Losing your iPhone or having it stolen isn't just a major annoyance, it can also result in a complete stranger gaining access to some of your most private data. That's why Apple includes the Find My iPhone feature with every iPhone. But in order to use the function, you'll first need to enable it on your iPhone. Knowing how to use it couldn't hurt either. So read on to learn how to locate, lock and wipe your lost or stolen iPhone.

Enable 'Find My iPhone'

Open the Settings app on your iPhone and select the iCloud tab.

Settings --> iCloud tab

Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Find My iPhone to enable the feature.

Settings -> iCloud -> Find My iPhone

Select Allow when you receive a prompt explaining that Find My iPhone has the ability to show the location of your phone on a map. 

Allow Find My iPhone

Locate, lock and wipe your iPhone

With Find My iPhone now actived on your device, you will be able to locate, lock or wipe it using any Web browser. To do this.

Navigate to www.iCloud.com, log in using the iCloud account associated with your iPhone and click the Find My iPhone icon.

iCloud homepage

Click the Devices box in the top left corner of the screen and choose your lost iPhone from the list of devices. Your iPhone's location will automatically be displayed on the map along with a box giving you basic information about your phone.

Locting an iCloud-enabled iPhone

To pinpoint your iPhone's location, click the Play Sound button in the information box. A loud alarm will go off on your phone, allowing you to quickly track it. Tap the OK button on your iPhone to silence the alarm.

Find My iPhone Alert/Alarm

To lock your lost iPhone, click the Lost Mode button and enter the password you want to use to unlock the phone when you locate it again.

Lost mode PIN

To Wipe your iPhone, click the Erase iPhone button.  To confirm the command, tap Erase. This is a worst case scenario option that will clear all of your apps and personal data from your phone, so only use it if it's completely necessary. 

Wiping data from a lost iPhone

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This story was originally written for LAPTOP and was republished with permission here. Copyright 2013 LAPTOP, a TechMediaNetwork company.