Tech Talk Tuesday: Raiders of the Lost iPhones

Updated: Tuesday, November 12 2013, 12:00 PM MST
Tech Talk Tuesday: Raiders of the Lost iPhones story image

By Lonnie Valencia

Ever feel the pain of losing your iPhone or having it stolen?  In today’s tech talk we get you geared up to recover that precious piece of tech. Let’s face facts, if you haven’t lost your phone yet, it’s going to happen… it's just a matter of time.  

Many of you that have lost your iPhone have been in a situation where you’ve put down your phone, turned your attention to something else, and when you came back that handy little personal device was gone.  At first you look around as if you misplaced it, as you often had in the past. Then fear creeps in as it’s not in the usual places.  Next thing you know, you want to call home to see if it’s there, but you can’t cause the thing that’s always by your side is now the one thing that you can’t find.  Helplessness sets in. You feel isolated and you ask yourself, “What did people do before getting a cell phone?” You answer back with, “Those were dark days, and I don’t want to live like a caveman! I want my phone back!”  Then, if you're like me, you find a nice dark corner to crawl into start slowly rocking back and forth pretending to play “Angry Birds Star Wars” with your thumbs.

Don’t crawl over to a dark corner, rocking back and forth, pretending to play “Angry Birds Star Wars,” protect yourself with these 4 steps.  (That was the best “Direct TV” commercial rip off I could do.)

Step 1.
Use iCloud and PhotoStream.  These two services are the bare minimum you have to recover most of your data in the event of your iPhone/iPad is lost or stolen.  Most people I talk to about iCloud are either scared of it or don’t understand it.  If you fall into one of these two categories my advice to you is that, without it, you are only relying on your phone to store all your info.  It’s always a good idea to back up and that is what iCloud and PhotoStream are used for.  Think of it a backup that can travel with you.  So use them!

Step 2.
Install the Find My iPhone App on your iPhone.  Once setup and tied to your account with Apple, this app track your device so you know where it is all the time.  As long as your phone is on and has a signal, you can track it.  So in the event of a lost of stolen phone you can log on to and find it.  This app lets you track, play a tune, lock it down, and erase the data.  

Step 3.
Call your service provider.  At the point that you know the phone is really gone or you know it was stolen, a call to your service provider could help in locating it further or they can have extra access in locking the phone down even more.  

Step 4.
Call the Po-Po. Whether you found your phone or not, filing a police report for a device that retails for $500 is not a bad idea.  Just don’t call 911.  Call the non emergency number or call your area's station.  If you did find your phone and it’s at an address you don't recognize, let the police handle it.  Don’t go all commando in the cloak of darkness and try to recover it yourself.  

There are several other Apps on the market that will help you find your phone when lost.  Search them to see which is right for you. I recommend GadgetTrak.  This app will give you a tracking report so you can follow where your phone is going and for an extra buck you can use the camera on the phone to take a pic of the person that took your phone.  

All in all, your iPhone is a hot commodity and if it hasn’t happen yet, you will lose or have your phone stolen at some point.  Just be prepared!  I can’t guarantee that you will get your phone back, but what I can say is that your chances of recovery are greatly improved by following these steps.  For example, my son had his phone stolen.  If the thief had the intention of using it or selling it, I would have been able to track them.  Needless to say, they just destroyed the phone instead.  Who does that? Lucky for me I took my own advice and followed up to step three, I called my service provider.  They were able to lock down the phone even further then I could, and they set me up with a new phone.  My son was using iCloud once a day to back up his data (step 1) so once the new phone came in we rebooted from the cloud and everything went back to normal as if nothing ever happened.  To me that was a success!  Tell me you lost iPhone story or if the steps I provide will help you in the future.

That does it for this episode of Tech Talk Tuesday.  As always we would love your feedback/suggestions for this or our next edition, so feel free to send your comments to our resident Tech Guy Lonnie Valencia.

Tech Talk Tuesday: Raiders of the Lost iPhones
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