Too often, I see friends and people I follow on Twitter post about losing their phone. Or worse, about it being stolen. It happened again this morning, which is what inspired this post. More times than not, people end up doing one of two things: buying a new phone outright (from their carrier, possibly, or a used phone from Craigslist) or paying their insurance deductible to get a replacement (often used, refurbished phones as well).
Either way, it’s costly. Particularly in the case of the iPhone, since that’s what this post focuses on, used prices range from $250 to $600, depending on the model and storage. New iPhones start at $650 and go up from there. Insurance deductibles from Asurion start at $100.
In November 2010, when Apple rolled out iOS 4, they included a new tool called Find my iPhone, and it’s been included on every iOS device sold since then. The good news: it’s free. The better news: it’s quick and easy to configure. The best news: it works.
There are a hundred or more sites and a tremendous amount of videos that walk you through how to activate the feature and then how to use it, should the need arise, so I’m not going to recreate the wheel here. Instead, if you HAVEN’T set it up on your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Mac, I’ll point you to this guide on Apple’s website and encourage you to do it now. Don’t wait until later when you’ll forget. It’s literally two steps and will take you less time than what it’s taken you to read this far. Set it up and forget about it until you need it. I’ll also point you to the app to download from the App Store, here.
If you ever lose your phone, or if it’s stolen, you can use the Find my iPhone app from any other iOS device to locate it via GPS, lock it with a passcode, sound an annoying, audible alarm, and if you realize you’re ultimately not getting it back, you can wipe all your content securely to protect your privacy. You can also track it from any web-enabled computer at icloud.com.
Go now, and set up Find my iPhone.
You should follow Mike on Twitter for more great tech insights and good conversation. If Twitter isn’t your thing, fear not, you can always keep up with Mike on his personal blog as well at: www.MikeBeauchamp.me or on Facebook.