Previous 1 2 Next 27 Replies Latest reply: Nov 25, 2011 5:34 PM by stevejobsfan0123
joelfromcanada Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I recently had my new iPhone 4S stolen. I made a trip to my local waste disposal facility on Saturday and it must have fallen out of my pocket while I was pulling heaps of recycling out of my car. After realising I must have dropped the phone, I drove back and from the time I left to the time I returned, no more than 30 minutes pass and my phone was gone, obviously. I tried calling it but the phone appeared to have been shutoff.

 

Unfortunately, I hadn't enabled the iCloud service and Find My iPhone - only had the phone for a month - but I had setup the Find My Friends app so that my wife and I could track each other for a laugh. Amazingly enough, about 6 hours after losing my phone, it showed up, no more than 1/2 a block from the waste facility. I watched it remain relatively stationary for 3 hours and then it became unavailable again.

 

I drew up some flyers the next day and canvassed the area where I suspected the phone to be. Imagine my surprise when, after talking with some people in the vicinity, I discovered that the suspect house was owned by someone who works at the waste facility. So what are the odds of that?

 

I filed an incident report with the police and went back to the waste facility to speak with the employee. He obviously denied everything and even though our conversation remained civil, I just had a sinking feeling that he was lying to me and let's face it, the GPS led me to his house.

 

I think what frustrates me the most is the lack of co-operation from the phone company and Apple. It would be ridiculously easy for Apple to track serial numbers. Everytime the phone is connected to a computer to sync or the person uses the iTunes/AppStore apps, the serial number should be sent to Apple with the user's corresponding information. The suspect serial number would be compared to a list of serial numbers from phones reported as stolen. Upon successful match, Apple could then issue a query to a national stolen phone registry (maintained by the authorities - we have one here in Canada) and if there is another match, they could contact the original owner of the phone telling them to contact the police. Apple would generate a claim entry in some sort of CMS and forward a ticket number to the police for them to use when requesting the data (e.g. ISP provided IP address, time of access, machine name/MAC/private LAN IP, etc.) This way, it's the authorities that have to request the information from Apple, as it should be.  A similar sort of system could be put in place by the phone companies as well, but using the IMEI.

 

A system such as what I described above would prevent legally acquired second hand phones from triggering police intervention, protect the suspect party's personal information until the police request it, and provide an efficient and effective way to recover stolen phones. It's astonishing that such a simple system doesn't already exist. Most of the key components are already in place.

 

Anyhow, I'm hoping the police recover the phone now that I've been able to identify the suspect but I have my doubts.

 

I really hate dishonest people.


iPhone 4S, Windows 7
  • Johnathan Burger Level 6 Level 6 (15,545 points)

    It's not Apple's responsibility.

    Report it stolen to the Police and your carrier.

    Change your passwords.

  • Julian Wright Level 7 Level 7 (34,860 points)
    Unfortunately, I hadn't enabled the iCloud service and Find My iPhone - only had the phone for a month

     

    Takes about 5 minutes to setup.

     

    I watched it remain relatively stationary for 3 hours

     

    Why just watch it? You should've gone straight to the police, with your laptop, or print-out of the map, or wife's iPhoneand showed them where your phone is.

     

    the serial number should be sent to Apple with the user's corresponding information.

     

    Privacy laws would probably prevent Apple from legally collecting such user data without the persons knowledge (even thieves have privacy rights). If you hadn't had time to setup the built-in "Find my iPhone" feature in the space of a month, what's the chances of you having had time to opt-in to such a service. And if you're no longer the user, Apple would have no legal right to collect the data from someone else.

     

    Ignoring the privacy issues, how much would you be willing to pay for Apple to develop such a service, maintain it 24/7 and staff it with people who could communicate with local police in every country iPhone's are sold and used?

