This weekend, an iPhone’s best hidden feature saved a lot of heartache

Find My iPhone

You know that sinking feeling when you already know the answer to a question? The question that was asked to me at the weekend (more precisely at 1:30am on Saturday morning) was, ‘Where’s my iPhone?’

I am what some would a call fairly lucky chap, I’d have to agree. My girlfriend is the compére for the Headline Honeys Burlesque show. They perform in Darlington at a club called Seen on the last Friday of every month as well as the second friday of every month in a club called Spencly’s in Middlesbrough. When it’s the Seen show, I tend to be their photographer. So I go I see them all and hang out with my friends. At the end of the performances we pack everything up and we skedaddle off on our separate ways.

Myself my girlfriend don’t live too far from the club. So we walk home and we watch a bit of TV and we look after the kitten we were catsitting. As we getting ready for bed Gem asks me ‘have I seen her iPhone?’. I reply “no”.

I call the phone. We cannot hear it in the house.

Then comes the panic.

We run upstairs to the mac and immediately log on to iCloud.com. From there we open the Find My iPhone app and immediately, the phone is located. It’s still in the club. So clicking the options I sent a locking code to the phone. Just like setting a security code as if it had one set by user. I also send a message to display on the screen saying that I am coming to get it and that it is lost.

Out of the house I go, nice and sober, seeing the sights and sounds of a payday friday in Darlington. When I get the club they have closed up, but there are still staff about. I had logged on to Find My iPhone app on my iPhone so that I could prove my legitimacy with the claim of the lost phone.

The first member of staff who came to the door didn’t believe me and said that no phones had been handed in. Knowing that the phone was there, having an exact GPS lock on the device, I then sent another message to the phone, but this time also activating the ‘Play Sound’ option. This is a high-pitched sonar noise that can only be deactivated once the security code is entered.

Very shortly after another member of staff comes to the door holding the phone saying, “I think this is for you”. He was right as the message that was on the screen was “I’m the guy at the door”.

Retrieved iPhone in hand, I walked home. When I got in and came upstairs Gem was waiting for me saying that she was really impressed, as she’d watched the little blue dot of the phone on the map move from the club to our house. Even when it reached where out house is on the street she heard me come in.

The Find My iPhone app and service is free and comes with every iDevice running iOS 5 and above and on Macs running Lion (OS X 10.7+) and above.

There will be countless people reading this who did not know their iPhones were capable of this, so I’ve decided to do a dedicated tutorial post on how to set up the service and how to use it. Click here to save the heartache.




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