Find My iPhone is an app that locates your iDevice when you’ve misplaced it. It’s so popular that it’s spawned at least a dozen copycat apps that also hunt for your missing iOS device. As handy as the app is when you’re running late and don’t have time to overturn couch cushions or dig around your dresser drawers to find your phone, it’s also been praised for saving lives and stopping crimes. Below are a few examples of Find My iPhone’s slightly more “heroic” endeavors.
- Just a few days ago, a father in Santa Barbara, California, used Find My iPhone to track down his son who had gotten into a car accident and wandered away from the scene to try and find help. The injured teenager could have passed out far away from the road and been difficult to find and treat in time were it not for the app that made it quick and easy to discover his whereabouts. Thankfully, he was found in time and air lifted to a trauma center.
- Some parents were using Find My iPhone to keep track of their kids while they were trick or treating this past Halloween (there’s also a Find My Friends app that tracks your loved ones a bit more elegantly). It’s not explicitly “life saving,” but it is a good cautionary measure to ensure that you know your children’s whereabouts as they wander around the neighborhood collecting candy.
There are numerous instances of police being able to nab a criminal by using Find My iPhone to track him or her down, a few of which are highlighted below:
- November 2012: police were led to armed robbery suspects who had been stealing wallets, cellphones, and other items in Hollywood, California
- October 2012: a stolen iPad led police to bust a car burglar in Boca Raton, Florida
- October 2012: a man in North London, UK was sentenced to 21 months in jail for stealing an iPhone 3GS at knifepoint that was later traced back to him using Find My iPhone
- October 2012: a man in Whitmore Reans, UK, beat up a woman and stole her jewelry and her iPhone but was apprehended after police tracked him down thanks to the app
- April 2012: two men in Staten Island, New York, were arrested for mugging someone at knifepoint and driving off in a stolen tow truck. They were tracked down thanks to the app on the victim’s stolen iPhone.
It’s nice to see law enforcement using device finder technology to track down criminals and bring the victims some justice (plus I’m sure it makes their jobs a bit easier).
Still, Find My iPhone is only useful if criminals don’t disable the feature. IT World has some useful tips on how to stop thieves from turning the app off that involve the following:
- Create a more complex passcode for your device
- Enable restrictions for Find My iPhone
- Turn off “Status Bar Indicator” so thieves can’t see the location tracking
- Select “Don’t Allow Changes” under the “Location Services” section
There are so many apps to choose from nowadays that serve as time killers, handy utilities, and productivity aides, but it’s refreshing to see something come along that has the potential to save a life or catch a wrongdoer. Find My iPhone isn’t exclusively a crimefighter, but it’s got a little bit of that capability and can truly do some good every so often.