  • joelfromcanada Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This has absolutely nothing to do with whether it is Apple's responsibility or not.  I'm not blaming Apple for someone else's dishonesty.  That doesn't mean they can't provide a simple service for their customers.  Why does Apple provide any feature beyond the ability to place a phone call?  They provide additional features to improve the appeal and usefulness of their product.  Furthermore, Apple clearly already added a few features to help a customer recover their phone so they could easily expand this offering to be even more useful.  Heck, they could even monetize it as part of a subscription service (e.g. MobileMe.)

  • KiltedTim Level 8 Level 8 (44,735 points)

    They DO provide a tracking mechanism. YOU chose not to enable it.

  • wjosten Level 10 Level 10 (93,750 points)

    Ain't gonna ever happen...for the same reasons that GM won't help you find a stolen car...nor GE a stolen toaster or Samsung a stolen TV. These guys are NOT the police & don't want to have anything to do with this stuff. You can keep barking, but your bark will fall on deaf ears.

  • Julian Wright Level 7 Level 7 (34,860 points)
    Apple clearly already added a few features to help a customer recover their phone

     

     

    If you had read any of the documentation Apple provides about the "Find my iPhone" feature, you would see that Apple never states the word "stolen". They always state "lost". It will help you locate a lost iPhone.

     

    As soon as it becomes a stolen phone, that is a criminal matter and therefore legally not Apple's job to help recover it.

     

    Regardless, you hadn't set the feature up in a whole month, so it wouldn't have been any help to you anyway...

  • joelfromcanada Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Julian Wright wrote:

     

    Takes about 5 minutes to setup.

     

     

    As I explained, I only had the phone for a month and wasn't familiar with the new features for iCloud/iOS 5. I've never lost a phone before so never even thought to search for such a feature.

    KiltedTim wrote:

     

    They DO provide a tracking mechanism. YOU chose not to enable it.


    Actually, I didn't choose anything. I wasn't aware of the feature at the time and, as I said above, I've never lost a phone before so never thought to look for such a feature.  The phone was setup by the agent at the store (I would have preferred to do it myself) and therefore iCloud services were disabled by default.  Furthermore, this clearly illustrates why an additional mechanism would be beneficial. It's also very easy for someone to disable Find My Phone - that's actually not a very good security mechanism at all.

     

    wjosten wrote:

     

    Ain't gonna ever happen...for the same reasons that GM won't help you find a stolen car...nor GE a stolen toaster or Samsung a stolen TV. These guys are NOT the police & don't want to have anything to do with this stuff. You can keep barking, but your bark will fall on deaf ears.

     

    Many GM cars come with OnStar which can help locate or disable a stolen vehicle. A toaster and TV are not communications devices and are not as easily misplaced and stolen like a cell phone. They also aren't as readily trackable like a cell phone. Furthermore, you have home insurance to cover such a loss.

     

    Why couldn't Apple offer a similar additional service as part of MobileMe or other such offering?  This is analogous to what GM does with OnStar.  GM ships their vehicles with the components necessary for OnStar (control module, etc) to work and OnStar provides the customer interface and implementation of the service.

     

    With that said, if you actually read my post, I did locate my phone using a similar feature provided by the Find My Friends app.

     

    Julian Wright wrote:

     

    Apple clearly already added a few features to help a customer recover their phone

     

     

    If you had read any of the documentation Apple provides about the "Find my iPhone" feature, you would see that Apple never states the word "stolen". They always state "lost". It will help you locate a lost iPhone.

     

    As soon as it becomes a stolen phone, that is a criminal matter and therefore legally not Apple's job to help recover it.

     

    Regardless, you hadn't set the feature up in a whole month, so it wouldn't have been any help to you anyway...


    Since Apple doesn't offer a service to assist in the recovery of a stolen phone I wouldn't expect them to use the word "stolen" in any of their literature regarding locating services.

