Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

With the iOS 15 update, Apple further enhances the Find My feature. This feature usually lets you find, locate, and delete lost Apple devices – but now certain iPhones running iOS 15 can be tracked even after the iPhone is turned off (which is the first thing a thief does). How does it work? And is it no longer possible to completely turn off the iPhone?

How does offline iPhone tracking work?

Apple will now use its low-power U1 chip to continue tracking the location of an iPhone, even after it is turned off. This feature is enabled by default when you install iOS 15 on a compatible iPhone (each iPhone after iPhone 11, including the latest iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro).

Once the iPhone is off, Apple continues to run its Low Energy Bluetooth chip via a custom secure applet. The rest of the device is completely off (including the always-on processor used for background tasks such as “Hey Siri” requests).

The second part of the equation has to do with Apple’s Ultra Wide Band U1 chip. As with AirTags, your iPhone will continue to send cryptographically secure beacons out to other Apple devices. And when someone passes near your turned off iPhone, it will intercept these beacons and pass this information securely using the Find My network.

If you’re looking for a more technical explanation of what’s going on under the hood, check out this blog post by Naehrdine and this Twitter thread by Hector Martin.

How to turn off your iPhone completely

Apple does this offline iPhone tracking in a secure way, but you can object that your iPhone is technically not completely off. So if you want to turn off your iPhone completely, you can do so in two ways. First, when you go to turn off the iPhone, tap the small one “The iPhone can be found after switching off“Button. From here you can select “Turn off temporarily to findPossibility to completely turn off the iPhone just this time.

Screenshot: Khamosh PathakScreenshot: Khamosh Pathak

If you are looking for a more permanent solution, disable the Find My Network feature, which is generally not recommended for obvious reasons. To do so, open “Settings“App, and go to Apple ID > iCloud > Find min > Find my Iphone, and disable “Find my network“Function.

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