Stolen iPad recovered with Find my iPhone!

CiscoPro

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 3, 2011
3
0
Thought I would take a moment to share my experience using find my iPhone to recover my stolen iPad.


I recently had a layover at an airport in Michigan on my way to Toronto. Like an idiot, I left my iPad in the seat back on the first leg of my flight. I didn't realize it until I arrived at my destination in Toronto. I called the airline and was told that they couldn't send someone to look for it, but would happy to notify me when it was turned in if I filled out a lost article report on their website. They were confident that since it was left on the plane it would be turned in by their cleaning team.

After a few minutes I remembered Find my iPhone and activated the App on my iPhone. Within about 30 seconds I had a location on my iPad. It was still sitting in the terminal at the airport!

Fast forward to about 5:00 PM.....

I pull up the App again and see that my iPad is now moving away from the airport on the highway. After several minutes I watch as it turns into a neighborhood and pulls up outside of a house. There it stays for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile I have been sending alerts to the iPad screen with my contact information asking whoever has it to contact me immediately. Luckily they had not turned it off.

Now I am able to note the intersection nearest the location of my iPad and plug it into Google Maps. I find the house and drop a pin on it to reveal the street address. I then call the local Police, but they can't help me because I am not physically there to identify my property. Not what I was hoping for, but understandable.

My next idea was to find out if I can learn who owns the house and work out a way to conact them. I start looking for the local tax assessors office on the web and sure enough the database is accessible online. I now have the name of the owner in addition to the address! Now I figure I can contact the airline and give them this person's name to find out if they were working on the plan I was on. If so, at least they would be able to share that information with the airline and make it uncomfortable for the thief.

Now I am wondering if I can find the guys phone number! After a few web searches, I get a hit on the local version of the whitepages that gives me the phone number. I go ahead and call the number. To my surprise the guy answers the phone!

After getting hung up on a couple of times I was able to leave a voicemail with my contact information and let the person know I was pretty sure they worked for the airline since that is where I left my iPad. I assured him that I would not stop calling the airline with his name address and phone number until he lost his job unless he called me by tomorrow morning and made arrangements to return my property. Sure enough it turned out he works for the airline and called me back at 10:30 that night. After explaining to me that this was all a mistake he agreed to return it to me via fed ex next day delivery. I agreed to consider the matter closed and not pursue it any further with his employer if I received it back undamaged.

36 hours later I received my iPad back! I had initated a wipe on the device, so had to restore from back up, but besides that everything was great!


The moral of the story is to make sure you know how to use find my iPhone!! It could save you a lot of money!


PS, I know that I lost my iPad by leaving it on the plane. However, that does not give the airline employee the right to keep it. When he took it home with him, it went from lost to stolen...
 

darster

Suspended
Aug 25, 2011
1,703
1
Nice story, but I don't believe it. A wipe by you would have made it impossible to find. Was it the wifi version?
 

verwon

macrumors 68030
Jul 26, 2011
2,676
2
Seattle
Nice story, but I don't believe it. A wipe by you would have made it impossible to find. Was it the wifi version?
No it doesn't. There are many posts on here where people have wiped devices, sold them and still have them show up in findmyi.
 

Meanee

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2011
558
4
That is great. And sucks police weren't able to help you. I can understand their side of things, but still.

So.. who paid for FedEx? =)
 

darster

Suspended
Aug 25, 2011
1,703
1
No it doesn't. There are many posts on here where people have wiped devices, sold them and still have them show up in findmyi.
Not if it was just a wifi version. You could not track that driving down the street. It would need to connect to a wifi device for one to get an approximation. Thats why i asked if it was a wifi only ipad. 3G ipad has GPS and one could track it.
 

MacBill

macrumors newbie
Dec 31, 2010
27
0
Western Montana
I didn't think a wipe of content would disable the "findmyiphone" feature. So we would be wise to Lock the iPad if it is missing, but not wipe it?

This story is the exact type of instance I fear happening since I am terrible about leaving stuff laying and losing it. I know how to use the findmyiphone feature because my daughter and I use it to locate one another fom time to time. As far as I can tell, it will usually show up somewhere in a 2 block area, but rarely narrows it down to 1 house. So how would you find your iPad if it's in a city block with 25 houses?

Is the iPad 2 for $499.00 a 3g and trackable by GPS?
 
Last edited:

boy-better-know

macrumors 65816
Jun 30, 2010
1,346
125
England
Another example of why find my iPhone is an absolute essential app. I love that it tracks my macbook swell as iPhone and iPad, it really shouldn't be called find my iPhone. I am sure it has deterred a few criminals from stealing them.
 

CiscoPro

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 3, 2011
3
0
Nice story, but I don't believe it. A wipe by you would have made it impossible to find. Was it the wifi version?
Bad news is that Wipe does in fact render find my iPhone useless. In fact before you send the wipe signal it does warn you of that. However, I had not wiped it until after I determined the address that it was at and I had not heard from them for a while. They had actually turned it off anyway because I kept sending annoying messages to it I guess. This also makes find my iPhone un useable since the device must be powered on.
As it turns out, after they turned it off they never turned it on again because when I received it and turned it on the wipe actually occurred.
It would be a nice feature to cancel the wipe, but that does not appear to exist. Probably better that way as it is meant to be a fail-safe....


