Apple has combined the apps "Find my iPhone" and "Find friends" in a new app with the somewhat cumbersome name "Where is?" summarized. However, the developers have also made some changes to the basic techniques here. Until now, the search for a lost iPhone or iPad was only possible if it was online via WLAN or the mobile connection.
iPhone owners help each other: this is how the location search works
Now it is sufficient that firstly Bluetooth is activated and secondly that Apple devices of other users, on which at least iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 is installed, are at least temporarily in range of its Bluetooth connection. In this case, the app "Where is?" sent the location signal via Bluetooth, to the nearby devices of other users.
They will then forward it to Apple’s servers via your Wi-Fi or cellular connection. On the one hand, this happens without the respective iPhone or iPad owners noticing anything at all, and on the other hand, the corresponding signals are transmitted encrypted, so that of course no stranger can draw conclusions about the whereabouts of your device or those of the respective other owners – by the way, not even Apple itself. In the coming months, this clever mechanism will be extended to other items, assuming manufacturers implement an interface from Apple that can be found on the "Where is??" Based. We have reported more on this here.
Another new feature we expect to see this year is Apple’s long-awaited airtags. These small devices are supposed to be able to be attached to virtually any object, such as a keychain, and can then be used via the "Where is?"-App can be found again. Samsung introduced a similar device this year, the Galaxy Smarttags ( See more in this video ). We have summarized all known information about the Airtags for you here.
In order for the search via the Wo-ist app to work, the device you are looking for must be turned on and Bluetooth must be enabled. In addition, another Apple device (Mac, iPhone or iPad), on which macOS Catalina or iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 is installed, is required. You must be logged in with your Apple ID on both devices. In order to be able to find your iPadOS or iOS device again, you can make additional settings in the Wo-ist app.
Open the "Settings" on the corresponding device. From there, tap on your Apple ID and then on the entry "Where’s?". Activate, if not already done, the function "Find my iPhone" by tapping on the entry. Do not forget the settings "Network ‘Where is?’" as well as "Send last location." switch on. Otherwise, the offline search mentioned at the beginning is not possible! By the way, this also applies to the nearby Apple devices of the other users. These functions must also be activated there. So please keep them turned on at all times. The "Find last location" option by the way, causes the affected iPhone to send its last location to Apple’s server just before the battery shuts down.
How to find my lost iPhone or iPad again
To find a misplaced or lost device, do the following on another Apple device:
Start the app "Where is?". Tap on the "Devices" entry below. Now a list and a map with your devices will appear. You can already see how far away the device is (in km), where it is currently located and at what time the last location was determined.
Tap on the item you want, and you’ll get more information and options. If you suspect the device is near or around you, you can "play a sound" on it to locate it more precisely. In addition, an email will be sent to your email inbox (iCloud) that this has happened. Furthermore, you can display the "route" to your device or send a message to the device. On this, for example, the name and contact details of the owner appear, i.e. of you. Last but not least, it is possible to "mark" the device as "Lost" or remotely wipe it in case of loss, so that device and data do not fall into wrong hands.
The Wo-ist app has many other features, such as searching for friends, but it can only be used if those people want to do so and share your location with you.
Alternatively you can use the "Where is-Function also call via iCloud in their browser. Visit the iCloud website and log in, then you can use the "iPhone search" in the browser. Even if the name suggests otherwise, you can search all your Apple devices through it.