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My question is simple, does send last location work even when location services are off? What are the minimal settings one needs to make it work?

Currently this is what I have:

  • Location services are always off;
  • iCloud sync is off except for find my iPhone;
  • In Settings > iCloud > Find my iPhone:
    • Find my iPhone is enabled;
    • Send last location is enabled;
  • Bluetooth is off;
  • Cellular network is usually on only when I'm outside; and
  • Wi-Fi is usually on only when I'm inside.

Related Update: With the above settings, namely with location services off and the cellular network on, I enabled lost mode via iCloud and, because there is an Internet connection:

  • the iPhone automatically enabled location services showing its location on the iCloud map; and
  • iCloud sent me an email with the approximate location of the iPhone.

This means one can have location services off, knowing that should the need arise the device can still be found as long as it has access to the Internet.

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Location services need to be turned on in order for Send Last Location to work. If it's turned off, like you have it, no location will be tracked.

You can turn on Location Services in Settings > Privacy > Location Services and then turn off Location Services for each individual app if you don't want the apps to have it. Unfortunately, that's the only way to do it.

  • I was kind of hoping it would still work, perhaps by temporarily enabling location services to send the last location and switching it off again afterwards. Or by using an approximate location through the network connection. – Daniel Jul 19 '16 at 10:49
  • In relation to the main question, do you know if enabling lost mode in iCloud will force the iPhone to switch on location services? Assuming I have an Internet connection (wifi or cellular). Given my setup, this would still allow me to find the smartphone. – Daniel Jul 19 '16 at 10:51
  • I can't definitively say 'yes' or 'no' to that question. All the research I did investigating your question indicated Location Services needed to be on for Send Last Location to work. I'm not aware of anything that will 'force' the iPhone to switch on Location Services if it's turned off on the iPhone. – fsb Jul 19 '16 at 11:43

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