Tracking Your lost/stolen iPhone
Apple's successful recipe is integrating its products into people's lifestyles. Having a great deal of knowledge about its users' habits, Apple knows that, when it comes to security, relying on the user's awareness of security threats is an insecure approach. That is why the company decided to integrate anti-theft features into its products, most notably the iPhone. Let's take a look at how you can track your iPhone if it gets stolen or you leave it accidentally at the bar after a night of drinking.
Security is based on one prerequisite: you need to expect that something bad can happen to your stuff in order to prevent it. People are reluctant to think about bad things happening to them, and they especially do not want to think that something bad can happen to their beloved iPhones. But yes, your iPhone can get stolen, or you can accidentally leave it in a public place. This is the very moment when you are going to start thinking, "Why didn't I think before"?
Fortunately, Apple thought before you about how to track your iPhone if you have lost it or if it has been stolen. That is why we love them :)
Good news for iOS 5 users
Tracking your iPhone with iOS 5 became way easier than before since a tracking feature is integrated into the operating system itself. Let's take a look at how it works.
During the upgrade from iOS 4 to iOS 4, a setup wizard will prompt you to enable the "Find my iPhone" feature. Just do it, and you will be able to see where your beloved device is located if it gets stolen. If you skipped this step, you can always turn it on by going to Settings-->iCloud and toggling on the "Find my iPhone" feature.
From now on, your iPhone is trackable through the website located at www.iCloud.com. To track your phone, just log into iCloud using your iTunes username and password. Then go to the "Find My iPhone" section of the site. A Google-powered map with your device's location will appear. Next, just click the device's icon on the map, and an info screen with the following choices will appear :
● Play Sound or Send Message — This is good when you have just noticed that someone grabbed your iPhone, and the thief just did not have time to escape from the place. The sound is really annoying, and it lasts for 2 minutes. The good thing is that this sound works even when your iPhone is on mute mode. With this function, you also locate a phone if you have just left it somewhere in your house. Sending a message works good on some thieves; they may agree to return the device or leave at the place you indicate when they receive a message like, "I know you have stolen my iPhone, jerk».
● Remote lock — You can remotely lock an iPhone with a 4-digit passcode to ensure that your private information remains private.
● Remote Wipe — Do this if you're sure that you will just not be able to get your iPhone back. Remember that after using remote wipe, you will not be able to track the iPhone once again.
All of these features work through iCloud, meaning that the iPhone needs to be connected to the Internet (Wi-Fi or 3G) in order for you to receive notification on the location of your device. Otherwise, it will not be able to share its GPS coordinates with the Find My iPhone service. But if the thief is dumb enough not to turn this service off on the iPhone itself and is using Wi-Fi at his home or at the cafe, do not waste your time, and go to police (unless your name is Chuck Norris).
iOS 4 and earlier
To tell you the truth, we have no idea why would anyone keep iOS 4 if there is a free iOS 5 update available. So, just update to iOS 5. If you still insist on keeping the previous firmware, you can install a "Find My iPhone" app right from the App Store. This is actually the same app as the one in iOS 5, but there it is a part of the system. In iOS 4, though, a thief can just uninstall it, and you will be out of luck then.
It is noteworthy that, since iOS 4.2, the "Find my iPhone" service has been completely free. Before that, the service would work only through the MobileMe service with an annual $99 fee.
By the way, the "Find MyiPhone" application also allows you to quickly locate your iPhone from any other iPod, iPad, or iPhone. So if your friend with an iPhone is around, just install this app on his phone, and you'll quickly reveal where your iPhone is located.
Other ways to track Your iPhone
iLocalis — This is a remote iPhone control application that allows you to do some pretty advanced stuff like sending text messages from your remote iPhone, remote audio recording, and blocking the uninstallation of the app. It requires a jailbroken iPhone with the Cydia store enabled, but it adds a good security enhancement: sending SMS from a stolen iPhone allows you to reveal the thief's number and invite him for a talk over a cup of coffee.
iHound — This application is available from the App Store and notifies you right when the device is plugged into someone's computer. If that computer has Internet access, you will get an email alert with the computer's IP address and his GPS location
Besides apps and security services, we advise you to record the device's serial number and IMEI Number. With this data in your hands, you can go to police and to your network operator. A mobile operator can use your IMEI Number to block the stolen phone from working in his network. To learn the IMEI number of any phone, enter the *#06# service code with the phone's keyboard, and press the Dial button
Apple has provided great tracking tools for you to track stolen and lost iPhones. All you need to do is use them with the understanding that your own brain is the best security/tracking device around.
This can occur if:
- The date on your device is incorrect. This can be set in Settings > General > Date & Time.
- Your iPhone is currently off or not connected to a data network (Edge, 3G or Wi-Fi). Wait a few minutes and try again.
- Location Services is not enabled on your device in Settings > General.
- The Find My iPhone slider is not enabled on your device in Settings > Mail, Contacts, and Calendars > your MobileMe account.
- You are living in a country where we do not offer this feature. This feature may not be available in all countries due to technical limitations or local law.
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