WWDC 2021 announced a number of new notable features for Apple—including iOS 15, which will let you search for your device through the Find My… app even if it’s been turned off. You will also be able to search for your iPhone if it’s been factory resetted.
With the iOS 15 update, your “switched off” phone won’t be fully switched off—it stays in a low-powered state for at least a few more hours. Your iPhone will act like an AirTag and allows any nearby iOS device to pick up the Bluetooth signal and send back its location.
Additionally, Apple says the location tracking will even work if the phone is reset to factory settings with Activation Lock enabled. So, if your stolen phone gets factory reseted, you would still be able to find it.
“Locate your devices using the Find My… network even after they have been turned off. This can help you locate a missing device that was low on battery power or that may have been turned off by a thief,” Apple says.
If you’d rather not have that feature and would rather actually turn off your iPhone, you will be able to do that in Settings. From there, you can disable the low-power Find My… mode—once iOS 15 is released.
While this is great news if you ever lose your phone with the upcoming iOS 15 update, it might be a bit worrying if you were to purchase a second hand phone from a seller you might not know that well—as a seller might be able to look for you even if the phone has been factory reseted.
Despite earlier rumours, if your phone is currently running on iOS 14 it will be able to receive the upcoming iOS 15 update. This includes the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus from 2015 as well as the first generation iPhone SE from 2016.