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Find My iPhone query

compiler

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My wife and I recently got an iPhone (6 Plus).
Our plan is minimal, but suits our needs.
We normally keep the cellular function OFF, unless needed. This saves us data usage and probably battery usage. But I'm now questioning this strategy.

Recently, my wife went somewhere and just for fun I tried the Find my iPhone app. in iCloud.
It said it couldn't find her phone; it was offline. In actuality, it was totally shut off (she was at a show and they said turn off your cell phones).

But, I was thinking: wouldn't I get that same result if she has cellular data turned off? She would not be connected to the internet? If so, then this would be a good reason to turn cellular data on. If she (or I) loses the iPhone, we can then use the Find My iPhone via iCloud on our computer or our remaining iPhone. So, does this mean I should always keep cellular data on? I don't like doing this, because at home, I prefer to use my wi-fi network, but every so often the iPhone decides to use cellular data (and my plan has minimal usage). I guess I could turn off cellular data at home and put it on every time I go out, but that is a pain.

Suggestions?

Mel
 

scifan57

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Your iPhone can connect to the internet through cellular or WiFi. Leaving cellular data on or off wouldn't make much of a difference in locating the iPhone as it can also get its position from WiFi hotspots. Also, whether on or offline, find my iPhone will still stop a thief from erasing and using your iPhone. If you want to stop your iPhone from using cellular data while on WiFi, you can turn off WiFi Assist by going to Settings>Cellular>WiFi Assist and turning off the switch. It's turned on by default.
 
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compiler

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Sci-Fi:

I'm still a bit confused. Let's say cellular is turned off. Say my wife is at a mall and the cell phone is not connected to the mall wi-fi (I assume you would have to intentionally choose wi-fi and connect it if you had to). Or say it is left in her car or somewhere else.

My point is: if cellular is turned off, then Find my iPhone is useless since it is not online? I guess the last known location might be helpful, but would that only be a location from where the phone was last left when online?

Now, it sounds like a good solution is to turn wi-fi assist off, so it won't automatically switch to cellular at home. Is that correct?

But I gather I should keep cellular on? In this way, when travelling, I could use FIND MY IPHONE if needed?

I would still be concerned about unexpected data usage when travelling.

Mel
 

scifan57

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You can turn off cellular data and leave cellular on. Even offline, find my iPhone will still protect your iPhone from unauthorized access and erasure. For determining location from WiFi hotspots, your iPhone has to be connected to a known WiFi hotspot.
 

scifan57

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Cellular data is used for such things a connecting to the internet or streaming online videos or music. Your regular cellular connection is for talking on the phone and sending text messages. If you don't want any cellular usage at all, you have to put the iPhone in airplane mode then turn WiFi on. This will restrict all data usage to WiFi only and will prevent any roaming charges for cellular usage outside your home area.
 

fg3_colton

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Huh?

I thought cellular and cellular data is the same thing?
The only on/off toggle is cellular data.

I'm again missing something.

Mel

Cellular is the actual connection to your service provider (I.E., the 5 dots on the top left) cellular data is your connection to the internet (the 2G, Edge, 3G, HSPA, 4G or LTE symbols to the right of the 5 dots). As for Wi-Fi assist, on weak Wi-Fi connections, the phone will use both cellular data and Wi-Fi to download something. I recommend turning this off unless you have an unlimited data plan.
 
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