Can you track a stolen iPhone by IP Address?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by atacinus, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. atacinus macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2003
    Location:
    New York City
    #1
    So my fiancee's iPhone got stolen while she was in the hospital. However I noticed that a day later it's still accessing her e-mail (she didn't change the password yet) and it gave me an IP address where it was doing so. Cell service has been shut off to the device, so this would most likely be wifi - is there anyway to give this number to the police etc. and have them be able to track down the phone...or is this a total waste of time? I live in NYC so they might not even devote time to it. Thoughts - is it even possible?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Muad'Dib macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    #2
    I used to use a service for our laptops at work that did exactly that. But I'm thinking they worked with the ISP to track down the owner of the IP, THEN went to the cops.

    I'm pretty doubtful that taking an IP address to the cops will get you very far. But who knows?
     
  3. Vigher macrumors member

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    May 5, 2010
  4. mackmgg macrumors 65816

    mackmgg

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    #4
    Well if you take it to the cops, the ISP is more likely to tell them the owner than you
     
  5. Muad'Dib macrumors 6502

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    May 29, 2010
    #5
    Good point. But will the cops bother?
     
  6. iSaxon macrumors 6502a

    iSaxon

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    #6
    Couldn't hurt to try.
     
  7. darkplanets macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 6, 2009
    #7
    Well for one, she needs to change all of her passwords. It's good that you disabled the cell service though. Never have anything remember your passwords-- it mitigates issues like this. That said, no, there's not much that can be done.

    The problem lies in the IP issue; as you're well aware the person is using wifi-- unless its a personal home address it's useless because the address links back to the router, not individual devices and their locations. More than likely they're on public wifi, which means due to DHCP you can't even find out what IP address they have on the subnet unless you have the MAC address of the device-- even then you won't know the location of said device. If they're using their own router, however, it will link back to that router which would then tell you the general proximity of the thief, but again, keep in mind that other people frequently use other's Internet connections. Without location services (GPS) finding the whereabouts of a missing mobile device is near impossible, since it's not connecting to the same network consistently and usually has a different IP on the subnet at least daily.
     
  8. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #8
    Highly doubt it. NYC cops got way more things to do than chasing a cellphone.
     
  9. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

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    Oct 14, 2010
    Location:
    Hogtown
    #9
    The quick answer is No ... the ISP will not give you any info on an IP address ... something about Privacy Rights ... good luck :cool:

    and coolwhatever below is not a start to anything


     
  10. Muad'Dib macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    #10
    True, it will only provide the public IP of a router, but you fail to consider that ISPs have records of this...despite using DHCP. No GPS is needed as the ISP has the customer's phyisical address.

    It could be someone leaching WiFi, but it could also be the theif's home WiFi.


    I'm sure you meant to add...."unless they are presented a warrant".

    Like I mentioned before, there are companies out there that do just this exact type of thing with laptops. Somehow they have a 97% retrieval rate. They work with the cops and ISP to track them down. But you have to subscribe to their service and install their software (often installed in the BIOS on corporate laptops.)

    But truly, the OP has a very slip chance of getting anywhere. As has been mentioned, the NYC Cops most likely won't bother. I'm not sure how Absolute does it, but I'm sure they are more prepared to work with the cops than the general public.
     
  11. SydneyJunkie macrumors regular

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    Aug 1, 2010
  12. ohaithar macrumors 6502a

    ohaithar

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    #12
    Somewhere on the internets, you can find out how to do what you are looking for. MacRumors isn't the place to ask though.
     
  13. darkplanets macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 6, 2009
    #13
    My point exactly; as I said, you'd need the MAC address. As you said, ISPs aren't giving MAC addresses up without a warrant, and I doubt anybody would go through the trouble (besides a specialist company) of getting a warrant for such a relatively low-value item. Unless the OP wants to pay for the service, there's no legal (or practical) way to DIY. Of course you can always change your MAC address, again making it untraceable. I'm sure this is possible with a jailbreak at least-- you can spoof it under OSX with ifconfig. The iPhone's physical serial (IMEI, plus IMSI in the SIM) is only good for cellular data, as far as I'm aware it doesn't broadcast in the data link layer for WiFi? Someone could correct me here if I'm wrong, I'm not entirely sure. The point is that if you want to be untraceable, at least to previous history, it's quite possible in this case. The thief will not be able to reactive the phone for service, however, unless they get a new SIM and IMEI. Just like with MAC addresses I'm sure it's possible to change your IMEI somehow, again though I'm not well versed in cellular technology.
     
  14. Muad'Dib macrumors 6502

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    May 29, 2010
    #14
    Actually, all they need is a new SIM. AT&T won't block/track the IMEI. I found that out the hard way when I left mine in a cab.
     
  15. JD914 macrumors 6502a

    JD914

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    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    Dutchess County NY
    #15
    Phones are lost or stolen all the time, take the loss and get a new phone. There are far worse things to worry about then a stolen cell phone.
     
  16. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #16
    This is why find my iPhone is so excellent, though it would have to rely on Wifi and hence your window of opportunity would be slimmer.
     
  17. DamonDash macrumors newbie

    DamonDash

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    Aug 2, 2015
    #17
    OH YEAH IT WILL
     
  18. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #18
    Why would you reply to a 5 year old thread?
    Depending on the type of crime. An IP address of a stolen cellphone will not get you far and police will not waste much resources tracking where and when that device was connected and assigned to that ip address.
     

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