Last Thursday, as I was getting on the train to come in to work at the YOURLifeChoices office, I lost my iPhone. The doors closed behind me, I sat down, went to my bag to get my phone and it simply wasn’t there. I could honestly feel the blood drain from my face as I realised I had no idea where it was. I hadn’t stopped anywhere in the station to put it down, so there were really only two options – either I had dropped it, or someone had taken it out of my bag on the crowded platform.
My iPhone contains all of my addresses and phone numbers, all of my photos, my diary and two cookbooks, and I use it frequently for banking and shopping. As I sat on the train, speeding towards a very full day of work, I began to wonder if I had signed out of my online banking, or if my Paypal account was linked to my eBay app.
Luckily, I had done all the right things to ensure against permanently losing my iPhone. Firstly, my iPhone is covered by my house contents insurance. I pay a few dollars extra each month to have it insured as a separate item, no matter where I am. Secondly I have my iPhone in a waterproof, drop-proof case, which meant that if I had dropped it on the train platform, Melbourne’s erratic weather wasn’t going to damage it.
The third, and most important, step in the Never-Lose-Your-Phone plan was that I had downloaded the FindMyiPhone app. There are two parts to downloading this app. You start by downloading the app on your phone via the App Store. Then you make a free iCloud account (if you don’t already have one). Apple has a great tutorial for setting up iCloud on each of your Apple devices.
Because I had downloaded this app, I was able to log into the iCloud website once I arrived at work, and click the FindMyiPhone button. The app then located my iPhone via its 3G signal, and showed me where it was on a map. I was surprised at how accurate the location was – it showed my iPhone sitting at the train station, exactly at the point on the platform where I had stepped onto the train.
It was such a relief to be able to see where my phone was, even though there wasn’t much I could do about retrieving it. I was, however, able to use the FindMyiPhone app to put a message on the screen, asking anyone who found the phone to call my work number.
As the day went on I continued to check my phone’s location, and it became clear that nobody had picked it up – it was staying in the same place. If it had started to move around on the map I could have used the FindMyiPhone app to remotely wipe all the data from my phone, but it didn’t seem necessary.
It was one of the longest days I’ve ever experienced, but at the end I was able to go back to the station and look for my lost iPhone. It turned out that at the exact moment I had stepped onto the train, it had fallen out of my bag, through the gap between the train and the platform, and was resting beside the tracks. What are the chances? The waterproof, drop-proof case certainly played a big part in saving it, as did the kind staff at Flinders Street station.
Previously the only action I have performed with the FindMyiPhone app has been to use iCloud on my computer to tell the FindMyiPhone app to play a sound on my phone (even when my phone is on silent), so that I can locate it between the couch cushions.
Whether you’ve simply lost your phone in the house, or you’ve left it somewhere more public, I can personally recommend that all iPhone users download the FindMyiPhone app. It’s free, and it might be the difference between losing your iPhone for good, or getting it back quickly without too much fuss.
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