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iOS 15 can find a missing iPhone even when it’s powered off

Published Jun 8th, 2021 4:06PM EDT
iOS 15 features
Image: Apple

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Apple’s WWDC 2021 keynote address lasted nearly an hour and a half, but even that wasn’t enough time for Apple to cover everything that iOS 15 will bring to the table this fall. You can see an exhaustive list of all the new features and functionality in the update on Apple’s iOS 15 Preview site, but one that stands out is a significant change to the Find My network that should make it even more difficult than it already is to lose track of your iPhone.

“Locate your devices using the Find My network even after they have been turned off,” Apple reveals on the iOS 15 Preview site. “This can help you locate a missing device that was low on battery power or that may have been turned off by a thief.”

Currently, two of the only ways to stop someone from tracking the location of their iPhone are to turn it off or destroy it. Once iOS 15 launches, simply powering the device down will not be enough, as the iPhone will continue to operate in a low-power state that will allow it to be tracked.

It might not be the most exciting upgrade in iOS 15, but it’s an important one, and could very well end up saving hundreds or thousands of iPhones that would otherwise have been lost. But that is just one of the changes, as Apple notes that the Find My network and Activation Lock will also be able to find your device even if someone erases all content and settings from the Settings menu:

To help ensure that nobody is tricked into purchasing your device, the Hello screen will clearly show that your device is locked, locatable, and still yours.

Privacy and security are top priorities for Apple, both when it comes to protecting data from hackers and protecting devices from thieves. That said, if you are not interested in the new Find My features, you can turn off the low-power mode that tracks your device while it’s powered down.

Other additions to Find My in iOS 15 include continuous streaming updates of your family and friends’ locations, separation alerts that let you know if you accidentally leave a device behind, support for the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, and a Find My widget for the Home Screen.

iOS 15 might not be as momentous an update as iOS 14 was last year, but there are clearly plenty of reasons to install it as soon as it rolls out to the general public this fall alongside the iPhone 13. If you don’t want to wait that long, the first public beta will be available in July, and the first developer beta is already out. You can find out how to download the iOS 15 developer beta right here.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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