Find my MacBook with "Find My iPhone" Service?
My daughter sometimes loses track of her older MacBook by taking it to a friend's place and leaving it there. No harm done, it eventually shows up again, but I was wondering if there's a service similar to Apple's "Find My iPhone" that would let us find her computer?
Without much fanfare, it turns out that Apple has been quietly expanding the features of the now-misnamed Find My iPhone service to work with all iOS and Mac OS devices. Maybe "Find My Apple Stuff" would be more apt. :-)
If you've signed up and have your devices working with Find My iPhone, you might already have noticed that it works with iPads too, which is darn helpful, especially if you are unlucky enough to lose yours on an plane. You could track it down with the aid of local law enforcement (I would definitely not recommend you knock on a random person's door and accuse them of stealing your gear!)
The wrinkle is that iOS devices seem to constantly be checking in to the iCloud network -- which is where all the "Find My" data is being stored -- but I am unable to figure out how frequently a computer subscribed to the Find My iPhone service actually sends data up to the server.
Here's what I found when I tested the service on my MacBook Pro, looking for the very computer I was using at the time...
First step is to see what's in the current location record. You can do that by logging in to your iCloud account (you need one set up and configured) via the Web. Go to iCloud.com to do so. When I did, here's what I saw reported for my MacBook Pro:
Given that I was actually using the computer at the time, it seemed odd that the last location check-in was the previous evening, so I decided to check and see if it was configured properly. This'll help you see how to configure your daughter's laptop (and your own, while you're at it!).
From the Apple menu, System Preferences, then look for "iCloud" under the "Internet & Wireless" section:
Click on "iCloud" and it'll show you a variety of different types of data you can keep sync'd with your other devices via iCloud -- something I find darn helpful! -- but what you want is at the very bottom...
Check the box adjacent to Find My Mac and if you've got your iCloud account set up properly, it should now be reporting its location.
Double check your account config by clicking on "Account Details" on the left.
Mine's all correct, so I must just be impatient or something!
Sure enough, I logged back in to iCloud and saw this:
A click on "Find my iPhone" and here it is!
A click on that and iCloud shows me the location on a map:
Sure enough, that's where I was sitting and working, while enjoying a nice iced chai...
With that information, you should be able to quickly enable "Find My Mac" on your daughter's computer, and while it can't report its location if it isn't turned on, it can keep track of the last place the computer was actually powered up. Hope that helps, and don't forget that if your kids have iPhones, "Find My iPhone" can be a smart way to keep track of their location, or at least the location of their phones, too.
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