can iphone be tracked? or am I screwed

Raidersmojo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 3, 2005
207
12
Burton michigan
probably screwed I took such good care of my iphone and when I left the theater (for the last showing at night at all times) I can't find my iphone when I return home. I call the theater no one is there at night. I'm worried it slipped out of my pants when I was sitting down (which I don't know how only thing in there pushed deep down).

there is no way I or apple could look for the phone is there? or am I just royally screwed and out a 600 dollar device (which is probably pretty likely)
 

hexonxonx

macrumors 601
Jul 4, 2007
4,610
1
Denver Colorado
Unless the person who finds it is honest, don't expect to see it again. Keep calling your number as often as you can, who knows, you may be lucky.

Apple and AT&T can't really do anything to help you track it down. AT&T may be able to block it from being able to be used with a new number with whoever has it now, not 100% sure on that.
 

katie ta achoo

macrumors G3
May 2, 2005
9,170
2
i thought they had some thing where if you call AT&T and report the serial number they can send out a signal to prevent it from charging.

ask them about that
because after they view youtube and run down the battery, they'll be stuck with a paperweight... at least you'll get the satisfaction of knowing that they aren't having fun with your iphone!
 

j26

macrumors 65832
Mar 30, 2005
1,504
18
Paddyland
Report it to the phone company.

Every GSM phone has a unique IMEI code, which they can block on their system, and within a couple of hours, every GSM system in the world. The phone becomes a useless brick until they lift the block. My phone was nicked before and I called my company and they blocked it. The person who nicked it dropped it (presumably because they couldn't make calls), and it was recovered, and the company were able to lift the block, so I had my phone back, and no insane bill for international calls.
 

Steve1496

macrumors 6502a
Apr 21, 2004
601
0
As mentioned above, call AT&T and they can send a signal to block it from accessing the network. I would also try getting to the theater as soon as they opened to ask and go back to your seat. Depending on how lucky of a person you are, you just might find it!

As for tracking some carriers support cell tower triangulated GPS. AT&T doesn't, yet. The best they can do is prevent it from getting on the network.

Steve
 

mashoutposse

macrumors 6502
Dec 13, 2003
340
0
The theater is dark so it may have eluded detection by others. As long as the movie theater is open, I would halt the calls until you get back to your seat. You don't want someone else to notice the ringing and walk away with it.
 

Canuck4

macrumors 6502a
Jul 31, 2007
580
0
Try to go in as soon as the theater opens the next day.
Good luck bro, if its gone you're pretty much screwed.
 

jt2ga65

macrumors regular
Jul 1, 2007
197
0
Also, if you purchased the phone on a credit card, check if your card has a purchase protection plan included. I bought mine with my Amex, and they are covering the damage from a drop.

-jt2
 

taylorwilsdon

macrumors 68000
Nov 16, 2006
1,864
0
New York City
As mentioned above, call AT&T and they can send a signal to block it from accessing the network. I would also try getting to the theater as soon as they opened to ask and go back to your seat. Depending on how lucky of a person you are, you just might find it!

As for tracking some carriers support cell tower triangulated GPS. AT&T doesn't, yet. The best they can do is prevent it from getting on the network.

Steve
Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong, dunna dunna dunna dunnah dahhh wrong!

Sorry brah, doesn't work that way. CDMA carriers have the luxury of blacklisting stolen phones via ESN, but the same does not apply to GSM handsets and IEMI. Because the iPhone in specific happens to be locked to Cingular, they probably won't have much luck getting an iPhone SIM, but with a normal phone they can't do **** for you. I had two blackberries stolen and AT&T told me straight out that if the person switched the SIM to their own, it was gone forever (which they did, because it kept downloading my email for a few days afterwards)
 

NewSc2

macrumors 65816
Jun 4, 2005
1,043
0
New York, NY
Apple can't do anything from their side? It seems easy to have a system where stolen ihpone serial numbers are bricked by future updates, or warranty service is reported.
 

Steve1496

macrumors 6502a
Apr 21, 2004
601
0
talorwilsdon said:
Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong, dunna dunna dunna dunnah dahhh wrong!

Sorry brah, doesn't work that way. CDMA carriers have the luxury of blacklisting stolen phones via ESN, but the same does not apply to GSM handsets and IEMI. Because the iPhone in specific happens to be locked to Cingular, they probably won't have much luck getting an iPhone SIM, but with a normal phone they can't do **** for you. I had two blackberries stolen and AT&T told me straight out that if the person switched the SIM to their own, it was gone forever (which they did, because it kept downloading my email for a few days afterwards)
That's not true. This can be done on newer handsets. iPhone is locked to AT&T, and AT&T CAN blacklist IMEIs, since that information is sent to the network by handsets.


Apple can't do anything from their side? It seems easy to have a system where stolen ihpone serial numbers are bricked by future updates, or warranty service is reported.
Apple can enter it into their stolen serial database. If they call for support or bring it to an Apple Store, they would instantly know and could probably get it back. You call tech support to add your serial to the stolen #s database.
 

j26

macrumors 65832
Mar 30, 2005
1,504
18
Paddyland
Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong, dunna dunna dunna dunnah dahhh wrong!

Sorry brah, doesn't work that way. CDMA carriers have the luxury of blacklisting stolen phones via ESN, but the same does not apply to GSM handsets and IEMI. Because the iPhone in specific happens to be locked to Cingular, they probably won't have much luck getting an iPhone SIM, but with a normal phone they can't do **** for you. I had two blackberries stolen and AT&T told me straight out that if the person switched the SIM to their own, it was gone forever (which they did, because it kept downloading my email for a few days afterwards)
Good grief, how antiquated is your mobile phone system - they can't block a gsm phone?
 

