Removing Unused Devices From Find My iPhone

I’ve been reading along on your series about the Find My iPhone [iTunes link] application and its slick remote security features [ed: start with How to use Find My iPhone on an iPad, then read How to Remote Lock your Apple iPhone] but for reasons I don’t really understand, when I signed in to my Mobile Me account to use the service, it listed a bunch of devices I no longer have. I want to clean the list up, but I just don’t see how to do it on my iPhone??

Dave’s Answer:

Ah yes, the reason that you can’t figure out how to delete unused or unavailable iOS devices from the Find My iPhone [iTunes link] application is because it’s impossible. The only way you can manage the actual list of iOS devices accessible through Find My iPhone is to use a Web browser to log in to your Mobile Me account, then clean up the list from there.
I’ve also had problems with older iPhones showing up, and when I had a hardware problem with my iPhone 4 and Apple replaced it? Seems like they’re seen as different devices by the Find My iPhone application. Makes sense, except it ends up polluting things, as you’ve already found.
Enough about the philosophy of the service, however, let’s jump in and learn how to prune that pesky list so it’s just devices you actually do want to track!
I’ll start by again showing the list of devices known by Mobile Me / Find My iPhone:

iphone ipad find my iphone ipad 6
I actually only have two active devices out of this list, so it’s definitely time to clean things up. To do that, as I said earlier, I need to log in to Mobile Me:

mobile me find my iphone 1
Once your signed in, you might find that you’re dropped directly into your inbox. No fears, just click on the little cloud icon on the top left:

mobile me find my iphone 2
Viola! All the major application areas in Mobile Me are shown in a form that’s exactly analogous to pressing Cmd-Tab on your OS X based system:

mobile me find my iphone 3
No surprise, you want to click on the “Find My iPhone” radar screen icon on the extreme right. Because this is a pretty major privacy area, particularly if you share a Mobile Me account, the service asks you to verify your password again:

mobile me find my iphone 4
Typed it in correctly? Sweet! Now you’ll see a list of devices known by Mobile Me for your account (e.g. that have logged in at one point or another in the past) on the left side of the screen in the Web browser:

mobile me find my iphone 5
Click on a device that’s no longer in service and a small informational window pops up, even as the map behind it becomes a generic white and blue world map (you can just see a bit of it in the background below):

mobile me find my iphone 6
See that “(Remove)” link? That’s what we seek. Click on it…

mobile me find my iphone 7
If you’re sure that it’s a device you want to delete from the list, go ahead and proceed. Frankly, even if there’s some confusion or fear of making a mistake at this point, the worst possible case is that you accidentally remove a device you wanted to keep. No worries. The first time your device checks in again it’s automatically added to the list!


Categorized as iPhone, Mac

By Dave Taylor

Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since 1980 and is internationally known as an expert on both business and technology issues. Holder of an MSEd and MBA, author of twenty books and founder of four startups, he also runs a strategic marketing company and consults with firms seeking the best approach to working with weblogs and social networks. Dave is an award-winning speaker and frequent guest on radio and podcast programs.