: MobileMe
  • Turn on Find my iPhone
  • Tap Allow
  • Download the Find my iPhone app from the App Store [iTunes link] or go to and give it a try.

When you get 4.2 and are able to set up your free Find my iPhone, let us know how it works for you!

[Find my iPhone]

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

How to set up your free Find my iPhone account


well i am using 4.2 and have set it up but when i go into the app it just tells me the app needs updating :-(

tip- you can only have one mobileme sync account total. so if you have mobileme already you can't turn on find my iphone seperate from it

I am on 4.2.1 now and added Find My iPhone. Very easy to setup. However, I wish it prompted you for your password in order to turn "Find my iPhone" off. Anybody who knows their way around an iPhone could easily just turn it off if they found/stole it.
I realize I could passcode lock my whole phone, but that's not how I roll...

I have tried to setup Find my iPhone from my iPad. I sends you a verification email. The only problem is my Apple ID is my old address(back when it was free). They send the verification email to your address not the email address you have set as your primary address with your Apple ID. So the only way i can use this service right now is to create a new Apple ID. :(
Apple needs to go back to Free services the way it was. They should make it so you have to own at least one apple device to get it.

Yeah, definitely does not work for 3GS. I dont see a single valid reason for it, other than more of their tactics to 'force' people into buying an iPhone 4.

I can only have 1 device for the mobile me account? So I need to pick whether I want to track my ipad or iphone? Hmm.

Not working for me. I'm using my apple ID but I'm getting the "mobileme requires an apple ID that is an email address. I'm putting in my apple ID as an email too. hmmm..

Followed your instructions and it worked like a charm! OS 4.2 and 'Find my iPhone' all set on my out thieves!

I didn't read the Terms of Use. I assume this service is COMPLETELY FREE, isn't it, even if I need to setup a MobileMe account using my Apple ID?

Ugh. Free "Find My iPhone". Good idea. Bad execution. Or at least in my case. Tried linking my iPhone 4 to with my Apple ID. Cool. Sent verification email. Check. Verified email. Check. iPhone WON'T at all register that the email was verified. Tried removing and re-adding on iPhone. Tried restoring iPhone to factory condition. Nothing. Called iPhone AppleCare. Couldn't figure it out. Gave me a case ID and told me to go to the online chat (because they didn't have a phone number). Referenced the already open case. After 2 hours and 45 minutes of online babble (did you use the correct ID, password, etc -- everything already done with the phone call to iPhone support) and it still doesn't work. I ended up giving up because I had another commitment that I couldn't skip. Have a case ID, supposed to chat again. I have to say, this is the first time in 19 years I've not been pleased with Apple support.

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 find my 3gs on my ipad. My ipad on my 3gs. And both on my imac. Thank you Apple

Kevin says:
November 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm
I have tried to setup Find my iPhone from my iPad. I sends you a verification email. The only problem is my Apple ID is my old address(back when it was free). They send the verification email to your address not the email address you have set as your primary address with your Apple ID. So the only way i can use this service right now is to create a new Apple ID.
Apple needs to go back to Free services the way it was. They should make it so you have to own at least one apple device to get it.
==> Hi all, I got the same problem. However once you register your old id through iphone/ipd, now you are able to login (without verification). Then go to account info and change your primary email address.

Okay verification email went to an email address. How do I check that email?? I know my Apple log in.

For people getting error messages like Kameek and Darryl, having to do with Apple ID not having the "" format: go to and login with your Apple ID. It will have a message asking if you want to merge your primary email and your Apple ID - choose yes. Now your old Apple username goes away and becomes your primary email address on file. THEN you can go back into settings and add the MobileMe account.
I was going nuts trying to find the solution. Finally found someone else who had figured it out.

Where are you getting that message asking if you want to merge? I went to the site but couldn't figure it out. I tried changing my Apple ID to my email and got this message.
"The email address you entered is already being used for an Apple Account. If it is yours, you can cancel and Sign in using that Apple Account."

Matt - it was in the bottom right corner after I first signed in. It was fairly innocuous, and it had a drop down to choose from the emails on my account (only one there). If you can already sign in to your Apple account with your email (and not a username) you shouldn't need to do this.

Eric-I looked again and didn't see a drop down in the bottom right corner. I wonder why some people can do this but others cant?

