Not only does an iPad represent a major financial investment, the data stored on it is often priceless in itself. If you ever misplace an iPad, Apple has built-in software, called Find My iPad, to help you find it using iCloud on any Web browser or another Apple iOS device. In most cases, this feature should be set up when you first turn on the iPad. All you need to use Find My iPad is your Apple ID and password.
Find My iPad
When you first activate an iPad, the Setup Assistant prompts you to set up an iCloud account and to use the recommended Find My iPad service. If you disabled this service, you can activate it by selecting "iCloud" in the iPad's Settings menu. Provided the service is set up and the iPad is able to connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi or a cellular network, you can trace the iPad's location using the Find My iPhone app on any iOS device.
Tracing the iPad
To trace an iPad using Find My iPad, you log in to iCloud.com with your Apple ID and password using any Web browser. Once in, click the "Find My iPhone" icon. Alternatively, you can install the Find My iPhone app on any Apple iOS device, including an iPhone, iPod Touch or another iPad. It does not need to be your own device, so you can borrow one from a friend if needed. It may take a minute or two after logging in for your device to be located. Select your iPad from the Devices list, and its location is displayed on a map, often with an accuracy of a few yards.
Using Lost Mode
If you select "Lock" in the Find My iPhone app, you are prompted to enter a 4-digit passcode to lock the iPad. You can then enter a telephone number where you can be reached should someone find your iPad. You can also enter a message that will be displayed with your phone number, such as the default option: "This iPad has been lost. Please call me." Once you locate the iPad, enter the passcode to unlock it.
Play Sound or Erase
The Find My iPhone app gives you two additional options. You can play a sound on the iPad or erase it. When you select the "Play a Sound" option, the iPad emits a loud sonar sound, even if the volume is turned down. This can be useful if the iPad is out of sight, like under a sofa cushion. As a final resort, if you are unable to locate your iPad, you can select the "Erase iPad" option. This erases all data from the iPad, after which you can no longer track the device. Should you find the iPad later, you can reinstall your data using your last backup.
Information in this article applies to iPads using iOS 6.1. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
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