It is the 3G version. if it was Wi-fi, I don't think I would have been successful because it would not have been sending me a signal unless it was successfully connected to a network.

I assure you I am not in to making up fanciful stories...it works!
 

Caliber26

macrumors 68000
Sep 25, 2009
1,835
1,336
Orlando, FL
It would be better if Apple added a new security feature to iOS by disabling the power button while the phone is locked. In other words, if you have a passcode enabled, you should be required to first unlock your device before you can power it off. I know the battery would eventually die, but even if you're at half charge, that's still quite a bit of standby time that would buy you plenty of time to try and track the lost device.
 

Dhelsdon

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2010
1,337
2
Canadian Eh!
I love hearing success stories like this. If the feature is used correctly, it may save you hundreds of dollars, and give you a chance to catch someone red-handed which is always a thrilling experience.
 

HXGuy

macrumors 68000
Mar 25, 2010
1,679
0
It would be better if Apple added a new security feature to iOS by disabling the power button while the phone is locked. In other words, if you have a passcode enabled, you should be required to first unlock your device before you can power it off. I know the battery would eventually die, but even if you're at half charge, that's still quite a bit of standby time that would buy you plenty of time to try and track the lost device.
Th

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It would be better if Apple added a new security feature to iOS by disabling the power button while the phone is locked. In other words, if you have a passcode enabled, you should be required to first unlock your device before you can power it off. I know the battery would eventually die, but even if you're at half charge, that's still quite a bit of standby time that would buy you plenty of time to try and track the lost device.
That's an excellent suggestion.
 

NameUndecided

macrumors 6502a
Mar 28, 2011
747
67
How did he try to explain his taking your iPad as "all a mistake"? Did he have any kind of halfway reasonable explanation, or was it all just about trying to save face?
 

Acorn

macrumors 68030
Jan 2, 2009
2,554
283
macrumors
people always think employers will return crap. they are just like anyone else and will take it. my dad left his phone in a hotel room. he knows for certain where he left it too on the night stand but the cleaning crew said they didnt find it. they basically kept it.

I do believe the original poster because employees are just as bad if not worse when it comes to stealing and thinking they can get away with it.
 

haruhiko

macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
5,096
2,753
It would be better if Apple added a new security feature to iOS by disabling the power button while the phone is locked. In other words, if you have a passcode enabled, you should be required to first unlock your device before you can power it off. I know the battery would eventually die, but even if you're at half charge, that's still quite a bit of standby time that would buy you plenty of time to try and track the lost device.
All the thief has to do is to put the iPhone / iPad into DFU mode and restore it as a new device from iTunes.

If the thief lives in a multi-storey apartment and if he acts fast enough, you won't be able to track the iPad and locate the thief so easily...
 

Meanee

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2011
558
4
All the thief has to do is to put the iPhone / iPad into DFU mode and restore it as a new device from iTunes.
Not sure how you would accomplish that if power button is disabled.

There is always a possibility of getting a bank vault box rental, sticking it there for 2 weeks, and when battery dies in an untraceable location, go nuts.
 

mrkjsn

macrumors 6502
Jan 10, 2010
265
0
I find it funny that people always call it "stolen" when they lose their stuff. How about you don't leave it? :rolleyes:
 

CiscoPro

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 3, 2011
3
0
I find it funny that people always call it "stolen" when they lose their stuff. How about you don't leave it? :rolleyes:
I find it funny that people comment on a thread without having read it.
Check the last paragraph or P.S....
I put that there specifically for folks that think Finders Keepers is the law of the land.
 

toiday

macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2011
116
1
I find it funny that people always call it "stolen" when they lose their stuff. How about you don't leave it? :rolleyes:
A normal person would bring it to lost and found, especially when you work for the airline. That would be your duty to return any items left on the aircraft. Check the definition of theft: the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another. That fit the guy perfectly.
 

toiday

macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2011
116
1
All the thief has to do is to put the iPhone / iPad into DFU mode and restore it as a new device from iTunes.

If the thief lives in a multi-storey apartment and if he acts fast enough, you won't be able to track the iPad and locate the thief so easily...
I totally agree! He is one lucky man and the thief is not so smart. Remember the story that an Apple employee left an iPhone at the bar in San Francisco area not long ago? Even Apple can't find their own devices.

Sure, Apple can do more to protect the iPad. But they do the right thing on how far they should draw the line on protecting a $600 device. They may step in the privacy area that may upset some consumer protection groups. Remember what happen when Intel started putting the CPU serial number on their chips?
 

haruhiko

macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
5,096
2,753
I find it funny that people always call it "stolen" when they lose their stuff. How about you don't leave it? :rolleyes:
Whether the victim is careless or not is not included in the legal definition of theft, thief, steal, stolen etc. :p
 

qtx43

macrumors 6502a
Aug 4, 2007
659
16
It's nice you were able to recover your iPad, but you are under no moral obligation to "consider the matter closed". I'd make the same 'promise' to the thieving scumbag, and then make sure to follow up with the airline with the full story. Just so they know who they're employing, for the sake of future victims. Probably police can't do anything now, but when other people complain about thefts, they'll know who to look at first. And there will be others.
 
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