House Break-in, Question re: Find My Device iCloud feature

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by jrlepage, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Hello all,

    Well, this sucks. My mother's house was broken into today. They kicked in the door and took a Sony flat-screen TV, her 11" MacBook Air w/Henge Dock, and her 27" LED Cinema Display. The silver lining is she wasn't home, the animals are unhurt and didn't run away, and they didn't ransack the place - those were the only items taken and everything was left neatly otherwise.

    My questions are the following:

    She has iCloud and the Find my Device option was enabled on her laptop. After logging in and tracking the device it currently says "offline." I'm not sure what to do at this point. I checked the "e-mail me when this device is found" box, which I assume will just send her iCloud an e-mail if/when the laptop connects to Wi-Fi.

    However, I'm not sure whether to click the "Remote Wipe" button or "Remote Lock" button, because I don't want that to affect our ability to locate the device in the event that they do turn it on and connect to Wi-Fi. In other words, if I remote wipe, will I still be able to track its location after that?

    I tried calling Apple, but the automated answering machine said "Apple does not have a system for reporting lost or stolen devices," so I got the impression that they don't want to be involved with helping recover something. I was hoping they could monitor it or trigger some super-duper stolen item recovery mode to help notify us if it was connected to Wi-Fi.

    Anyway, I would greatly appreciate any advice on the matter... What happens if they connect and then disconnect when I'm not sitting there clicking "refresh" over and over on the Find my Device screen? Will I miss its last location??

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help...
  2. macrumors demi-god


    Call the police ?

    I wouldn't wipe it just lock it. If its locked you can still track it .
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Sorry forgot to mention police were contacted and came out, and devices were reported stolen. They said that if the items described came up at a pawn shop it would raise some flags and they might be able to recover it.

    They tried locating fingerprints but said the burglars must've worn gloves because there were none to be found.

    If the device is locked, do you think that will impede the robber's ability to login to Wi-Fi and thereby impede the chances of locating it?

    My inclination is just to check the "e-mail me when the device is found" box and leave everything else as-is...

    Does anyone know - When it sends the e-mail after the device connects to Wi-Fi, does it give the most recent location? Or do you then have to login while it's still connected, refresh, and hope you caught it in time to find the location?
  4. macrumors 6502

    Sorry to hear. Does the Air allow you to set a password at boot up? If it does, was one set? If it doesn't can one simply not just erase all security software by doing a simple reinstall of OSX?
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Oh I'm sure there are ways around the remote lock feature... My concern is mainly 1) Locating it if at all possible so this ****** gets caught, or 2)If that's impossible, at least wipe my mother's data.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Update: They got on Wi-Fi. Have an exact location, took screenshot with Satellite view even showing the house where it is. Suprise, surprise, it's in a part of town known for drug dealers... Will update if it gets recovered. Called cops.
  7. macrumors member

    Thats great. please update when you know more
  8. macrumors demi-god


    If they only took certain items and didn't do anything else they have either been in the house or you know them or possibly everything is clearly on view from outside the property.

    Anyway don't lock or wipe that causes suspicion on there part and you'll lose the ability to track if it moves. Good luck with the cops!!
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Ugh, cops say they need serial number or proof of purchase to prove it's hers. Logged onto her Apple account but when she purchased at Apple Store she didn't have an Apple ID yet so it wasn't associated with her account for some reason... She also didn't have a receipt mailed to her. Is there any way for her to get her serial number another way?
  10. macrumors demi-god


    On the box
  11. macrumors regular

    This hasn't been mentioned yet, and maybe it doesn't need to be, but have her change ALL of her passwords, right now. I really hope that you are able to get it back.

    This won't help you this time, but if you get it back, consider more a more active solution than Find My Mac, I use Prey, and DeepFreeze which prevents anyone from formatting the device, I tried myself by formatting the drive, loading linux from a usb key, formatting again, and installing Ubuntu. It booted back into lion just as I had left it (no idea how that works, must be magic because it didn't even take very long to boot). Undercover is another program that is very similar (maybe better) than prey.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Thank you!!! I am praying she saved the box... She is digging through closets atm. One problem also is the location is not precise if I understand correctly - only gives a estimated location based on Wifi and the robbers may even be leeching off someone else's wifi... So I don't know how likely it is that cops can execute a search warrant based off this.


    She found the box! Calling police w/the serial number... My concern is whether they'll be able to search any houses in the area based solely off this location data given that it is based on Wi-Fi...
  13. macrumors demi-god


    Sorry to hear about this.

    Good luck!
  14. jrlepage, Sep 5, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    Wow, well as I suspected the police can't do anything right now based on this info. I just spoke w/a Sergeant who was very friendly and trying to be helpful, but legally there's just no way they can pinpoint which house to check - the most they could do would be a "knock and talk," but he said that he wouldn't want to tip them off and then it wind up being destroyed or what-not.

    He said if it was at a Panera or something like that, they could easily walk up to the person using the MacBook Air and ask to check the serial number. So he said my best chance would be to keep watching the location and see if we locate it somewhere more "distinct" where they can see it. There was a car in the driveway with tinted windows - he was hoping it was somewhere clearly visible, but fat chance on that.

