How to Activate a Tracking Device on an iPad

by Tom Ianello
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Every generation of iPad has built-in settings for tracking the device if it is lost or stolen. This feature, called Find My iPad, is part of the Apple's cloud storage and computer service known as iCloud. By default, iCloud is disabled when the iPad is first activated; you are given the option of enabling the service during the initial setup. For Find My iPad to function, iCloud and Find My iPad must first be enabled on the device; the feature cannot be activated remotely. The iPad must also be turned on and have an active data plan or connection to a Wi-Fi network.

Step 1

Check the status of iCloud on your iPad by tapping the "Settings" button on the Home screen and selecting "iCloud" in the settings menu. If you activated iCloud when you first set up the iPad, you'll see a list of iCloud services and settings. If it hasn't been activated yet, you'll be prompted to enter your Apple ID to register your iCloud account.

Step 2

Locate the Find My iPad option in the iCloud services and settings menu. Move the slider to the "On" position. Tap "Allow" to confirm your selection.

Test the Find My iPad service by going to on a computer and entering your Apple ID and password. Click on Find My iPhone. Select the iPad from the My Devices list that appears. As long as the iPad is turned on and connected to a cellular or Wi-Fi network, the service can track it. Once your device is located, it will appear on a map as a green circle. The smaller the circle is, the more accurate the location.


  • If you believe that your iPad has been stolen and you discover its location with Find My iPad, do not attempt to retrieve it by yourself. Contact your local police department; report the device stolen and provide the location information you get from Find My iPad.


  • Familiarize yourself with the other features included in the Find My iPad service so you know what to do if it's ever lost or stolen. If you've lost your iPad and believe it to be nearby, you can make it play a sound at full volume. If someone finds your lost iPad, you can send a message containing your contact information that will appear on the device's screen. There are also options for remotely locking the iPad, so no one can access it if found and remotely wiping all your data from the device as a last resort to prevent anyone from seeing your personal information.


Photo Credits

  • Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

About the Author

Tom Ianello started writing professionally in 2007, specializing in technology and computers. Ianello is completing his associate degree in computer information systems at Great Bay Community College.

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