Using iCloud Find My iPhone on iOS 4.2 devices

Q: With MobileMe shutting down at the end of this month, what is going to happen to my free “Find My iPhone” account? Apple has told users to convert their accounts over to iCloud, but my wife is still using an iPhone 3G which doesn’t run iCloud. I know the rest of MobileMe is going away, but I never actually subscribed to that; I was only using the free “Find My iPhone” service with my own non-me.com Apple ID.

– Chris

A: Unfortunately, you’re probably out of luck with older iOS devices. Apple’s official answer on the matter is that iOS 5 or later is required, although it acknowledges that iOS 4.2 and 4.3 devices might work.

iOS 5 is the only supported version of iOS to use iCloud on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. If you have a MobileMe subscription or a free MobileMe account and move your account to iCloud, you will no longer be able to see your iOS devices running iOS 4.1 or earlier in Find My iPhone. You may still see your iOS 4.2 or 4.3 devices in Find My iPhone, but this is neither recommended nor supported.

In reality, however, it seems that “Find My iPhone” on iOS 4.2 devices does still work with accounts that have been migrated to iCloud, at least for now. To use the service, simply configure it in the same way as before—using a “MobileMe” account under the Mail, Contacts, Calendars settings on your iOS 4.2 device and entering your Apple ID and password.

Note that if you had a “Find My iPhone” or full MobileMe account previously configured on your iOS 4.2 device prior to migrating to iCloud it may be necessary to remove and re-add your account in order for it to properly register with iCloud.

Further, since Apple has made it clear that pre-iOS 5 devices are “neither recommended nor supported” for use with Find My iPhone, there is no guarantee that this will continue to work once the MobileMe servers go dark at the end of this month. To be fair, however, the iPhone 3G is an almost four-year-old device at this point, and hasn’t even been sold by Apple since 2010, so it’s probably not unreasonable for the company to eventually drop support for older devices as it moves forward, particularly in the case of a service that it is giving away for free anyway.

 

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