Re-enabling Find My iPhone after Factory Reset

Q: I used to be able to check up on my young son every so often using Find my iPhone. Since he had it factory reset for whatever reason, I cannot see him any longer. Is there a way to reconnect to his phone? Also if he gets a new iPhone will find my phone work once again? Thank you.

– Geegee

Re-enabling Find My iPhone after Factory Reset

A: Find My iPhone is a feature that actually has to be manually enabled on an iPhone as part of a user’s iCloud account. Following a factory reset, the iPhone is returned back to a stock configuration, and if the user has not logged into iCloud, or has not enabled Find My iPhone as part of that procedure, you won’t be able to locate the iPhone.

Further, Find My iPhone also requires that Location Services be enabled on the iPhone, so disabling this feature will also disable the Find My iPhone feature.

The iOS Setup Assistant will take you through this a configuration procedure the first time you use a new iPhone, which also happens after a factory reset, since this effectively returns the iPhone to its out-of-the-box configuration. Note that not some of these steps may be skipped if the user is restoring from an iTunes or iCloud backup or if they skip signing in with an Apple ID entirely.

After the device has been setup, you can check that status of the Find My iPhone setting and enable it if necessary simply by going into the iOS Settings app and looking in the iCloud section.


Re-enabling Find My iPhone after Factory Reset

You can also check the status of Location Services in the Privacy section of the iOS Settings app.

If Location Services is disabled, the Find My iPhone will not work, although it will still appear to be enabled under the iCloud settings.


Re-enabling Find My iPhone after Factory Reset

Note that the user also needs to be logged into the same iCloud account that you are using the locate the device, so if your son’s device has been signed into a different iCloud account, you will either need to switch accounts on the device itself or log into the appropriate account when trying to locate the device from the iCloud web site or Find My iPhone app. Note that the account used for your son’s Find My iPhone feature does not need to be the same as your own iCloud account, although it certainly can be if you want to set it up this way.

Also keep in mind that if you are using multiple iCloud accounts on the same iOS device, Find My iPhone can only be enabled for one of those accounts, although it doesn’t need to be the primary one. Turning on Find My iPhone on one account will automatically disable it on any others where it is enabled.