Recover a Lost iPhone for Free -- No MobileMe Required

Last Updated Nov 22, 2010 11:22 AM EST

Apple's not known for giving things away, but today the company broke with tradition: Find My iPhone is now free. This GPS-powered phone-recovery app previously required a $99/year MobileMe subscription.

What's the catch? A bit of age discrimination on Apple's part: only owners of the iPhone 4, iPad, and fourth-generation iPod Touch can get in on the freebie goodness.

I must admit, I've long considered Find My iPhone the single most compelling feature in MobileMe. With it you can not only locate your phone on a map, but also remotely wipe the memory (to prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands) and/or trigger an alert sound (which can help you find an iPhone that has, say, fallen between the sofa cushions).

Of course, I wasn't willing to pay $99 annually for that -- not when third-party apps like FoneHome and iHound do the same thing (minus the remote data-wipe) for much less. (My preferred remote-recovery app, FoneHome, costs all of $1.99.)

Now, anyone who has "compatible" gear and iOS 4.2 (available now) can enjoy the benefits of Find My iPhone (which I have to assume Apple will rename Find My Device, or something similar) without spending a penny. Gotta love that!

Image courtesy CNET.
  • Rick Broida On Twitter»

    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.


Market Data

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

Market News

Stock Watchlist

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App