Have you ever had to use this feature? I hope you never do… It’s been one of the most stressful hours of my year! Here’s a brief summary of my trauma.
Yesterday morning I drove into Auckland with my dad to see the All Blacks play Ireland, at a sports bar. We were going to meet my brother who lives in town and on the way I realised I’d left my iPhone at home (or so I’d thought), which is unusual for me as I carry it EVERYWHERE! I then spent the entire game experiencing what life can be like without a phone to fill in all those little spare moments; browsing Twitter, reading the news etc.
When we got home I turned the lounge upside down looking for the phone in the place I ‘thought’ it was. It wasn’t! Enter, increased heart rate and an impending insurance claim and panic! This is when you realise you can ‘ping’ your phone on your Apple Watch. Lots of listening later and we still can’t find it.
So the next step is to launch into iCloud.com where you can search for your phone on the ‘Find my iPhone’ app. This needs to be activated in your phone settings and uses location setting to show you where your phone is. I’ve used this years ago when we discovered my phone was done the back of the couch in my old classroom.
When we saw where my iPhone was pinging, we realised why we couldn’t hear the pinging; it was showing up exactly where we had parked earlier that morning! Worse than that, it looked like someone had it in an apartment block across the road.
Now this is where all the worse case scenarios go racing through your mind. Some ratbag has my phone, they’ve hacked into it (I have the finger scanner enabled but the worse number passcode ever imagined to let the kids get into it if they need to) and are looking through my photos, accessing my information and who knows what else!
The ‘Find my iPhone’ app online lets you put the phone into ‘lost mode’ which puts a message on the screen with a contact phone number. That obviously assumes that you’re dealing with a first class citizen who doesn’t consider finding a $1300 phone a stroke of luck and decides to do the right thing. I always hope there are people like that out there, but when it’s your phone on the line then the likely hood of that happening is 1000 to 1.
So what to do next? Frantically on your brother to race down there and ask anyone who would listen if they’ve seen or found a phone. While he was doing this the phone location seemed to move across the road, to a car rental lot. Someone was walking around with it! Or so I thought. Actually, it turned out that the signal was just updating and relocating the exact position.
How did this end up? It turns out that my brother was the hero on the day and found it sitting in the gutter, on its side so making it very hard for anyone to see. And it had no scratches! What are the chances.
So here’s the moral of the story:
- Enable the ‘Find my iPhone’ feature in your iPhone settings. The process can be seen here.
- Make sure you have a secure password!
- Look the phone up on iCloud.com as soon as you suspect it’s missing and enable the ‘lost mode’ asap. This locks it down and displays a message that you choose to display.
- Notify the police as soon as you can. If you think that the phone is not going to be returned or found you should select the ‘erase my phone’ option.
- Don’t loose your phone in the first place. It’s too important… and not worth the stress!