Can Apple track down my stolen Macbook through IP addresses?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by kandnic, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    #1
    Hey

    Just wondering if anyone knows if Apple can track down my macbook that was stolen last Thursday from my house?

    They have told me they can't, but I find that hard to believe. Surely when a person logs my computer onto the internet and it searches for software updates (which it does automatically) Apple could trace its location couldn't they??

    I am sure everyone can hear the desperation in my typing....my Mac had all my photos and stuff on it and the AH stole it before I had a chance to back them up on my new iMac. I am desperate to get them back and am trying to exhaust all avenues....

    K
     
  2. macrumors 6502

    atticus18244fsa

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Waterloo, ON
    #2
    I doubt Apple would ever help you out plus there's absolutely no way for them to find your IP (that's if for some reason they even transmit your serial number when update checking) without a lot of work. I suggest installing Prey on your system (or new system) when you get it back. It would help you tracks your computer yourself if it's stolen.

    http://preyproject.com/
     
  3. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #3
    Unfortunately, it's not possible for Apple to do this. They may have a record of all serial numbers of Macs purchased, but there aren't IP addresses associated with those serial numbers. Apple was telling you the truth. Besides, even if Apple did know, all they would do would be to give the information to the local authorities. Apple is in no way obliged to find your computer, nor is it remotely profitable for them to do so. If you know your Mac's IP, go to the police, as that will be your best bet.

    I highly recommend Prey as well.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #4
    Thanks so much.. That prey program is awesome. Ive just started travelling around the states and this is a wicked idea. And its free. If they release an iphone app as well that would be great as well....I reported my macbook lost and it did exactly what it said it would do and took a photo of my and located the address im currently at. Brilliant product...
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #5
    The short answer is, No. Not gonna happen.

    The long answer is... when you connect to a network the only unique identifier visible on the network is your MAC address; your serial number at no point is ever a fixture of any packets. Your MAC address is a unique number sequence used to identify your network card (yes, your internal ethernet jack & your wifi card will both have unique MAC's.) An IP Address is simply a construct used to identify your network card on your respective subnet. Often your IP will change based on a number of factors such as time, location, or which port you are plugged into for examples. Further, your IP typically can't be used to track down your precise location without intervention on behalf of the respective ISP. In order to do what you want someone would have to first off know the MAC of the laptops' NIC, track it down to an associated IP (not logistically feasible), and then have the ISP track down the IP with an associated physical address. It's simply not going to happen.

    The only way would be if you had some sort of tracking software installed in your laptop. However, these are only good assuming the culprit that stole the laptop is an idiot and connects it to the internet as it is/was. If software can be installed to track it down, it can also be just as easily uninstalled. Some laptops even build these features into the system's BIOS, but even these too can by bypassed with minimal effort. The trick is being aware of them and not taking any chances. Then again, many criminals aren't very bright to begin with so the recovery rate with services like this is decent.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    atticus18244fsa

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    Waterloo, ON
    #6
    Yep it's a great program. Hopefully we both never have to use it for real though.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    #7
    ***Sigh***:(

    Thanks everyone for your posts. I guess I am just grasping for straws at this point.

    It is so upsetting that they have stolen my computer with all of my photos on it. I can't make my son 2 again, which means they are gone forever.

    So many people have told me I should have backed up onto an external hard drive. Good in theory, but the thief stole that too.

    I guess all I can do is register the laptop as being stolen with Apple, and prey that it breaks down coz the hopefully the person will be stupid enough to take it to an Apple repairer. Am I right in understanding from Apple that not just anyone can fix these things? PLease tell me that I can at least trust in that....:eek:
     
  8. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #8
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Sorry for hijacking the thread. I just have one more question to ask about prey. Prior to installing prey I had a password set that you needed to login to the computer when turning it on. But from what I gather about Prey needing an Internet connection to work, it's best that I take my login password off and allow a thief to use my laptop in hope that he will connect it to the Internet so prey can work.

    So basically it's more of a risk in giving acces to all my stuff in hope of locating it.
     
  9. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    #9
    check pawn shops in your neighborhood and maybe craigslist to see if you see your mac
     
  10. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #10
    You're kind of correct. Apple is not the only person who can repair Macs, but generally computer repair shops will not offer services to repair Macs unless they're Apple Certified. So, no not anyone will generally repair them, but at the same time Apple isn't the exclusive repairer of Macs.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #11
    There's a reason most shops don't advertise that they will fix Mac's. Apple's lawyers tend to send cease and desist letters to companies that even mention servicing Apple products unless they are an authorized service center. I speak from personal experience here.
     
  12. tug
    macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    loughborough. u.k.
    #12
    thanks for this mate, just installed it on my mac. you can surely pick great stuff up from this forum,love it. :)
     
  13. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #13
    Theft is a fact of life. For anyone reading this thread here's my advise. This applies to any computer OS
    1. Install Prey
    2. Dropbox (2GB free and it's 256bit SSL encrypted)
    3. A NAS for local backup like QNAP or Synology (avoid D-Link junk). Also make sure the NAS supports either Time Machine (OS X) or has some form of Windows backup support (most do).
    4. Make sure your homeowners insurance covers computer theft, most do and will offer full replacement value.
    5. If you're on the road you might consider a Kensington lock.

    PS for iOS devices use the free Find My iPhone app.
     
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Location:
    Cambridge, UK
    #14
    You can create a guest account that has no admin rights and will not let the guest user see files from your regular account. But he/she can still use the web.

     
  15. macrumors newbie

    DamonDash

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2015
    #15
    Yes They Can. Call the Police and file a report. Show the your proof of purchase etc. They will Ping the IP address and get it. They done it for me.
    IS THERE AN UPDATE ?
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Location:
    Colorado
    #16
    This thread was from 2011 and the OP hasn't been back since April 2011.
     
  17. macrumors newbie

    naw103

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    #17
    I was also just told by apple customer service that if I include the serial number of my macbook in the police report it will automatically get flagged as stolen to apple and if a member of law enforcement contacts apple then they can do a search and find the location of the macbook, even if the theifs have replaced the harddrive as the serial number is tied in to several other parts of the system. They will not provide this info to just anyone and they do not monitor the serial number after it is reported stolen but they can manually find it.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #18
    Actually, if you're using IPv6, which is enabled by default, the MAC address is embedded within the IPv6 address. So technically, it is possible to track down the computer, given its MAC address, using its IPv6 address.

    However, that it's technically possible doesn't mean that Apple can or will do it.

    Also, it is possible for the user to change the addresses, so the method is not fool proof.
     
  19. macrumors 604

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    #19
    I have no doubt that Apple could if they wanted but you must understand that thousands of laptops are stolen every day and the last thing Apple would want to do it get into that big mess. You are mad now as no one like stuff stolen from them but it has been years now and someone woke your old thread !!!
     
  20. macrumors 604

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    #20
    You must have been dreaming all of this. We would be lucky to get our police to fill out a theft form. hey would never help recover like you said above.
     
  21. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2015
    Location:
    Maastricht, The Netherlands
    #21
    Thank you for the Prey link (and reminder). I had it installed on my phone for ages, but completely forgot about it. Installed it immediately on my rMB :)
     

Share This Page