My friend Sanford Biggers just told me a story I have to share about an experience he had with his iPhone.
As an artist, educator and musician, Sanford is constantly on the go.
A member of the Apple nation, his trusty iPhone 4G is constantly on his hip, wherever his travels take him.
On a recent trip, while working on his laptop in the lobby of a high end hotel (the wi-fi in his room was terrible – we won’t go into that), he forgot his iPhone and ten minutes later, when he returned, it was gone.
He asked around of the guests in the lobby, but no one in the lobby or on the hotel staff had seen his iPhone.
Nor had it been turned in.
He had to leave early the following day, and it hadn’t been recovered by the time he left.
Over the course of the next few days, he tracked his phone with Apple’s Find My iPhone feature.
For the next 72 hours, he watched as his phone traveled from the hotel to a neighborhood a few miles away and back.
Occasionally, he would send a message to the device, asking the individual who had custody of it, to call him, to no avail.
Each time it showed up on Sanford’s iPad as being at the hotel, he would call the hotel and inquire as to whether the device had been returned.
But over those three days, it wasn’t turned in.
Finally, he sent correspondence to the owners, relating the incident and the steps he had taken to recover the device.
In his correspondence, he included the Find My iPhone history, detailing his iPhone’s movements and pinpointing the exact neighborhood of its current custodian.
Based on the pattern of movements, the device was clearly in the possession of someone who either (i) worked at, or (ii) frequented the hotel on a daily basis.
Suffice it to say, a cross-check of employees disclosed the identity of the unscrupulous culprit.
Sanford’s iPhone was recovered and delivered back to him in Manhattan.
As he recounted the story, we chuckled heartily at the shock this individual surely must have felt, as the hotel’s security knocked on his door demanding the iPhone’s return.
But more than that, we were thoroughly impressed with the utility of the Find My iPhone feature.
I realize I’m a geek being excited about the ability to find my iPhone, but if you’ve ever misplaced your device you know how great this little feature is.
The one scare, I had with my iPhone, occurred when I was leaving the Apple Store on 5th Avenue, after I first copped my iPad.
The store was jam packed with folks all trying to get their Apple on, and in my effort to speak to a customer service rep, rifle through my bag for my wallet, and talk about the different options, I laid my phone down.
And completely forgot about it after the sales rep walked me through my purchase.
Gleefully, I left the Apple Store, relishing my latest acquisition…while my iPhone lay abandoned and alone on some counter top.
When I frantically returned to the store, someone on staff had seen the abandoned device and taken it into custody.
I hadn’t even activated the Find My iPhone feature yet, and but for the good people at Apple, I would have been took!
Anyway, Sanford’s story reinforced yet another reason why I am such an evangelist for Apple devices.
They do things that other devices don’t do.
I’ll take being able to find my phone over Flash any day!
If you haven’t yet, make sure Find My Phone is activated on your device now.
Although I may have read something about requiring iCloud to activate this feature, I’ve been able to get by with just my old MobileMe credentials.
But you may have to take a walk on the dark side (i.e. iCloud) to get it popping now.
In any instance, if you used Find My iPhone to recover your device, I’d love to hear your story.