I guess I can add a story to the many out there about someone who tracks down a lost phone using a Find My Phone-type of service. In this case, it was my son’s. I tracked it down to the exact classroom where the kid who took it was sitting.
My son calls when he arrives at school each day, so we know he arrived safely. Today, he left his phone out on his bike after locking up and heading to class. By the time he realized his mistake, the phone was gone. The case was still there, right on his handlebars. The phone itself had been taken out. Clearly, it was stolen.
When he called to tell me from the school office. I fired up the Find My iPhone service from Apple. That’s enabled on his phone, but there was no recent location.
About 45 minutes later, a location appeared on the school campus, out on the PE area. I got hopeful. It seemed likely another student had taken it. I triggered the phone to ring, and I also sent a message to it asking that it get turned into the campus office for a reward. Then I headed over to the school, with my MacBook Air and a mifi in hand, so I could keep tracking.
In the school office, there was much amazement that you could even track a phone like this. I waited for someone to take me out to the PE area, on the off-chance that maybe the phone had been ditched there, while we watched the screen. I was explaining more about how the feature worked when suddenly, the location changed again. This time, it jumped to a block of buildings with only three classrooms.
One of the office administrators walked me down to the block. Only two had classes in them, one far away from where the location pin-point was showing. So, we went to the other class and asked the teacher if anyone had turned in a phone. No one had turned in a phone, but he had confiscated one after someone’s phone rang.
Yep, it was my son’s. The kid who took it must have switched it on when outside, turned it off, then turned it on again when he got back into his classroom. It got my message to ring, and since you can’t have phones switched on while on campus, she’d known something was wrong to took it from him.
If you don’t have a Find My Phone service on your smartphone yet, do turn it on. They do work. My recent CNET column explains more about this: These ‘find my phone’ services will ease your mind.