How To Use Find My iPhone For Free On iPhone 3GS, Older Devices

Apple's device tracking, locking and wiping tool Find My iPhone is available for free with the iOS 4.2. By default it only works on the iPhone 4, fourth generation iPod touch and iPad. Here's how to get free access from any device.

What Is Find My iPhone?

First, as a refresher, Find My iPhone is a tracking app that runs on your iOS device and tracks its location. If you lose your device, you can log into MobileMe, see the device on a map and optionally display a message on your device ("Hey, did you find my lost iPhone? Call me at..."), play a sound (handy if you just left it in the couch cushion), lock the device with a four-digit PIN, or completely wipe your device so no one can access your sensitive data.

It's now available for free on any of the latest generation of iOS devices. If you've got an older device, however, you're not out of luck. As readers quickly discovered, all you need to get free Find My iPhone access from pre-2010 devices is access to one of the supported devices. From Apple (footnote 3):

You can create a free Find My iPhone account on any iPhone 4, iPad, or iPod touch (4th generation) running iOS 4.2. Once you create an account on a qualifying device, use your Apple ID and password to enable Find My iPhone on your other devices running iOS 4.2.

The TiPb blog confirms. So if you want to get Find My iPhone running on your pre-2010 iOS device, here's how it works:

Download Find My iPhone on a 2010 iOS Device and Register

  1. Launch the App Store and download Find My iPhone.
  2. While it's downloading, jump over to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > and add a MobileMe account. Log into MobileMe using your Apple ID and password, and when it's connected, turn on Find My iPhone.
  3. Now launch the Find My iPhone app, again log in with your Apple ID, and you should be set up.

Repeat Those Steps on Your Pre-2010 iOS Device

Once you've activated Find My iPhone on a newer iOS device, just repeat the steps above on a pre-2010 iOS device and it should work like a charm. I tested the process by turning on Find My iPhone on an iPad, then enabling it on an iPhone 3G.

To verify that everything's working, just point your browser to Find My iPhone and make sure both devices are in your device list.

It Continues to Work Even After You Kill the Connection on the New Device

Since some of you may be using someone else's latest generation iOS device to gain access to Find My iPhone, I then deleted my MobileMe account from the iPad and verified that my iPhone 3G continued to work with Find My iPhone.

So if you are borrowing someone else's iOS device to activate Find My iPhone on your older device, you should be able to safely delete your MobileMe account from their device but continue using Find My iPhone on yours. That means you can always log into MobileMe and the Find My iPhone dashboard, track your phone, display a message or play a sound, lock the phone with a PIN, or remotely wipe it, all for free. Handy.


    Awesome post guys! Thank You

      it does not work

    Rippa !

    This just made my day. time to drop my mobileme account and safe a bunch of cash!

    Does one Apple ID work on two devices simultaneously? When I login to the Find My iPhone website, will I see two points?

      Yes, I have 3 phones & an IPad on the one account.

    Thanks, I will bring a visit to an Apple store tomorrow to use their so called iOS 2010 devices to sign up that funtion. Not that clever from Apple just like the case itself.

    thank u sooo much !!

    I have a 3GS running 4.2 and when I try to activate a MobileMe account it says "Device Not Supported". Anyone else having this problem or know how to resolve it?

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

    I have an iphone 4 and it tells me i have to register for a mobile me account!!!... it doesn't ask me for my apple id and password, i.e the above step 2 screen shot is not what i see when i got to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > and add a MobileMe account. Can anyone help me with why this may be the case???

    Worked like a charm! Excellent tip!

    definatly going to have to try this :D been trying to find out how to do it for ages thanks alot

    Very handy, thx for the tip!

    But why are we circumventing Apple's elitism? The iPhone 3GS is quite capable of doing this task, the only factor that stops it is Apple. For no good reason at all.

    Another great example of this is the iPhone 4 now comes with a bunch of new SMS tones. Considering the 3GS (& previously the 4) only comes with 8, it's a surefire bet we need those extra ringtones as anyone would know being in the same room as other iphone users.

    But NO, Apple lock those out. For no good reason. Apart from an incentive to buy the iPhone 4. Are you kidding us Apple? The iPhone 3GS is technically capable of 'find my iphone activation' and the extra ringtones. Apple choose to lock us out. LAME

    i have iphone 3gs version 4.3.2 but cant turn on find my phone any ideas please?

      Tom, you need to set up mobile me account on iPhone 4 first, then re enter details on your 3 as it states above. I now have it working fine on my 3GS

    Awesome... Set my mobile me account up on an iPhone 4 then the account worked on my iPhone 3. The app now can be used to find my iPhone 3. Genius...

    Hi guys I have a problem with MobileMe!!
    I have registered an account with my iPhone 4 and it can be tracked! However when I try and activate my MobileMe account on my iPhone 3G an error appears and says " the identity of this device could not be verified." could someone please help me out with this problem.

    I lost my iphone 3 i tried to log in but is nort going thank you

    it didnt work for me... when i try log into mobile me it says :your apple ID is valid, but this iphone is not qulified for free mobileme service.... and when i try log into find my iphone it says :apple ID NOT VERIFIED. GO TO SETTINGS>MAIL,CONTACTS,CALLANDARS>MOBILEME to take steps to activate your account... HELP PLEASE

    i cannot find my iphone lost it sept ,2011,i cant even go on a place where it tell u to sign up to start lookn 4 th dam shows me all these other ek iphones???? i just found out ..tht u can go on itunes and find ur iphone.. been on my laptop 4 5hrs trying to figure it out..''over it'' im on the page that says to find my iphone for free...?????

    i can not find my iphone 3 gs i left it on the bus at whitfords station at 3 please some send it to me on my hotmail

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