How to Use New ‘Find My’ App in macOS Catalina

Oct 9
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New to macOS Catalina? Here's how you can set up and use the new Find My app to keep track of devices and friends under one roof.

'Find My' Merges Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into One Place in macOS Catalina - Master it Today

Apple made a smart yet logical move by merging Find My iPhone and Find My Friends together. It makes more sense now that 'finding' should be done under one roof and getting used to the new Find My app is a piece of cake. In fact, I'll go as far as saying that you honestly don't even need to read this in order to figure out how the app works. It's really, really that simple.

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Nevertheless, we are going to guide users who might be brand new to macOS Catalina and are starting to get to grips with the new features that it brings, with the aforementioned Find My app being once of them.

Note: Find My only works with Apple devices. If you are going to share your location with non-Apple users, it won't work at all.

What is Find My?

In a nutshell, Find My is a simple app that allows you to keep track of all your Apple devices under one roof as long as they are signed into the same Apple ID. Whether the device is lost or you want to know its current position, you can do it using this app. You have the option of ringing the device in case it is lost or even erase it remotely.

Find My running on iPhone

Furthermore, since the new app is a combination of Find My iPhone and Find My Friends from yesteryear, therefore you can share your live location with friends and it even works the other way around too. Obviously, seeing the location of your friends happens through consent. You can't just tap a button and magically know where they are.

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Do You Need Find My?

Yes, you do. Because in case you ever lose your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch or even your AirPods, the new Find My app is a great way to see exactly where your devices are on a map. In case of theft, you can simply press a button to wipe your device clean so that no one gets hold of your personal data. If your device is just lost, you can press a button to ring the device remotely so that it is easier for you to find it.

Find My Works Offline too

Believe it or not, even if someone turns off your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac, you can still see their position on a map. How this works is pretty simple: your device sends out a WiFi or Bluetooth pulse when it is powered off, which is read by Apple devices nearby and the position is sent to Apple's servers. So yes, this is a pretty bulletproof method of keeping track of your devices as long as there are other devices nearby with macOS Catalina, iOS 13 or iPadOS installed.

Setting up Find My on macOS Catalina

Note: Find My heavily relies on Location Services. If you have it disabled, then you would want to enable it right now. You can do so by going to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Click on the Privacy tab up top and then enable Location Services.

Enable Location Services for Find My

Step 1. Launch System Preferences on your Mac.

Step 2. Click on Apple ID at the very top.

Step 3. Scroll down in the list of available options and enable Find My Mac.

Step 4. Click on Options right next to Find My Mac and enable Offline Finding as well.

Enable Offline Finding in Find My

Now you are all set to use Find My to its full potential.

Let's Launch Find My

Launch Find My straight from the Launchpad or your can do a quick search for it using Spotlight. You can even keep the app in the Dock for easy access later on.

Right off the bat, you'll notice that the app is extremely simple to use. There are two tabs at the top, one says People, the other says Devices. Let's have a look at the Devices tab first.

Find My app interface

If you have an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac or even AirPods that are linked with the same Apple ID. They will appear in this section. The location of the devices will be immediately updated and shown on a map as soon as you launch the app. Right click on any device and you'll see further options which includes the following:

List of options available in app

  • Play Sound - Even if your device is silent, this will play an audible tone so that you can find your gadgets easily. Trust me, it's pretty loud. But not the subway station sort of loud. It's loud enough to turn heads toward the ring.
  • Directions - Lost your device some place far away and want to get to it? Click on this option, the Maps app will immediately launch and you'll get directions to your device's current or last known location.
  • Mark As Lost - As soon as you do this, your device will be locked and you can display contact information straight on the lock screen so that the person who finds it can get to you immediately. Furthermore, if the intent of getting hold of your device was theft, then this feature will render the device useless until or unless you enter your Apple ID password straight on the device itself.

Mark as Lost feature in Find My app

  • Erase This Device - Consider this last resort. Click on this if you know that you have sensitive information on your device and there's no chance of recovering it either. This will remotely initiate a complete factory reset of your phone, tablet or computer and lock it down so that it can't be used by anyone else ever. However, if your device does manage to show up at your doorstep, then you can simply unlock it by simply entering your Apple ID password.

You have options to change the map type for convenience. For example, you can switch between the regular Map view with vector graphics, Hybrid that overlays the vector map over a satellite image and Satellite which is just a plain old vanilla map with no vector graphics.

All these options are available at the bottom of the map itself. Try it and see which seems best for you.

Let's Switch Over to People

Last but not the least, click on the People tab in Find My to share your location with your friends, family or coworkers. You start off by simply clicking on the Share my Location button on the bottom left hand corner.

Once you click on that option, you will be presented with your contacts. As long as they have an iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch or Mac, you can share your current location with them. Also, wait for the contact information to turn blue so that you know that they have an Apple device with them. Once it's confirmed, click on the contact name, then click on Send at the top right hand corner. If they do not have an Apple device then Find My will tell that it is not possible to share your location.

You will be presented with a screen asking you for how long you want to share your location. Choose very, very wisely.

Location Sharing duration in Find My

If you are done sharing your location, you can expedite the location sharing timer by right clicking on the contact name in the list, and then simply clicking on Remove [Name of Contact]. You might have noticed that you can favorite your contacts too. It's a good idea that you do so if you are going to constantly share your location with loved ones from time to time.

Find My Works on the Web too

What if you lose your Mac and don't have an iPhone or iPad? Well, head over to iCloud.com, sign in with your Apple ID and click on Find My iPhone.

And that's it, you now know how to use Apple's newest and finest app for macOS Catalina.

While you are here, you might want to check out the following as well:

Products mentioned in this post

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