How to find your iPhone when it’s muted

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Find My iPhone can be used for much more than just tracking iPhone-stealing criminals.
Find My iPhone can be used for much more than just tracking iPhone-stealing criminals.
Photo: Apple

Before you read the rest of this article about how to find your iPhone, check down the back of the sofa. No? OK, what about the pocket in the jacket you wore today? Still no? OK. Read on.

It might sound crazy to write about how to find your iPhone. After all, everyone knows about Find My iPhone, right? Well, perhaps. You know that it can be used to track a stolen iPhone on a map, if the perp hasn’t switched it off (which they almost certainly have).

But at least one writer here at Cult of Mac didn’t know that Find My iPhone is also great for finding your iPhone in your own home. That writer — let’s call him Luke Dormehl to avoid embarrassment — spent more than an hour trying to track down his muted iPhone before resorting to Apple’s tracking app.

The problem: How to find a muted iPhone

When you use Find My iPhone, your iPhone will show up on the map, and you can force it to play a loud alert.
Your iPhone will show up on the map, and you can force it to play a loud alert.
Photo: Apple

Your iPhone is nowhere to be seen. You know it’s in the house somewhere. You were using it right before you went to get baby his sippy cup of milky tea, and you haven’t been out since then. In fact, you’re going crazy from not having spoken to an adult human all day long.

So you pick up another phone and call yours. Wait. You have no other phone. Your wife is out in the real world, and who has a landline these days? Besides, your lost iPhone is in silent mode, or maybe even in all-day Do Not Disturb mode, to stop notifications from waking up baby when he finally goes off.

So what do you do? You can’t ask your infant son what the hell he did with it, because like all babies he has the mental age of a 1-year-old and can’t even speak English.

And you already checked the back of the sofa.

The solution: Use Find My iPhone

The answer is Find My iPhone. You can use it on your Mac, by typing in iCloud.com, logging in, and using Find My iPhone in the browser. But it’s easier if you have an iPad. Just open up the Find My iPhone app, and wait a moment.

Find My iPhone can even Find My AirPods.
Find My iPhone can even Find My AirPods.
Photo: Apple

On the left you’ll see a list of all the Apple devices currently logged in to your iCloud account. Find your muted iPhone in that list, and tap it. The map view on the right will zoom in, showing a 3-D representation of the iPhone’s location. If baby didn’t toss it out the window, it should still be in your home. (Pro parenting tip No. 1: Don’t leave self-propelled babies alone in rooms with open windows.)

At the bottom of this panel you’ll see three buttons. Tap the one labeled Play Sound. If all goes well, the iPhone will start to play a loud alert. This will sound even if the iPhone is set to silent and/or in Do Not Disturb mode.

The resulting sound is loud enough to be audible even from the other side of the apartment — even if the iPhone is buried under a pile of pillows. It will almost certainly wake up baby, and boy does he deserve it, the little idiot. Of course, it will be you who suffers as you try to get him back to sleep. Why did you want to have children again?

If all goes well, you can track the sound to your hidden iPhone, switch off the sound, and then hate-read Facebook while you try to rock baby back off to sleep, which will be impossible thanks to the caffeine in that tea you fed it. (Pro parenting tip No. 2: Don’t give a baby tea, no matter how milky. It’s not 1970s England.)