Free app to track lost iPhone

December 28, 2011

A family in Delaware learned just how well this now feature works.

Gregory Lowe spent last week sweating it out over his iPhone after it was stolen from a local gym.

"I put my phone in my locker to go get a shower. When I came back, all my other stuff was there, but my phone was gone," explained Gregory.

But eight days later, Gregory's parents found it at the Apple store at the Christiana Mall, with the help of the device-tracking app.

"Someone was trying to activate it as my parents were in there looking for it," Gregory said.

When Gregory first got his iPhone, he turned on the 'Find My iPhone' app. That meant, he could then go to from any computer to access a map that pinpointed his phone's location.

"It's right on the home page, you click it, and it will locate your phone wherever it is at the time or when it was on last, and you just have to keep checking that and keep checking that as much as you can to find out who has it," said Gregory.

For 'Find My iPhone' to work, the device you are looking for does have to be on. When Gregory's dad saw the phone was on at the Christiana Mall, Delaware State Police moved in, confiscated the device and returned it to Gregory.

"In this particular case, it illustrates the value of having tracking devices or software applications on your cell phones, tablets, or computers," said Delaware State Police Sgt. Paul Shavack.

That's right, you can use the 'Find My iPhone' app to track other Apple devices.

That's how a California man got back his stolen iPad. He tracked the device to the alleged burglar's house, called police, and then used the tracking program to set off an alarm on his iPad.

"I asked the suspect, 'What is that noise I'm hearing?' And he said, 'Oh it's my cell phone,' at which time I told him, 'Just have a seat for me, and I'll find your phone for you.' As I was looking for the cell phone, I found the iPad and the other items that were taken from the residence," explained Deputy Dustin Morales from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office.

And if you have another kind of smart phone or device, don't worry, there are many types of tracking services.

"Some are provided by the service provider such as Blackberry, Microsoft, for its Windows Mobile phone, and there are a number of Android services that are out there," said Rob D'Ovidio, from Drexel University Cyber Crime and Forensics.

The services are free, but you have to set yourself up to be able to use it.

"Users need to pro-actively go in and turn that feature on," explained D'Ovidio.

Many apps also let you remotely lock your device or wipe your information off them, which is another good feature. So even if your device ends up in the wrong hands, your personal information will not.


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