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Find My iPhone feature receives real-world test

updated 03:35 pm EDT, Mon June 22, 2009

Find My iPhone in real use

Apple's Find My iPhone feature, which locates missing devices through iPhone 3.0 and a MobileMe subscription, has received what may have been its first practical test. Blogger Kevin Miller notes that while in Chicago for a Lego convention, an iPhone of his disappeared after visiting a bar. Unable to find it at the bar, Miller turned to a friend's MacBook Pro, which could access MobileMe using a 3G USB modem.

While efforts were unsuccessful at first, a location for the phone was eventually narrowed down to a Puerto Rican neighborhood on Medill Street, while Miller continued sending messages asking for the finder to call a number and claim a reward. Miller and his friends eventually traveled to Medill, and sent a new message, claiming that they already knew where to find the phone. The group patrolled the block, and finally managed to flush the phone into movement by sending a Spanish message threatening to call the police.

Following Mobile Me's location circle, the group managed to track the thief down to a bus stop, and successfully ask for the phone back without incident. The battery on the phone is claimed to have died moments afterward, having been called and messaged repeatedly overnight.

Although happy with the end result, Miller complains that a missing iPhone should be able to push location data to users, and that its location alert sound should ignore volume settings. It is also said to be inconvenient that one iPhone cannot be used to find another, due to problems accessing in the mobile version of Safari.

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. joecab

    Joined: Dec 1969


    uh oh

    get ready for a bunch of whining taking you to task for pointing out it was a neighborhood of any kind of nationality whatsoever (which the author only mentioned to contrast his own whiteness and why he stood out like a sore thumb)

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It shouldn't be his fault because he can't keep track of a $200-$500 device! It's Apple's fault for not making the searching for said device better.

    And don't you get into any kind of privacy concern if you could do all they whined about lacking?

    And don't Puerto Ricans know to turn off the stolen phones?

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    self destruct mode

    How about we go a step further and instead of just remote wipe, give it a self destruct mode, at the very least rendering it inoperable to even firmware hacks. Personally I'd go so far as to have the thing burn up in someone's pocket but I guess Apple can't legally add that in.

    Yes I've had my iPhone stolen.

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Kinda Dumb

    These person had no idea what kind of situation they might have been getting into. They should have gotten the police involved as soon as they realized the phone was most likely stolen and not just miss placed. This could easily been with 'incident'.

  1. Chris Hutcheson

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Self destruct mode

    Or a burst of radioactivity that would sterilize the thief.

  1. ebeyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If Woody had ...

    If Woody had just contacted the police,
    none of this would have happened.

    Seriously, I don't think Apple wants to
    encourage vigilantism in retrieving
    their products.

  1. afaby

    Joined: Dec 1969



    All of you people claiming that the police would have lifted a finger have obviously never dealt with the police before. In my old apartment building I had to call them numerous times for noisy neighbors, fighting in the streets, etc. Not once did they bother to come around. The only time they showed up was when I had to call to report a dead body on the sidewalk due to a gang shooting.

    Contacting them to get them to do something about your missing iPhone would result in the police laughing in your face for wasting their time. I would have done the same thing in this situation.

  1. trenchcoat77

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Maybe in Mayberry

    Andy or Barney would have helped you. Anywhere else, fuhgetaboutit.

  1. martinX

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Glove up.

    "Once the bloggers butt began ringing, he realised he'd sat on it at the last bar and it was now hopelessly wedged in an inaccessible place."

  1. russellb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Find Me

    I think it will always be the case, Apple introduce something thats pretty good on a product and all people can do is ignore the benefit of the feature and cray that it does not to more ... thats the price Apple pays for putting out great products

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