With thefts taking place on campus all the time, it is important to never leave your valuables unattended. There have been reports of stolen laptops, phones and textbooks. In most cases, the owner never gets them back. My iPhone was stolen from campus and under normal circumstances I never would have gotten it back. However, because of an amazing app called "Find My iPhone," I was able to track down my phone.
In Fall 2011, I was at school late for an event. I went to the bathroom and forgot my iPhone by the sink. When I realized that my phone was missing, I checked the bathroom and didn't find it. I remembered the "Find My iPhone" app that uses GPS to find your iPhone. But there's one catch: the phone needs to be turned on. When I signed in with my Apple ID on MobileMe.com, the phone could not be located. However, it gave me the option to lock my phone, erase my data, and/or display a message on the screen once the phone was turned back on. I locked my phone and left a message for the person who had it, and started refreshing the page literally every minute to see if they had turned the phone on yet.
The phone was turned on at around 1 a.m., and I located it at a home not too far from campus. I got a hold of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) because I didn't want to go to a random person's house in the middle of the night by myself. I went to the station to fill out a theft report, but the police didn't seem too interested in helping me. They thought I was nuts to be up this late searching for my phone. But to me, it was worth it for a $600 phone that was a gift from my boyfriend. Two cops finally agreed to escort me to the home. Whoever had answered the door claimed that only old people lived there, and to try across the street. The cops were fed up with me at this point, so they just called it a night.
The person who had my phone had shut my phone back off because the next day I couldn't locate it again. Everyone was telling me to give up on getting it back, but I didn't want to since I knew where my iPhone was located. That night, the phone was turned on and pointed to the same location as before. I called my friend and asked her and her brother to go to the house to see what they can do. That was the best decision I could have made because if I had gone to the house myself, I would have been so angry with the person that they probably would have felt attacked and denied having my phone. My friends went to the house and asked if anyone from the house had found an iPhone, because the GPS tracked it to this address. The girl who answered the door denied having the phone and said she would ask her family when they got home. My friend asked her to call if it turned up.
Ten minutes after my friends left the house the phone rang. The girl said that her mom had found an iPhone in the girl's bathroom at school and was planning to return it. I'm not sure how true that story is; what I do know is that having "Find My iPhone" helped me more than the campus police and the Chicago Police. The next day I went back to their house with my friend and got the iPhone back.
My advice to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, is to download the "FindMyiPhone" app. It is free and the best chance you have to find an Apple device that was stolen or misplaced.
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