    /sigh... So I guess we'll just keep watching the location. We changed all her passwords (thanks for the suggestion on that), but I'm still ambivalent about the remote wipe/lock. On one hand, it would be nice to send them a F-U (such as an on-screen pop-up message). On the other hand, we don't want to tip them off that we're onto them...



    Edit: Trying to think of some message to pop up that might actually trick them into going somewhere public with it... Like "The owner of this device has won a prize redeemable by showing the laptop to an Apple sales rep at location XYZ" or something lol. Any good suggestions? These may not be the brightest tools in the shed, so you never know...
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Sorry one more question/suggestion - is there any possible way to activate the video camera next time the person logs in and take a snapshot of their face?
  16. macrumors regular

    Not with iCloud. With the right software it's possible. One example is Prey, and it takes photos when reported stolen.
  17. macrumors 65816

    You don't want to hear this, but my advice is to let it go - the likelihood of you getting that computer back in usable condition, or catching the bad guys, is very, very low. I'd wipe it to protect you data (it will also piss off whoever took it), and file a claim with your Mom's homeowners insurance. If the cops wont get more actively involved, it's very doubtful you'll have a "feel good" ending to this story...

    Good luck...
  18. jrlepage, Sep 5, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    Bah, if only... I can't remember if I enabled the remote login feature when I was setting up her laptop. I'm guessing that wouldn't really help anyway since I imagine it's *very* obvious to the person on the other side if I were taking over the computer remotely.

    By the way, it just occurred to me that this probably belongs in the iCloud forum (if anywhere) based on the subject matter. If a mod wants to move it to that forum, by all means feel free.

    I will continue to update if we make any progress. Unfortunately I'm not very optimistic. Hopefully homeowner's insurance will cover the losses. Let this be a lesson to everyone that while the Find my Mac feature is certainly very handy, it certainly does not give police the right to start smashing in doors looking for your computer...

    Thanks, and I think you're probably right. It's just so frustrating knowing that it's out there in that one-block radius shown on this satellite picture I'm looking at, but that it's completely inaccessible. Amazing that someone can kick the door in on your house, take crap, and get off scott-free EVEN when you can pinpoint them within a one-block radius...

    P.S. To the person earlier who mentioned about it probably being someone we know or things in clear view -- There have been a number of people out to the house recently which makes it even more confusing. My father passed away a couple of months ago, so there has been hospice, home health, oodles of guests, etc.

    There has also been DirecTV repairmen, carpet installers, and furniture deliverymen. Also my mother lives in a relatively remote area, so her house is a good half-mile away from any other house. Being on a farm, she hires people to do farm work pretty regularly (weed-eating, handyman type jobs, etc.). So it's very difficult to know. :-/

    The laptop made it from the town she lives to a neighboring city 45 minutes away, to a part of town known for drugs. Really sucks.
  19. jrlepage, Sep 5, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    Well, the saga continues... My mother now got a warning that someone had signed into her Google account from a suspicious location. The IP address was a Verizon phone. So I don't know what's up with that,... someone tethering it to their phone? Would Verizon be able to identify the person assigned that IP or is that too CSI for the real world?

    Edit: /sigh, I think that was just her phone (she has Verizon) signing onto her gmail account and it was marked as suspicious because for some strange reason that IP she was assigned is based in Kansas rather than the state we live in. False alarm I think...

    Nonetheless, makes me wonder if there's a way to get the IP of her laptop. I wonder if Apple has access to any further information beyond what is available on iCloud...
  20. macrumors 65816


    I don't have anything to add other than I'm sorry to hear about the break-in. I've been the victim of a car being broke into and I know it's a horrible experience. Hopefully she has homeowners insurance to take some of the sting out of this crime.
  21. macrumors regular

    Yeah. We had our house broken into a few years back while we were at work and they got away with the wife's jewelry box and her crappy ready for an update laptop. So it wasn't all bad but still a horrible violation that makes you nervous just to be home by yourself even three years later. It's a horrible feeling. Best wishes to the OPs mom as the emotional scar will be way worse than the laptop. Good luck.
  22. macrumors member

    OP, I'm sorry this happened to your mother and it's fortunate she didn't get hurt. If you have your machine's serial number or Apple UID saved, it may be worth it to check your local craigslist listings or ebay for any new listings. Keep us up to date if you find anything.
    I didn't completely read each post until now: what information was given to you when you found out they "got on Wifi?"
  23. macrumors member

    Sorry for the bad experience, three years ago my car was stolen. Two ipods were lost, camera external flash and memory cards. Odds are, the people who broke into your mother's house will get caught committing another crime in the future and will go back to jail/prison, which is where they belong.
  24. macrumors 68040

    Personally... If this happened to me, the very first thing I would do it wipe the drive. My rationale is that the "expensive" risk is identity theft. The "cheap" risk is the computer.

    I always start with turning on FV2 on every computer as soon as I set it up. Then I turn on the "find my device" feature. I would not try to track a stollen device, nor would I try to find the thieves. I would just wipe it. Depending on the value of the computer, I might file a homeowner's claim.

  25. macrumors newbie

    Have you tried zooming in and changing the view to satellite ,so that you can see the houses.

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