When you first activate your iPad, you are presented with the option to activate Find My iPad. Whether or not you agreed to this invitation, you are going to need to revisit this setting if you want to set up this feature properly and securely. For iPads in an active classroom setting, Find My iPad can be a critical tool in both locating, monitoring and recovering your iOS device.
NOTE: This article will refer to both Find My iPad and Find My iPhone. Why? Since we are setting up this feature on an iPad, the setting menus will refer to the feature as Find My iPad. However when we attempt to access or locate the device remotely from another device, you will be using an iOS app or web app called Find My iPhone.
By activating Find My iPad you can…
- Locate your iOS device on a map and have it emit a sound for easy location from another iOS device, Mac or PC – OK this is an obvious feature, but in a classroom or school where iOS devices can be misplaced or moved around to different locations in and around your building, having the ability to quickly locate any stray device is very handy. The Find My iPhone app for iOS devices allows you to use another iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch to locate your missing device. PCs and Macs can also be used to track your iOS devices by logging into the iCloud.com website from a web browser and using the Find My iPhone feature.
- Set the device to Lost Mode – Activating Lost Mode through the Find My iPhone app or web app lets you lock down the device and have it display a contact phone number and message for the person who happens to find your lost iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone. For teachers, this might be a bit overkill if you simply want to send out a message to all of your classroom iPads but this might be the tool if you want to send out an urgent message to your devices.
- View the battery charge remaining on your iOS device(s) using Find My iPhone – A minor but handy feature to determine at a glance how your class set of iPads are holding up with their battery charge throughout the school day.
- Erase and reset your iPad – Arguably a fairly drastic course of action and it should not be taken lightly. However besides being able to remotely wipe the data from your iPad should it be stolen, this feature also comes in handy when you have been locked out of the device completely. Sometimes all it takes is an overzealous student who inadvertently locks out the device after unsuccessfully trying to enter the passcode for the eleventh time. If you are in desperate need of reactivating the iPad and you do not have the luxury of a nearby configurator, wiping the iPad using Find My iPhone may be your last resort.
Find My iPad is an iOS feature that you will rarely use, but when you need to use it, you really need to use it. Losing or misplacing your iOS device is never a predictable event so ultimately this is a feature that will only help you if you set it up now. Right now.
Setting up Find My iPhone
Setting up this feature has improved with iOS 7 but there are still some additional settings to consider in order to better secure this tool.
Enable Location Services and ensure that Find My iPhone is ON
SETTINGS –> iCLOUD –> ensure that FIND MY IPAD is turned on
Why? Find My iPad requires location services to be turned ON in order to track the iPad.
Turn ON the Passcode for your iOS device
SETTINGS –> PASSCODE –> select TURN PASSCODE ON
Why? Should you lose your iPad, the passcode is your only protection in preventing someone from accessing the information and media that is stored on your tablet.
Turn OFF access to the Control Center from the Lock Screen
SETTINGS –> CONTROL CENTER –> turn off ACCESS ON LOCK SCREEN
Why? Find My iPhone requires internet connectivity. Turning OFF Control Panel access from the Lock Screen prevents someone from turning OFF WiFi connectivity and/or activating Airplane Mode when the iOS device is locked.
A good feature but not perfect…
Find My iPad / Find My iPhone is a great tool but even with these measures to try to keep it secure and functional, one can still prevent an iPad from being tracked remotely. iPads that are completely shut down (not in sleep mode) or have completely run out of battery charge will not be detectable using Find My iPhone. iPads that are not able to connect to the internet or have been completely wiped, will also be untraceable.
Granted, Find My iPad is far from foolproof. However, considering the easy set up and the features that it can provide, it is a setting that every school or classroom should set up now. So be warned, if you wait to activate Find My iPad until you really need it… it’s already too late.
– K. Takahashi