Apple makes Find My iPhone service free for iOS devices


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Who hasn’t dreamed of attaching a tracking device to their keys, or sunglasses or cellphone?

Apple announced on Monday that the Find My iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch) feature -- which helps locate a missing device by way of an online map -- will be free to use without a MobileMe subscription. The service is limited to the latest-generation devices (iPhone 4, iPad or fourth-generation iPod touch) running iOS 4.2, the newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, also released Monday.


Previously, the feature was available only to iOS users with a MobileMe subscription for $99 per year. It also required the download of the Find My iPhone app, free in the App Store.

To access the service, users must go to settings after installing the iOS 4.2 update and add a new MobileMe account through ‘Mail, Contacts and Calendars.’ A prompt will ask for a user’s MobileMe ID, but entering your Apple ID and password, which is also used in the iTunes store, will open access to the Find My iPhone feature.

Once enabled, users will be able to locate their Apple gadget on a map online (as well as command it to display a message or make a sound); owners can also lock or wipe data from a lost device either through the app from Apple or online.

Other new features from the iOS 4.2 include multitasking, folders and a unified in-box for the iPad, and AirPrint wireless printing and AirPlay for audio and video streaming for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.


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-- Shan Li