Last week, I experienced a scare when I couldn’t find my
right hand iPhone after a series of stops in Burlington. At the point at which semi-panic set in, I found myself digging through my car, desperately trying to locate it, for the better (nope) part of half an hour. To my dismay, it wasn’t there, and I had to plan my next steps.
I made my way back to the S. Burlington store to get online to use Find My iPhone with the hope that it would show me exactly where it absconded to (sorry for ending this sentence with a preposition — I couldn’t resist the opportunity to use the word “absconded.”) Anyway, I logged into iCloud.com and got to sleuthing.
I clicked on Find My iPhone, and it located it within a minute. It was in car, moving swiftly down the highway. Important: Not my car.
I’ll spare you the details since this was likely the result of a misunderstanding and get to the part that you’ll need to know/have if this ever happens to you. Everyone knows that the Find My iPhone app/technology is cool, but until you have to use it, you never realize just how much, and that the process of retrieving your phone if it’s actually with someone else rather than lost in your couch cushions requires certain info.
Here are my tips to protect yourself:
Register your phone when you buy it.
This not only protects your warranty, but it also provides a way for you to look up your serial number if it’s ever stolen. The police ask for this as part of their report, and you have access to your serial number no matter where you are — so even if your receipt is stored at home or you’ve thrown it (or the original box) out, you can get that crucial (and time-sensitive) data to the authorities when they need it.
Set up Find My iPhone.
Duh. I’m so glad I took the time to do this because it let me know exactly where my phone was once I accessed it in iCloud. There are three options once you locate it: Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase iPhone. It’s important to note that the latter two will render your phone untrackable; I chose not to select those because I wanted to still see where my phone was headed. Whether you choose to use those or not depends on your situation. Playing the sound would also potentially alert the person with the phone to the fact that you know it’s gone, so evaluate that as well. Find My iPhone also displays your battery’s charge, which was extremely helpful for me because I knew that its time on was numbered. Once the battery goes dead, it’s also (obviously) not trackable.
Bookmark this site.
Log in to Apple’s Support Profile page with your iCloud information, and there, you will be able to view all of your (registered) Apple devices and computers. This was my saving grace, since I didn’t have my serial number accessible any other way when I was at the store. (Note: We record a device’s serial number on the original invoice, but I had swapped out my iPhone 5 for another model recently, so the data wasn’t accurate.)
All’s well that ends well, and I got my phone back that day. It was a great lesson in why registering your valuables is essential!