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I lost my iPad - on a subway train. I was side-tracked when getting off and forgot to nab it from it's place right at my side. I was lucky that in the end someone did turn it in at the main office of the subway company, and I was able to get it back. But here's how my experience went:
I have MobileMe, so I immediately had added my iPad to the "Find My iPhone" app. I also set the wi-fi to always be on, and to automatically connect to new networks to maximize the likelihood that it would be found if need be.
First thing I did was to start watching that app like a hawk - if someone picked up the iPad, I figured they'd attempt to connect it to a network first thing, at which time I'd note the presence on the app. I never saw it come up, which left the possibilities that it had been wiped, wasn't in the presence of a network, or wasn't being turned on. I hoped it was the last option.
I also have the 4-digit code in place, set at 5 minutes. I realized, however, that really this would only force the finder to wipe the iPad in order to use it. I hoped that wasn't the case.
I called Apple. Yes, they said that the wi-fi didn't have a GPS chip, and that it solely utilized wi-fi signals to triangulate position. (I figured that out, though, shortly after realizing I had forgotten the iPad - it was just wi-fi after all. And, for those of you wondering about GPS chips in phones - it's the law in the US now. All cell phones have to be E911-capable, meaning that law enforcement has to be able to find you by your phone if you call 911, meaning that all cellphones now have to have GPS chips - not merely location services. That does NOT mean that all cellphones have to have apps to utilize that GPS, so you may not even be aware that your phone has it. Since the iPad is not a cellphone, and it's not capable of calling 911, that doesn't apply here.)
Apple informed me that they could put a note in my warranty information that the iPad had been stolen/misplaced. They were quite clear that they could take no other action, but that if someone came into an Apple Store, happening to seek assistance from a Genius, say, that the Genius might see the note on the file and take action (such as calling me to find out if I still was missing my iPad). There was no guarantee, and there is no given procedure, so it just depends on the situation and the person who may or may not get the message.
I then called the police. They took the report, then had me call another number and ask for a detective - because I had locator software installed on the iPad. The detective informed me that because I had the MobileMe set up, it put a priority on my case. It was up to me to watch for the iPad to appear on MobileMe, but if it did, I should get a screen shot, and immediately call them to give them the info. Assuming they weren't working on a murder case or something, they'd be right on it, headed to pick up the device. Now, I would not have known this had I not informed the 1st officer that I had tracking turned on.
Again, I was lucky because mine was turned in. Now, I have a Pacsafe bag that I carry my iPad in when I leave the house. Pacsafe makes lockable or "snatch proof", slashproof bags that look like regular luggage, carriers, or purses (among other things). Their stuff is available online or in various sports stores. I highly recommend them. (Oh, and for the person who had their iPad snatched from their backpack, Pacsafe has backpacks with lockable zippers and "hidden" zippers that make it difficult for people to do just that. I became aware of Pacsafe while looking for backpacks to carry during a year-long trip to Europe/Asia - their products were perfect for our needs and protected us more than once from pickpockets.)
Good luck, and may all your mobile devices be safe in the future!
Yes Apple can track a stolen iPad. The question is not ability but willingness. My wife just had an iPad stolen. Although the sales person where we bought it says that the company can't track it, the police inform us unequivocally that Apple can indeed track the devise through the GPS system. They asked us to call them should Apple decide to cooperate.
Having been an avid and vocal fan of Apple's for over 30 years, I am very disappointed that the company's policy is that it won't help someone whose iPad has been stolen. It's about a sale, not about customer service.
Correct, David. Just having a GPS chip doen't mean it's trackable.
The cell phones have a function that tell police where the gps-equipped cell phone is, based on the coordinates. It's the phones that can do this, in conjunction with the gps chip. Not just a standalone gps chip.
With Mobile Me, the app has the necessary code to make remote-location tracking work.
I saw a case on Judge Judy about a stolen cell phone. (yes Judge Judy) The person who lost the phone had to get a subpoena for the phone imei/records for his phone... The phone records show who sim card was in his phone. He won the case.
Just having a find me software and GPS isn't going to cut it and the police aren't going to act on this alone. Your going to have to take the person to court who has your iPad along with proof.
Here is the stolen cell phone case on YouTube:
<< A Mobile Me subscription allows you to track your iPad only when it is online. ie full battery and a source of power.>>
The quoted statement is not exactly correct. "Online" should mean either when the iPad is using wi-fi, or 3g if it has that capability. It does NOT have to have a "full battery and a source of power." In summary, it DOES have to be turned on and connected to a network, either wi-fi or 3g.
As discussed in a number of posts above (and I realize there are quite a few!), if an iPad is wi-fi only, it does not have GPS capability. Instead, it uses "location services" via the network to pinpoint its current location. If the iPad has 3g capability, then it uses actual hardware GPS to pinpoint its current location.
Either way, if a person is signed up for MobileMe, they have the option of turning on a "Find My iPhone" app within MobileMe. Once they have done this, to find their iPad, they simply log into MobileMe and pull up that app. If the iPad is connected to a network (either wi-fi or 3g as explained above), a map will display in MobileMe with a dot where the iPad is reporting itself as located. The user then has various options, including setting or changing a lockout code on the iPad or sending a message to display on the iPad.
You may already know that MobileMe is $99.00 per year (or less for the 1st year if you get it when you purchase an Apple device) for an individual. A family membership is available that costs $149.00 per year and allows 5 users. MobileMe is in no way INTENDED for the sole purpose of tracking a lost or stolen iPhone or iPad - it is an all-around calendar, to-do list, picture and file-sharing, and backup package - that just happens to also include this "Find my iPhone" application as a cool feature.
FYI, Apple cannot legally track your ipad via gps, regardless of their actual capabilities. I work with cell phones and it's the same way. People come in and tell us their phone has been stolen and want us to activate the gps and track it. Legally, we can't do this. There has to be an actual court order in order for this to happen, and those are rarely granted. Basically, it has to be a true emergency, as in a kidnapped child, in order for the court order to be issued. (It has something to do with information privacy and constitutional rights). It *****, but if we can't do it with phones, Apple would be in the same boat with other personal electronics. I hope you find it though, good luck!
The issue is more than legal. Considering the number of individuals that already don't want to take personal responsibility, can you imagine how many persons would allege theft if they knew that would cause Apple to locate a lost iPad? Apple would have to stop manufacturing products and spend all their manpower on locating lost mobile devices.
It would perhaps be helpful to think "Macro" with regard to this. With the THOUSANDS of ios devices lost and stolen, can you inaging the manpower Apple would need to dedicate to helping people locate all of their lost or stolen devices (in multiple languages) and interfacing with Police in hundreds of countries?
It is really unrealistic to expect this in my opinion.
That said...... it really blows to loose your stuff..... sorry that happened to you.