This past Saturday my family went to an airshow in Colorado Springs. I’ll post pics about that later. About halfway through the show I noticed my iPhone was no longer in my belt holster! Of course, my iPhone being practically a part of my body and brain, I panicked. The last time I remembered using it was in the car to call my dad in the other car during a stop for directions when I made a wrong turn. So I had to wonder – was it back in my car, or had I dropped it climbing in and out of the airplanes and military vehicles with my son? Of course, I could not enjoy the rest of the show and day not knowing the fate of my iPhone. It was most likely out in my car, but if it was lost, I needed to know that, so I could check with lost and found, or replace my steps and try to ask around if anyone had found it.
I left the family watching the show, exited the entrance, rode the shuttle back to the parking lot and searched the car.
It was lost.
What was I to do now?
Then I remember… “Find My iPhone” is a feature of Apple iPhones and my iPad was in the car. I fired up my Verizon Broadband card on my belt and turned on my iPad and got online. I went to www.me.com and was informed there was now a “Find My iPhone” iPad App so I downloaded it. (Me.com will no longer allow you to use the website to find your iPhone with an iPad, it forced the App use.)
It took only a minute to download the app and log into the app and within seconds my iPhone was located and YES!, it was on the military base somewhere!
Just like Google Maps, I could zoom in to right where it was:
But… then it happened…
Every time I refreshed, it MOVED!
Someone had my iPhone, and they were on the move!
Was it stolen?
Were they trying to find the owner?
Were they leaving the base?
Was it on someone’s person, or in a car?
I immediately used “Find My iPhone” to lock my phone so they could not access it without a password:
And then, I sent them a message:
So they would have a way to reach me if they looked at the phone. I realized my mistake in not borrowing a phone so that IF they DID call my wife, she would have a way to reach me and tell me! (oops!) So I wouldn’t know until I got back to the family, so now I just needed to give up my search, and head back.
Their message would look like this: (recreated later, as was the message above)
I road the shuttle back to the show entrance, expecting to wait for “the call.” I kept refreshing the map and noticed that my iPhone was moving in a pattern. That was when it hit me… perhaps it wasn’t a person who had my phone, but a vehicle… AH HA! A shuttle! Maybe I had dropped it on the shuttle on my way in while carrying chairs and all our stuff and managing a five year old!
I stopped a soldier and asked him to help me interpret the map, since I didn’t know the names to the roads and I showed him the different places the iPhone had been. (He was very impressed with my GPS technology and tracking my phone!) We switched to Satellite View and Hybrid View and he helped me figure out where the shuttle stop was. I enjoyed him pointing out all the buildings around the base! Then, I simply kept refreshing “Find My iPhone” watching my iPhone go around the circuit one more time and then stop at the point where it was dropping off people for the show. When I went in to search the shuttle – I asked the driver, (ironically the same shuttle I had just ridden back on!) if anyone had found an iPhone, and she picks it up off the dashboard and says, “I hoped someone would come back for it.” I had been that close but hadn’t yet figured out that the moving iPhone meant it was on a shuttle joyride.
Find My iPhone saved the day!
While it wasn’t very fun losing my phone and walking around the parking lot and missing almost an hour of the show, it was kinda cool tracking my moving iPhone on my iPad via GPS with my broadband card and solving the mystery with modern technology.
I’d like to thank both Steve Jobs and Sergeant Nelson for their help in assisting me recover my iPhone on Saturday. I was able to get back to my family and enjoy the rest of the day without the stress of having lost a valuable tool that I use in many aspects of life and work and ministry.
Pretty Cool, huh?