I get "Device not supported: This iPhone is not qualified for free MobileMe service." when I enter my appleID (I merged my gmail account to be the ID) and password on my 3Gs.
Do I have to borrow a friend's iPhone 4 to set this up first?
Will that mess up his phone in any way if I enter my appleid+password on his iPhone 4?

Matt - not sure, is your Apple ID already an email address?
Aloke - yes, you have to set it up from an iPhone 4, and i think iPad works too. It won't mess up your friend's phone.

Eric my AppleID is not my email. My email is verified though and that it where I get my receipts sent to. Here is the message I get when I try to change my user name to my current email.
This email address is already in use or you may already have an Apple ID associated with this email address. Please try again or sign in using your existing Apple ID.
Any ideas?

I spent 45 minutes on the phone with Apple Customer Care trying to get this app to work. This was the first time the people I spoke to at Apple didn't seem to know what they're doing. I had to change my Apple ID from the name I've been using to years to an e-mail address, or else the Find My Phone app wouldn't work. So this morning when I tried to listen to music on my iPhone, the iPod function says the content is empty. I 'm guessing this is a result of me changing my Apple ID. So I have to call Apple back to figure out what happened. I'm so not happy about this. I have Thanksgiving dinner to prepare and don't want to waste more time on the phone with Apple.

I was having the same problems as listed above:
-It would take my but I don't have access to a .mac account.
-It would take my associated primary email from my Apple ID and send a verification email. I received the email and verified but even after deleting and recreating the MobileMe account under Settings it would still say not verified.
Called Apple and they said it was because it takes up to 2 hours for the server to verify the Apple ID, which is total bull.
However, I just logged into my Apple ID account and changed my primary email. I got the "Do you want to merge your apple ID and primary email into one" box and did so. Just got it set up finally.

I think if you are a gmail user you can't change your Apple ID to your email. I played around with it and typed in a old email address from AOL and when I did that and verified it I got the message asking if I want to merge my email and Apple ID. When I said no and changed my main email back to my gmail account it didn't give me the option. Anyone else have this problem?

Nancy - now that youve updated your settings, you just need to go to Settings -> Store and sign out and then back in with the new login info. Then everything should work on your phone again.
Matt - I have a gmail address and i got the merge message, it worked fine for me. Sounds like you might need to call them to sort this out.

I have a verified gmail account as my Apple ID but i can not seem to set up my Find Iphone account with it. When i select "MobileMe" as a new account, it doesn't look like the screen shot above. It asks for name, MobileMe address, password, and description. I don't see the "Apple ID" option. Any ideas?

Note that a qualifying device, like a iPhone 4 or iPad, can be used to activate a total of three non-qualifing devices. So borrowing someone's will use up one of their three activations. See the footnote on this Lifehacker article that gives step-by-step instructions:

Hello I thought it’s available only for 2010 iOS devices, unfortunately I don’t know anyone with 2010 device. So please could anyone create the “Find My iPhone” account for me? Just register “” with some easy password like “12345"

I was able to get eveything setup on my phone and is working great but can some tell me how to add more devices. I want to add some of my families phones but we have not been able to get it to work, any input please.

I don't get the verification email.
Any help please?
I have iP4 iOS 4.2.1, know my Apple ID and followed all instructions to the dot.
Still I don't get the verification mail :(

Okay, weird situation in my case.
I go to settings and open up Mail, Contacts, Calendars, tap "Add Accout..." and select MobileMe, but when I do, it prompts me for my name, email (which I don't have), password, and description. Help?

On my ipad i put in my appleID then Agree to the Terms of Service and am followed with a message "Apple ID couldn't be created because of a server error."
Both my apple ID and pw are correct any ideas?

hi thank you for the help i did the step as you say and finaly i have ID
and it is working so good.
great job thanks again

Unable to get find me to work. I can't verify my account in iTunes nor does the email to verify my account from MobileMe ever gets sent/received. Ironically I was able to set up find me on a friend's ipad2 but not on mine

I had the same peoblem. I set up a free hotmail email account and used that as my icloed login. I got the verification email and was able to verify the account.

Make sure to activate Location Data restrictions and use a different passcode. That way, in case your phone is stolen, and the first passcode is compromised - they cannot turn off the location tracking without knowing the restriction password as well.