How do I find my lost iPhone using WiFi?
September 17, 2011 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Hivemind: Hope me find my iPhone somewhere in my house!

Ringer is switched off.

I can see it's MAC address on my router so I know it's in the house somewhere and the WiFi is on.

Is there a shareware / freeware / cheapware Windows utility I can load on my laptop that will show me my iPhone's signal strength as I walk around the house?
posted by ZenMasterThis to Technology (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have Find iPhone installed? You can make it ring for two minutes even if the ringer is off.
posted by procrastination at 11:26 AM on September 17, 2011

Response by poster: I don't have Find iPhone installed; costs $99 / yr!

Just found the phone, thank Cthulu, but I'd still be interested in general info on how to find lost WiFi devices via Windows and signal strength readings.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:34 AM on September 17, 2011

Find My iPhone is free, and there's nothing to install, you just enable the feature. The app called Find My iPhone will allow you to find another iPhone that has the feature enabled. I use this religiously at home because my phone is normally on vibrate, so calling it doesn't work. You can log onto and make the phone ring.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:48 AM on September 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Find Your iPhone is free... Not sure where you got the idea that it's not. But if you didn't have it installed on your phone to begin with, it won't help you here.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:12 PM on September 17, 2011

I think it used to be that you had to have a MobileMe account to use Find My iPhone, hence the $99/year. But now you can set it up for free if you have an iPhone 4.
posted by TallulahBankhead at 1:46 PM on September 17, 2011

I have recently, for this very purpose, setup FMiP with an Ipad1 and an IPod Touch. Free. Yay for deprecating mobileme.
posted by mce at 1:57 PM on September 17, 2011

I think it used to be that you had to have a MobileMe account to use Find My iPhone, hence the $99/year.

This is correct. I paid for MobileMe when I got my iPhone 2 years ago for this service, among others. But now the service is free. Here's how to set it up for any pre-2010 iDevices. Also I think there are similar services sold via the app store. I just retested mine, and it did make my phone ring even though the ringer is switched off.

As for finding lost WiFi devices, using a laptop and signal strength readings alone doesn't seem possible. The signal strength is measured between the wireless device and the router, not a computer. Unless the router is portable in some way, you won't be able to get different signal strength readings. Theoretically, one could have a laptop that creates its own wireless network, and one could move about and measure signal strength that way, but the WiFi device would have to have access to that network first.

I found one account of hunting for an iPod touch via wifi. The poster was moving a wireless router around the house, plugging and unplugging it, and looking at signal strengths. One wild card was that the iPod touch was sleeping, and only waking every half hour to connect or something.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:26 AM on September 18, 2011

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