After finding out that my Mom was sick last year this past year has been about making the most of our time together, her enjoying experiences and recording all those experiences in many videos and photos on her iPhone. Since my Mom moved from using a Blackberry to an iPhone she has become incredibly attached to her phone. So you can imagine how upset she was last week when she lost her phone at Cape Town Airport.
I had just arrived back in London from a trip to South Africa and was passed out on the couch only to be woken from frantic phone calls about my Mom’s missing phone. (Read further on for steps on how to find a lost Apple device.) I quickly logged onto the iCloud from my pc by opening an internet browser and typed “www.icloud.com”.
Once I had logged in successfully I then clicked on the Find iPhone application.
A page with a drop down menu appears where you can choose a device from All Devices. After clicking on the iPhone device, the application tries to locate the device. I got a response saying that a connection could not be made to the phone. This confirmed that the phone was definitely switched off as the location of the phone could not be seen. My Dad had mentioned to me earlier that they tried to call the phone and it rang at first but then it was switched off.
You will also be able to see 3 options for your device: Play Sound, Lost Mode and Erase iPhone. Lost Mode lets you remotely lock the device, track its location, and compose a personalized message that will display on its lockscreen if someone powers the device on. I clicked on the Lost Mode option and followed the instructions to enter a number and add a custom message. This now meant that when the phone was switched on the person wouldn’t be able to do anything with the phone other than call the number specified in the message. Unless of course the person manages to figure out what the passcode on the phone is… another good reason why you should have a passcode other than 1234 😉 You can now also set up a 6 digit passcode with iOS 9. Entering the passcode will disable the Lost Mode and will also send an email to say that the phone has been unlocked. You could then decide whether to use the Erase Phone option.
I remained logged into the iCloud on my PC and kept checking Find My iPhone to see if my Mom’s phone had been switched on and if a location had been found. Luckily a few hours later this is exactly what happened. The phone was switched on and an email was sent stating the exact location of the phone. I’ve blanked out the address in the image below.
By then my Dad had called the airport police and told them the situation as well as the location of the device. About an hour after that, the person with my Mom’s phone called. She said that she had the phone and would take it to the airport police the following morning. Whatever the reasons were for the return of my Mom’s phone, this amazing technology played a big role. My Mom’s phone has now been returned to her. She is back online, in touch with the world again and she has all her memories with her again! 😀
Note: In iOS 9, Find My iPhone is automatically turned on during the iPhone set-up process if you enable iCloud. Check this under Settings -> iCloud -> Find My iPhone. This means you do not need to install the app on your phone for this service to work because it’s based in the cloud. But if you’re trying to hunt down your device while you’re on the move, doing it from another phone where the app is installed is usually easier than using a laptop.
22/07/2016: I would like to reshare this post as part of the “Impact of technology on your life” topic for the Technology theme on The Blog Tag this week. I believe that if it were not for the amazing app on the iPhone my Mom would most probably not have had her phone returned to her.
If you would like to take part in the fun on The Blog Tag click on the link or the picture below.