Why the Find my iPhone app doesn’t work!

Mobile App Technology

Story Time

A couple of weeks ago my good friend went to communal office restroom on the floor of her job and forgetfully left her phone there. When she got back to her desk, she realized she left her phone in the restroom, so she quickly ran back to get her phone. Unfortunately, her phone was not in the restroom when she went back to check. Clearly, someone had taken it. After notifying her boss, the office manager of the building, and the janitorial services crew, none of them seemed to have it. Thus, she resulted to the only option she really had at this point: using Find my iPhone to locate her device. When she signed on from my phone, her phone could not be located by GPS. Instinctively, we turned on Lost Mode, sent a notification to whoever had to phone to return it, and locked the phone’s content. A couple hours later, she got an email notification that her phone had been located and gave us the address to where the phone is. The location of the phone was not at her workplace, but rather, some random address about 5 miles away from where she worked. At that point, we immediately called her phone to see if the person who had it taken it picked up so that they can return it to us. Sadly, they did not pick up the phone and instead, turned the phone off immediately after we called. Clearly, they had stolen the phone and were not ready to return it the rightful owner. Furious, we debated whether to go show up at the address where they were located or go to the police station. After some thought, we thought that it would be smarter and safer to go to the police station. Thus, we drove to the police station as fast as we could and filed a police report. We gave them the address to go to the location to obtain the item back for us and at this point we were enthusiastic that the police would simply acquire it back for us. Boy were we wrong! The police officer that was helping us out told us that he was only able to go knock on the door and respectfully ask for the phone back. He couldn’t get a search warrant to barge in and take the phone back, and if the thief who had her phone told the officer that he didn’t have it, the police officer would just have to walk away and leave them alone. If that were the case, which did happen to be the case unfortunately, he would have to give the case to the police investigator to work on. The unfortunate part about it is that the police investor already had a ton of work as it is and didn’t have much time to work and obtain the phone back. On top of that, the phone wasn’t worth much compared to other items he or she is trying to obtain such as cars and motorcycles, so his or her resources was focused on the more important items. Even if the police investigator was to get on top of finding the phone, it would most likely be restored, and even shipped to another country for use by the time he got to finding it. Thus, as you can see, Find my iPhone does not work if your phone is stolen and the police department will not put much of their efforts into finding your iPhone.

So what is the purpose of Find my iPhone?

The true purpose, and probably the only purpose, of Find my iPhone is to be able to locate your phone is if you misplaced it in an area where no one is likely to steal it. If someone, stole it you are most likely out of luck because the thief is going to either turn off your phone or take out your sim card, which, in turn, means you will never be able to locate your phone again.

What can you do?

I guess the best advice I can give you is if you ever find an iPhone, don’t be a thief. Be a good person and just return the iPhone to its rightful owner. We should start a community and teach our children to give back lost items to their owners. Also, just be more aware of where you left your phone. Always keep it in your pocket and make that the default location where you leave your phone so when you don’t feel your phone, you can look for it before it’s too late!

Realistically speaking, the only thing you can do when your iPhone stolen, if you are lucky enough to find the iPhone’s location, is to confront the person who took your phone yourself if you are not to scared to do so. If you never get the iPhone’s location, you are truly out of luck my friend.

What needs to be done?

 After this incident happened with my friend, I immediately thought of ways with the App Makers LA team of how we can retrieve a phone as soon as possible before it is never to be seen again. We wanted to make a better Find my iPhone app, but we came across some complications, which we will later talk about. My idea is pretty simple. When a user turns on Lost Mode, all of the software functions and hardware buttons on the iPhone becomes inactive, the phone automatically goes on a low battery reserve mode, and starts navigating the location of the phone so that the original owner can trace the location. App Developers LA; This will simply prevent the thief from turning off the iPhone and will give you an upper advantage of staying updated with where the phone is at the moment located. As for the issue of the thief taking out the sim card, we should redesign or create some sort of system between the software and the hardware for the sim card tray to lock when Lost Mode is turned on. At that point, you can go after it yourself or hire a Repo company (if this idea can work, then I’m sure there will be phone repo companies around), and obtain your phone!

Limitations 

Unfortunately, Apple will not allow any developer to access the main iOS framework in order to disable any software or hardware functionality. Thus, the only way this will work is if Apple decides to do this. The only thing we can do at this point is to forward this article and idea to Apple! If you decide to do so, please feel free to give me some credit! Thank you!