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Like this article? We recommend 4. Your iPad Gets Lost or Stolen

4. Your iPad Gets Lost or Stolen

As soon as you purchase a new iPad and start using it (or as soon as you're done reading this article), take two important preventative measures. First, set up the free Find My iPad feature offered by Apple, and second, purchase third-party insurance for your tablet which covers loss or theft. (Apple's own AppleCare extended warrantee does not cover loss, theft, or most damage accidentally caused by the user.)

Also, if you're concerned about protecting classified or sensitive data that's stored on your iPad, also turn on the passcode feature to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your tablet. To do this, launch the Settings app from the Home Screen, and tap the General option that's displayed on the left side of the screen. Next, tap the Passcode Lock option that's displayed on the right side of the screen to turn this feature on and then follow the on-screen prompts for setting up a four-digit passcode or a longer alphanumeric password.

When you upgrade to iOS 5 or purchase a new iPad 2 that has iOS 5 pre-installed, part of the initial set-up process includes activating the Find My iPad feature. However, you can launch the Settings app and turn on this feature anytime, whether you're running iOS 4.3.3 (or earlier) or iOS 5.

Find My iPad allows you to use any computer or device that's connected to the Internet to find your iPad's exact location on a map. Once the feature is activated on your iPad, go to http://www.me.com/find. (After iOS 5 is launched and MobileMe gets phased out, a new URL for accessing Find My iPad will probably be announced by Apple.)

Enter your Apple ID and password, and within a few seconds, a map will be displayed showing the exact location of your tablet.

For this feature to work, however, your iPad 2 must be turned on and have either a 3G or Wi-Fi connection to the Internet. After it's located is pinpointed, from whatever device you're using to connect to the web, you can send a message to your iPad that will be displayed on the screen, or you can have it emit an audio alert. It's also possible to remotely erase its contents.

Apple recently upgraded the Find My iPad feature, allowing the free service to keep checking if an iPad gets turned on, if you initially perform a search and discover that it's powered off or not connected to the web.

If your iPad is running iOS 4.3.3 or earlier, to set up Find My iPad on your tablet, access the Settings app from the Home Screen. Next, select the Mail, Contacts, Calendars option, and either create a free MobileMe account (using your Apple ID), or access your existing MobileMe account.

If you're creating a new MobileMe account, it must be verified before the "Find My iPad" service will work. From the MobileMe account screen, scroll down and turn on the "Find My iPad" feature. Confirm this option by tapping the "Allow" icon when prompted.

On an iPad that's running iOS 5, from the Settings app, tap the iCloud feature that's listed on the left side of the screen. Then, on the right side of the screen, tap the Find My iPad option, and make sure the virtual switch that's associated with this feature is turned on. You'll need to have a free iCloud account set up.

Assuming you cannot locate a lost or stolen iPad, if you have third-party insurance, the hardware will be replaced for a $50.00 deductible. Otherwise, you'll need to invest in the purchase of a new iPad and use the Restore from Backup option to replace your data on the new device.

Two companies that offer iPad 2 insurance, for less than $50.00 per year, are The Worth Ave Group (http://www.worthavegroup.com/ipad) and SquareTrade (http://www.squaretrade.com/pages/ipad-landing).

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