It’s hard to find a lost iPhone with a dead battery, but with iOS 8 or iOS 9 installed on your iPhone or iPad you can get an alert right before the battery dies. This is how to turn on the option to make the iPhone send its last location before the battery runs out.
This allows you to know where it was when the battery died and track it down. This is especially handy after the battery dies because you cannot use the ring feature to make the iPhone play sound.
The only downside to this option is you’ll need to turn it on before you are looking for your lost iPhone with a dead battery. If the iPhone is already missing you can still follow the tracking directions, but the location may be off slightly. This also works if you are trying to find a stolen iPhone with a dead battery, but the chances are higher that someone already moved it from that location.
You need iOS 8 or iOS 9 installed for this option to be present. iOS 9 is a free update that runs on the iPhone 4S and newer. You can also use this guide on the iPad 2 and newer or iPad mini and newer. If you do not see the options on your iPhone or iPad you will need to follow these instructions to update to iOS 9 before you continue. This continues to work on iOS 9.3.2, iOS 9.3.3 and iOS 10.
How to Find a Lost iPhone with a Dead Battery
Before you lose the iPhone you need to turn on a new Find My iPhone feature. When you set up the iPhone 6s or a new iPhone with iOS 9 Find My iPhone is on by default, but this handy feature is not. This is a good time to make sure Find My iPhone is on and that you can track the location of your iPhone.
Go to Settings -> iCloud -> Find My iPhone. Make sure the main option is turned on. This is what allows you to use another iPhone or device to track down a lost or stolen iPhone.
Tap on Find My iPhone and then on the next screen toggle Send Last Location to On. This will force the iPhone to send it’s location to Apple right before the battery dies. It needs a connection, so if it is in airplane mode this is not going to help, but in most cases a lost iPhone with a dead battery isn’t going to be in airplane mode. A stolen iPhone may already be in airplane mode to prevent you from tracking it.
Once you have this set up you’ll be able to find your lost iPhone even if the battery is dead. Even though you can’t sound an alert you can find the general location. This is enough to focus your search on a coffee shop you were at, a friend’s house or wherever the last location showed it.
Track a Lost iPhone with a Dead Battery
Now we’ll show you how to track a lost iPhone location using another iPhone, iPad or computer. If you are using another Apple device like an iPhone or iPad you can download the Find My iPhone app free on the App Store.
You need to log in with your Apple ID and password. You can do this on a friend’s iPhone or iPad, but make sure you log out when you are done.
When logged in the app will show the location of all your Apple devices with Find My iPhone installed. Tap on the iPhone with a dead battery to see the last location. You can then tap on the car to get directions to that location, or if you are already nearby you can start your search.
The normal options of sound an alert, put in lost mode or erase won’t work when you are looking for a lost iPhone with a dead battery, but you can always put the lost mode on if you can’t find the iPhone. If you do this and someone charges it they will see your information and can call you. If you tell it to erase it will do this the next time it connects, but then you can no longer track it.
Another option is using a computer to track the iPhone down. You still need your Apple ID and password to do this, but you don’t need a Mac. You can visit iCloud on a Mac or PC, or even an Android phone, to see the same information. You’ll be able to see the last location of the lost iPhone before the battery died.
Unfortunately you need to turn on these features before you lose an iPhone. Even if you are looking for a lost iPhone with a dead battery and you didn’t turn on the Send Last Location feature you may still get a good idea of where the lost iPhone is.