Q. I heard that I can use my iPhone to find my parked car. Can you tell me how that works? I don’t like to admit this, but sometimes I forget where I parked my car. If I’m shopping in a big mall, forgetting where my car is parked can be a big problem.
My friends and family make fun of me because I just don’t pay attention to where I park my car. I’m afraid someday I’ll go on a long trip and forget where I parked my car at the airport when I get back.
Is there an app I can get to find my car?
A. You heard right. Your iPhone can find your parked car with a tool called Find My Parked Car that debuted in iOS 10 last September. You don’t need to add an app to your phone, this new feature works in Apple Maps, an app that comes pre-loaded onto your phone.
Find My Parked Car can help you locate your vehicle when you’ve parked on a city street or in a large parking lot, such as a shopping mall, sports stadium or amusement park . You can also use this feature when you’re driving a rental car and don’t remember exactly what your car looks like.
You can even use this tool in a multi-level parking garage to remember where you parked your car.
What You Need to Use Find My Parked Car
You need a few things for Find My Parked Car to work.
1. iOS 10. You need to update your iPhone to iOS 10. If you haven’t done that yet, then this Find My Parked Car feature may be just the reason you need to update.
iOS 10 is a free update, available for iPhone 5 and later.
2. Bluetooth and/or Apple CarPlay in your car. Your iPhone needs to connect with your car to know where you’ve parked it and when you’ve walked away.
Find My Parked Car won’t work if:
- Your car doesn’t have Bluetooth
- You haven’t paired your phone to your car
- Your iPhone has Bluetooth turned off when you park your car
3. Frequent Locations needs to be enabled. Go to: Settings => Privacy => Location Services => System Services => Frequent Locations and turn it on.
How to Turn On Find My Parked Car
You need to turn on Find My Parked Car in Settings:
Open the Settings app => Maps
Scroll down to Find Parked Location
Slide the switch to turn it on.
How to Use Find My Parked Car to Find Your Car
After you’ve turned on Find My Parked Car, you can see where your car is located when you park it and walk away.
There are two ways to find your parked car.
1. Use Notifications
You will receive a notification that Find My Parked Car has marked the location of your car:
Tap that notification to open the Maps app with a map showing the location of your parked car.
2. Open the Apple Maps App
On your home screen, tap the Maps app icon. You will see a map with your location marked by a blue dot.
Your car’s location will also be marked on the map:
More Information to Help You Find Your Parked Car
Tap on the parked car icon to get more information about the location of your car. You will see options to Edit Location and get Directions, so your phone can act like a GPS to guide you to your car.
You will also see how long your car has been parked in that location.
You can add a note, such as “parked on the 4th level.” This comes in handy when you’re parked in a multi-level parking garage, as Find My Parked Car does not tell you the altitude of the car.
There is also a space to add a photo. Tap the square with Add Photo to open the camera app and take a picture.
Did you know you could use your iPhone to find your parked car? Have you ever lost your car in a parking lot or on a city street? Have you used Find My Parked Car?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!
* Mall parking lot image (edited) courtesy of Daniel Oines via Flickr and Creative Commons
Voice of America Learning English
Fans of tech who want to learn English should check out my personal technology column at Voice of America Learning English. This week’s article is: Twitter Update Lets Users Block People and Words