I lost my iPhone while traveling over the weekend. No, I misplaced it and then some female stole it. Then I learned the hard way that there were a few different things that I could have done that would have prevented trauma, stress and perhaps even recover my instrument.
Here’s what every mom (and non-geek, coz the geeks are snobbish know-it-alls, remember?) should do as soon as we are in possession of this gadget that we all truly love and hold dearly, just in case we part company. Not that moms are careless at all. I am a mom. I know exactly where my son’s jersey is that he wore last Wednesday, how many times the daughter has worn the Abercrombie shirt I got her and that she hates (and where she’s stashed it), the number of spoons of food that munchkin ate and the number she emptied into trash, all while following CSI on TV and folding the laundry. It’s no big deal, comes with the territory. Ask any mom.
Despite popular opinion, we can be quite the gadget freaks and get absolutely nimble with those gadgets within minutes. We don’t care what goes on in the backend or how many pixels what is, and push technology is and such. We do know how to work something and work it well. So it’s only natural that we also take good care of this thing that gets us into knots of giggles and ultimate pleasures that only chocolate and certain unmentionable things can do.It’s not like we can ever forget things or misplace things, but then we are human after all and what with juggling so many activities, ideas and plots, it is unfortunate that the I in us is left behind. That’s when we lose precious iPhones.
So breaking it down, there’s two things going on here.
1. Identity Theft [This is big, minimizing this is the final goal, coz it’s a nightmare trying to prove you weren’t trying to buy that island off the coast. Completely Ir-replaceable, your identity that is.]
2. Instrument Theft [Apart from some frivolous agonizing moments, you’ll live. Don’t worry. Very Replace-able]
Once you come home from the store with this delicious shining eye candy, or if you are already in possession of one, here are some things that you got to do to,
1. Create a Passcode. Go to Settings and enable the Passcode (a 4 digit thing that you will have to enter to even go to the main page or do anything at all) to come up every 4 minutes. Less than that’s annoying, and more than that’s useless. Just don’t enter your birth date, year or your kids dates. Don’t reverse them either. That’s common. Be smart. My family knew it, just no one outside. That’s your first line of defense.
2. Go to Settings again and activate the “Wipe all data after 10 attempted logins” . It is NOT the default, you should enable it. That’s your last ditch victory against the intruder.
3. If you feel like spending $100 for a year’s luxury of MobileMe, go ahead and get it. It has a FindMyiPhone and RemoteWipe which I thought were pretty snazzy. yesterday a kid in Pittsburgh lost his iPhone and he tracked it online and called the cops and got three burly dudes arrested and won his phone back. Neat eh? As col as this is, unless you are making use of all that other stuff MobileMe’s offering, I wouldn’t just get this thinking “oh, mayeb one day I will lose it after all!” An expensive way to keep track. Instead do the next or if you have the new 3Gs, don’t bother. Skip right onto #5.
4. Get GadgetTrak,’s apps for the iPhone. It’s FREE, and apparently works fine. I haven’t used it and the one who’s swiped your phone should launch the browser for the apps to get activated and pinpoint yoru location, so there are enough ifs and buts, but I’d imagine it’s worth downloading anyway. What do you got to lose?
5. Auto logins are cute and convenient. Except for the mail and perhaps the simpler frivolous apps for twitter or facebook that you may want to be logged in, I’d suggest NOT checking the “remember the password” for any other website that has enough of your personal info stored like credit card numbers, birthdays, social security numbers – even parts of it.
6. Do not save or access Bank accounts, Brokerage accounts or other sensitive information over the iPhone, including e-commerce sites. Do we really have to check balances and earnings from the phone? No, we don’t. So, don’t do it.
7. Sync your phone regularly. Especially if you add in new data, contacts, pictures. We all know how crazy we are about snapping our cutie pies (kids and pets included) and then showing it off to anyone who has the misfortune of smiling at us. Would help prevent placing ads of such unfortunate desperate circumstances as well.
8. Apparently there’s this IMEI number at the back of your phone. Write it down someplace. In case there comes a time when a number helps in identifying or tracking an iPhoen thief and the authorities actually do want to use it, it will come in handy.
9. There are two schools of thought on adding in your own contact details on your screen saver or photo or contacts in settings. Apart from just the phone number or another CELL phone, I wouldn’t put my home number or address or anything else on it. Including last names. If the person does really want to return, they would give it to the authorities there or call the number or email or something. But in most cases with the the rush of the iPhone still hot in the air, there’s slim chances of that happening. Why empower them more?
10. Buy insurance. If you are prone to losing things or travel around a lot, coughing up that $4/month will payoff, if you do lose the instrument within a year. Just don’t go lose it for that sakes though. That’s just wrong. Updated to add: I come to know the next day that there is no insurance that ATT or Apple offers. Imagine that!
If it’s lost or misplaced or stolen, do this:
1. In the case of a crafty swiper bypassing your settings, this will help protect your identity. Change all passwords.
2. Call your provider, which will be ATT for awhile, and report stolen, and suspend services pronto. At least the thief won’t be able to strum up some expensive international calls or some such. One never knows when one gets in the mood to call his grandma Ethel.
3. Try and track it if you have any of those tracking softwares loaded. If you have the new 3Gs, the GPS is already there. Lucky you!
4. Report the theft to the cops. At least you can write it off on your next tax statement.
5. Sulk, mope and shed some tears on losing 200 crisp dollar bills and get very upset and mad at yourself, go on a pity trip, sulk some more, find solace in an ice cream tub (mango sorbet’s good on the blood vessels btw), then vow that you would NOT spend on anything remotely resembling a ‘want’ for the next 3, nah, 2 months.
6. Plot on how to escape the stupid contract and avoid paying the data plan cost, or better yet, how to use it. Charming the ATT representative has known to work wonders if your stars are aligned well. They know all the loopholes, and no system is ever that tight.
7. Thank the Lord or your stars that you, nor your immediate close ones were hurt in the process and that it really is a small metal piece with some catchy lustingly evil powers. Attachments aren’t good for the soul. How else did Buddha attain Nirvana?
8. At the end of the day, if you’ve done all of the above and have your data (what little you have on it) secured, it’s just an iPhone. There are enough being churned out a day. If you really are hooked to it, and want it bad, walk around the house with a long face and knit eyebrows and frown and sulk alternately for the next week or so. The husband will soon have it with your sad-sack face and he’d say “Money? Pshaw! It’s just a number in the bank. Let’s go get you the latest one sweetie. Can’t see you like this, my sweet little honeykins”
Everyone’s happy. The thief has the instrument that he’d unlock and use or sell. You have a new iPhone. Husband’s happy coz, well, you are happy. Kids are the happiest coz you’re back baking goodies for them. The ATT guy is doubly happy. Apple’s happy churning more phones. The economy would ultimately improve, the slightest does count, and thus we have contributed to the greater good of the world.
Hey, all is well with the world. Right?