Happy New Year everybody! Let’s start 2012 off right with another great edition of OS Tips! Today, I’m featuring a great tip for all you nice little boys and girls who receive a fancy new iPhone for Christmas. Now that you’ve got this fantastic device in your hands, you certainly wouldn’t want to lose it right? Thanks to the wonders of location tracking, now you won’t! This great service is free and available to anyone who owns an iPhone. Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t made it very clear just how to actually use its great service. That’s why today, I’m going to show you how to setup and use Find My iPhone. First, you’ll need to set it all up. Here’s how:

1. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to set up an Apple ID so you can use iCloud – the system through which Find My iPhone runs. You can do so here.

2. Next, turn on iCloud on your device. If you already did this during initial phone setup, great! If not, go to Settings -> iCloud and log in with your Apple ID.

3. Scroll down through your iCloud settings menu and make sure the Find My iPhone switch is turned on.

Now in order to actually access this functionality, point your browser of choice to https://www.icloud.com/. From there, log in using your Apple ID. You should be presented with some huge icons with a number of different services. Obviously you want to click on the icon for Find My iPhone. From there, you’ll need to enter your account’s password again for security purposes. Then, as long as your iPhone is turned on and Find My iPhone is enabled, you’ll be able to figure out exactly where your iPhone is.

You then have three options: 1) Play sound or send message, 2) Remote Lock, or 3) Remote Wipe. If you simply lost your phone and you think your it’s landed in the hands of a good Samaritan, options 1or 2 are likely your best bet. In the unfortunate event that it’s been stolen however, it may not be prudent to confront your phone’s thief even if you figure out where it is. In that case, use option 3 to ensure the thief can’t access any of your personal information. However, note that a wiped iPhone cannot be located, so be absolutely certain you can’t get it back before you resort to this option. Enjoy your New Year’s Day knowing that you can easily find your phone again in the morning if you drunkenly misplace it from now on!

[Image courtesy of Sean MacEntee. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.]