Stop panicking, breathe – Here’s how to track and find your MacBook
Your MacBook – your pride and joy. You picked it out from a long line up of cheaper laptops – it’s high-end, with a suitably higher-end price tag. Then, one day, the unthinkable happens. Your bag feels noticeably lighter. You check, and it’s gone. Whether lost or stolen…
Sheer panic sets in.
What do you do next? Well, handily enough, this blog sets it all out for you, and answers that burning question: How do I track and find my MacBook
Reading this as a mere precaution?
Let’s start on the presumption that you’re here because you want to protect your MacBook just in case you lose it or have it stolen in the future. There are two steps that you should take…
1. Protect your data - Encrypt your hard drive
If you lose or have your MacBook stolen, you’re going to be in a HUGE panic over your data - your work files, those pictures, a door right into your professional and personal emails. Thankfully, in all likelihood few thieves are interested in your data unless you’re in the upper echelons of public life…
“The reality is that there is a burgeoning market for stolen laptops. The goods go to pawn shops or unsuspecting people purchasing electronics from the internet in the majority of cases. It’s much less common for a thief to be specifically interested in your data”.
Nevertheless, it’s wise to put in place as many obstacles as you can in order to thwart potential data thieves. While you may be thinking that your impossible to guess password is enough (after all, it goes a little something like this…. U?Leheh67O!!fwyg). But we’ve got news for you – it’s not. Your thief just so happens to be a little smarter than most. He’s going to remove the hard drive to get into your data. Luckily, by encrypting your hard drive with Apple’s FileVault app, you’ll be prepared. Here’s the steps…
- Click the Apple icon at the top of your screen, select System Preferences, and click the Security & Privacy icon.
- Click the Turn On FileVault
- FileVault will ask for your Apple ID (which allows you to access your drive if you forget your local/Mac username and password)
- 1. If you’d prefer not to tie your encryption to a (potentially hackable) online account you can choose a recovery key instead, but keep it safe!
Done! Your Mac will now encrypt its hard drive (this may take several days, so you might want to leave your Mac on overnight).
2. Seriously consider installing an app other than just ‘Find my MacBook’
Let’s just take a moment to see how Find my MacBook compares to a meaty, premium macOS tracking and protection app…
Comparison between Find my MacBook and a premium app
|Find my Mac||Hidden|
|GPS real-time tracking||✔
|Secure remote lock?||✔
|Play a sound?||✔
|iSight pictures of thief / new user?||X||✔|
|Spoken message alerts?||X||✔|
It’s clear – the premium app offers plenty of extra features that beef up your Mac’s level of security, so you should seriously consider installing one if you want the best chance possible of recovering your Mac should the worst happen.
Now, what about those of you who are here because you have a missing MacBook on your hands?
Stolen MacBook? First - Report it to the police
First things first, let the police know when it was stolen, where from and anything that you remember to be suspicious about the events that day. While it’s often in the media that iPhone and MacBook owners have had to track down their own devices, it can’t hurt, can it?
Next - Remotely log out of all your online sessions
Such as Gmail (just click on details, found in the bottom right hand corner, then select sign out of all other web sessions. Next, sign out of Facebook right here.
Third – Use Find my Mac
- Sign in to iCloud.comon another computer
- Download the Find My iPhone App for iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- Locate on the map, lock the mac, play a sound (useful if you’ve lost your Mac in the house) or remote erase your Mac.
Key question: Can I remotely turn on Find my MacBook?
In a word, no. Find my iPhone and Find my Mac always requires physical possession of the device to be set up. Here’s the official word from Apple as to what to do next if you don’t have Find my Mac installed…
If you can’t find your Mac
”Find My Mac is the only service that can help track or locate a lost Mac. If you didn’t set up Find My Mac before your Mac was lost, or yo can’t locate it these steps might help you protect your data:
- Change your Apple ID password to prevent anyone from accessing your iCloud data or using other services (such as iMessage or iTunes) from your Mac.
- Change your passwords for other accounts you use with your Mac, including email, banking, and social sites like Facebook or Twitter.
- Report your lost or stolen Mac to local law enforcement. They might request the serial number of your computer. You can find this information on the original box or receipt you received when you purchased your Mac.
Hidden – it’s the app that protects your Apple devices, and your privacy.
Using proven technology, Hidden tracks your missing Macbook, iPad or iPhone and collects the evidence needed to get them back. And don’t worry. Your personal information stays locked away, too.