G4R2

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2006
546
2
Apple actually does have the technical ability to track to a certain degree iPods, and by extension iPhones, via syncing on iTunes. It just doesn't do it, probably out of concern for privacy issues. There was actually a Dateline episode (that can be viewed online- link below) that addressed this subject within the context of iPod thefts. Dateline hired a firm to modify the iTunes software that it included on a CD with iPods that it left in public places. The iPods were then taken and the modified iTunes software let Dateline trace the iPods to the people who had taken them for the requisite confrontation.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20078671/

Of course this isn't available to iPod owners, it just demonstrates that the technology exists to trace the devices. Interestingly Apple has recently filed for a patent that basically prevent recharging of an iPod if it is synched on a computer that isn't the one on which it was registered and a passcode isn't provided.

Obviously, tracking the cellphone through the cell carrier is a different route to take. This was exemplified through the notorious stolen Sidekick story that occurred in New York City. Here's a link to this sorted tale:

http://www.evanwashere.com/StolenSidekick/
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,626
342
Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong, dunna dunna dunna dunnah dahhh wrong!

Sorry brah, doesn't work that way. CDMA carriers have the luxury of blacklisting stolen phones via ESN, but the same does not apply to GSM handsets and IEMI.
Sorry "brah," but actually it is perfectly possible to blacklist an IMEI. It happens all the time in Europe and in the UK, where the balcklist are even sometimes shared among carriers to prevent a theif from simply using another carrier's SIM.

The same capability should exist on AT&T, it just depends on whether or not they actually use it. I haven't had the misfortune of losing a GSM phone yet, so I don't know for sure if they will.
 

nfocus design

macrumors regular
Aug 3, 2004
207
0
Texas
Why do so many people expect Apple to keep track of their iPhone? I had a phone stolen from my car many years ago back when bag phones were the latest thing. I never expected that the manufacturer would be responsible for finding my phone. I simply called my cell phone provider and told them it was stolen and they locked it so it couldn't be used and flagged it as stolen in the event it showed up at a pawn shop or an activation was attempted.

I'm sure if they wanted, Apple could provide all kinds of security and tracking capabilities, but personally, I'd rather them focus their efforts on making products better and better.

Sorry to the OP that lost his phone though.
 

anubis

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2003
937
50
Apple actually does have the technical ability to track to a certain degree iPods, and by extension iPhones, via syncing on iTunes. It just doesn't do it, probably out of concern for privacy issues. There was actually a Dateline episode (that can be viewed online- link below) that addressed this subject within the context of iPod thefts. Dateline hired a firm to modify the iTunes software that it included on a CD with iPods that it left in public places. The iPods were then taken and the modified iTunes software let Dateline trace the iPods to the people who had taken them for the requisite confrontation.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20078671/

Of course this isn't available to iPod owners, it just demonstrates that the technology exists to trace the devices. Interestingly Apple has recently filed for a patent that basically prevent recharging of an iPod if it is synched on a computer that isn't the one on which it was registered and a passcode isn't provided.

Obviously, tracking the cellphone through the cell carrier is a different route to take. This was exemplified through the notorious stolen Sidekick story that occurred in New York City. Here's a link to this sorted tale:

http://www.evanwashere.com/StolenSidekick/
Holy ****, I was just about to say. That was the dumbest ****ing dateline I've ever seen in my life. For every idiot who thinks Apple should be "tracking" iPhones and iPods, there will be A HUNDRED people who think Apple is invading their privacy by keeping track of where and when you use your iPod and iPhone. It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out.

Also: it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if you leave a brand new sealed iPod unattended in the middle of a busy sidewalk, of COURSE someone is going to take it eventually. I don't see how anyone could be surprised, shocked, or offended at any of this. Dateline thinks you're all mentally retarded.
 

PowerFullMac

macrumors 601
Oct 16, 2006
4,000
0
Report it to the phone company.

Every GSM phone has a unique IMEI code, which they can block on their system, and within a couple of hours, every GSM system in the world. The phone becomes a useless brick until they lift the block. My phone was nicked before and I called my company and they blocked it. The person who nicked it dropped it (presumably because they couldn't make calls), and it was recovered, and the company were able to lift the block, so I had my phone back, and no insane bill for international calls.
Out house got burgled some time ago and I thought this phone we had on our house at the time was stolen so we had it blocked, but turns out it wasent. Bought it in holiday just to see what would happen, pressed the SOS button (expecting it to say Invalid Handset or whatever) but the call connected! Every GSM system in the world, eh? Dont think so.:D:D:D
 

NewSc2

macrumors 65816
Jun 4, 2005
1,043
0
New York, NY
Why do so many people expect Apple to keep track of their iPhone? I had a phone stolen from my car many years ago back when bag phones were the latest thing. I never expected that the manufacturer would be responsible for finding my phone. I simply called my cell phone provider and told them it was stolen and they locked it so it couldn't be used and flagged it as stolen in the event it showed up at a pawn shop or an activation was attempted.

I'm sure if they wanted, Apple could provide all kinds of security and tracking capabilities, but personally, I'd rather them focus their efforts on making products better and better.

Sorry to the OP that lost his phone though.
Apple doesn't need to keep track of the iPhones, but it is a good measure, seeing as it's probably pretty easy for Apple to just log a database of serial numbers. When your car gets stolen, the VIN can get reported and tracked. I'd prefer most things with serial numbers (laptops, cell phones, iPods, etc.) to get tracked like that too.