No matter where you are, there’s always a chance that you’ll lose your phone. This can be especially distressing if you think it’s somewhere in your house or apartment – but even worse if it’s actually out of reach.
To help you find your device and take measures to keep it safe, Find My is an app that allows users to find out exactly where your missing iPhone is on a map.
Now, when Find My is unable to return any location information at all, there are two common errors that can show up on your screen: “No location found” or “Location not available.”
If you don’t know what they mean, it can be pretty frustrating and confusing. What’s the difference between these two messages and what should you do when you get either one?
In this article, I’ll walk through these errors – location not available vs not found, why they come up, and most importantly, how to fix them.
Let’s get started.
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While both no location found vs not available are designed to let you know that the Find My can’t find the location of your device, they’re meant for different scenarios:
To track your iPhone, Find My relies mostly on GPS, cellular, and WiFi signals. These signals are used to estimate your iPhone’s location, which is then displayed on a map in the app.
So, if your phone isn’t connected to any WiFi network, has been turned off, or its battery has died, Find My will display the “No Location Found” message.
There are also a few other reasons why this can happen:
1. You have not shared your location with Apple yet. When you first set up the app, you were prompted to choose whether or not to share it with Apple.
If you didn’t choose “yes,” then Find My won’t be able to access it. Also, if you are using Family Sharing and another user has turned off location sharing for their device, Find My won’t be able to pinpoint where their phone is on the map.
2. You’re using a different iCloud account than the one you originally used to set up Find My. When you set up the Find My app for the first time, it creates a database of all of your devices and associates them with your iCloud account.
If you’ve recently switched from one iCloud account to another, the app will tell you it can’t find your iPhone because it won’t recognize your new account as the one you linked to your device.
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3. Your Find My app is suffering from occasional glitches in the service. If you’re having trouble finding your device and getting the “No location found” message, there could be a problem with the Find My app itself.
This can happen if, for example, you’re using an older version of the software, or you haven’t updated your iPhone.
Now, let’s understand Location not available meaning.
The “Location Not Available” error means that there is some sort of interference in your device’s GPS preventing Find My from determining your location.
This can be caused by a lot of different things, including but not limited to:
1. You are in an area where there is poor or non-existent cell coverage. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including when you are in a place with poor cell coverage like a remote area, or a dead zone like a tunnel.
When this happens, your device stops transmitting its location data to the network, so Find My won’t be able to determine your iPhone location.
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2. Your device has been damaged or suffered physical damage (e.g., dropped on the floor). This may cause the sensor required to determine your location to malfunction and not provide accurate results.
3. You have the wrong date and time settings on your device. If the phone isn’t correctly set to the right time and date (or if you’re going through a time zone transition), Find My won’t be able to make sense of GPS coordinates returned by nearby cell towers.
4. The location feature is turned off. Disabled location services could also be a reason. If you have disabled or removed location sharing with Apple, Find My will not be able to locate the phone. Ensuring location services turned on can fix it.
5. You’re in Airplane mode. If the iPhone is in Airplane mode, it won’t be able to connect to the internet, so the location services won’t work and the Find My app will give you an error message.
6. There are bugs in your iOS version. Sometimes there are some issues with the phones’ GPS capabilities that prevent the Find My app from working properly.
For example, if your phone’s screen suddenly turns off while you’re running certain apps, this can prevent Find My from getting the GPS signals it needs to locate the device.
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The solution to this problem is quite simple. Here are three easy and straightforward ways to fix the “No Location Found” error:
The first step is to make sure you’re taking care of the basics. You need to make sure that your iPhone has location services enabled, not location services disabled, and that Find My is properly set up.
To do this:
- Go to “Settings” and tap “Privacy.”
- Then tap “Location Services” and toggle the switch on.
- Next, scroll down to the Apps section and look for the Find My program.
- Select it and tap on “Always”. This will ensure the app uses your device’s location even if it’s running in the background.
If you’re still having problems after doing this, try restarting your phone or tablet and then launching Find My again.
If that doesn’t work, delete the app from your device, reinstall it, and sign into your iCloud account.
If the Find My service is down, you’ll get a notification informing you about the issue. Once everything’s back to normal, you’ll get an alert with a green dot to let you know the app is working again.
However, this isn’t always the case. So, to make sure the app has nothing to do with the “No Location Found” error, navigate to Apple’s System Status site, and check whether there are any issues reported on the page.
This might be obvious, but it’s always worth checking that your device is up-to-date with the latest software.
To do this:
- Go to Settings > General >Software Update.
- Click “Download and Install” for any available updates.
Like the problem above, this one has a few potential solutions you can try to solve the issue in less than a minute:
If your location isn’t able to be pinpointed by the Find My app, the first thing you should do is check your internet connection.
There shouldn’t be any issue if you’re already in range of a WiFi network when you try to use the software but could be a factor if you try to use it while out of range.
If you’re connected to WiFi and you still get this error message, try turning off WiFi and connecting to cellular data to see if it makes any difference.
Another way to get around the “Location Not Available” error is to check if there’s something wrong with the date and time on your iPhone (or your friend’s device).
When it comes to an app like Find My, which relies on an accurate time and date for location services to work correctly, setting the date and time correctly is critical.
To do it:
- In Settings, select General and then Date & Time.
- Now, make sure your time zone is correct.
- Next, select Set Automatically and change the switch to ON.
Apple requires you to enable the “Share My Location” setting in iCloud in order to use Location Services in the Find My app.
To enable device’s location settings:
- Open the iCloud settings app on your iPhone by going to Settings, then iCloud.
- Tap “iCloud” and then tap the “Settings” gear icon at the top of the screen.
- Look for Advanced Options and tap that.
- Scroll down to Share My Location and toggle that switch on.
If you’re using Find My to find your friend’s iPhone, you also need to make sure you’re giving permission to the app itself. There are two ways of doing this:
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services
- Switch the toggle that’s next to “Find My Friends” to on
- Launch the Find My app and head over to your profile.
- Change the switch next to “Share My Location” to on.
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If none of the above solutions have worked for you, then try restarting your device. Here’s how to do it:
- Press and hold down the Sleep/Wake button until you see “slide to power off,” then slide it.
- After your device shuts down, press and hold down the Sleep/Wake button again until you see the Apple logo.
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While “No Location Found” and “Location Not Available” seem pretty similar error messages, there is an important difference between both.
Knowing which one means will help you find out the best way to fix the issue and get the Find My app working again.
Above, I’ve broken down several different reasons why you might be getting these alerts, along with the most effective methods to get around the problem.
If you’re still having trouble determining where your device is, your best bet is to contact Apple Support directly.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.