     

    I completely agree that a stolen phone is a matter for the police but that doesn't mean Apple can't provide assistance to the authorities upon request; whether a court order is required or not is not the question here.  With regards to privacy legislation, again we are in agreement.  As a software developer in a field where privacy impact assessments and conformance to existing federal legislation is mandated, I know all too well what is allowed to be tracked and what is considered a violation of a privacy.  I also get to see first hand how inadequate some of the existing security systems and policies are.  I completely agree that Apple tracking someone's private IP and NIC MAC, machine name, etc might cross the line, they are already tracking serial numbers, search history, and external IP addresses when a person connects through iTunes.  This information can be subpoenaed by the authorties.  All I'm suggesting is to make this process easier.

     

    I'm not suggesting that Apple start kicking down doors but they could easily work more closely with the authorities to offer enhanced recovery services for stolen phones, even if offered at a price.  Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't mean that it can't or shouldn't be done.  Now that I know how easy it is for a phone to go missing, I'd gladly pay for the reassurance that some shady opportunist isn't able to benefit from my misfortune and hard work.  Judging by posts on the net about this subject, I know I'm not alone.

     

    No great company has ever succeeded by maintaining status quo.  Apple (and cell providers) could really do something to help address a fairly large issue with minimal cost and risk.

  • stevejobsfan0123 Level 8 Level 8 (38,650 points)

    I don't see how you did not know about this feature. When setting up an iPhone 4S, one of the menus says WOULD YOU LIKE TO SET UP FIND MY iPHONE, for which you would have to say NO to in order to not have it set up. But it is impossible for you not to know about it.

  • stevejobsfan0123 Level 8 Level 8 (38,650 points)

    joelfromcanada wrote:

     

    With that said, if you actually read my post, I did locate my phone using a similar feature provided by the Find My Friends app.

     

    I'm not even sure exactly what you expect to get out of this forum. You have already located your device and know where it is at. What more do you need from Apple?

  • joelfromcanada Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    stevejobsfan0123 wrote:

     

    I don't see how you did not know about this feature. When setting up an iPhone 4S, one of the menus says WOULD YOU LIKE TO SET UP FIND MY iPHONE, for which you would have to say NO to in order to not have it set up. But it is impossible for you not to know about it.


    As I clearly stated in my last post, when I purchased the phone, the salesperson behind the counter is the one who did the setup. They installed the SIM card, went through the initial setup, and then handed me the phone. Since I wasn't aware of the feature and never really had the need for something like that (at least in the past), I thought nothing of it.

     

     

    Obviously, with my new phone, the first thing I did was do the initial setup myself, associate my account with/enable iCloud, enable the appropriate feature, and put in a passcode.

     

    stevejobsfan0123 wrote:

     

    I'm not even sure exactly what you expect to get out of this forum. You have already located your device and know where it is at. What more do you need from Apple?

     

    What does anyone expect out of a forum?  It's a place to vent and discuss topics.  While I located my device, the police said they can't do anything unless I have a particular house number.  I did the leg work to get this information, plus the suspected person's name, etc and updated my incident report with this information.  Even still, the best the police can do is question the person and hopefully make them nervous enough to give up the phone. 

     

    Unless they had a way to catch the person redhanded, such as attempting to re-register the phone or make use of its features, there is not much they can do.  If they had a better mechanism and better support from cell providers and manufacturers, locating stolen phones would become just that little bit easier.

     

    I don't expect my phone to be recovered (and have already replaced it with another 4S) but it's cathartic to discuss my misfortune and thoughts on the situation. 

  • stevejobsfan0123 Level 8 Level 8 (38,650 points)

    I find that hard to beleive, that you would let an Apple employee set up your phone for you without watching them... how would THEY know if you want iCloud, location services or Find my iPhone. EVERY new device I get from Apple, they always have me set it up, but they are there watching me if I need assistance.

     

    You seem to misunderstand the purpose of these forums. They are here for people to get support and have their problems solved, not to vent. Your problem was already solved before you posted, you said you used Find my Friends to locate your device and know the person who took it. There is nothing we can do to make the police change their minds.

     

    But, since the purpose of these forums is to seek advice, I will give you some. Walk up to the guy's house, accompanied by the police. Show him on your wife's phone that your phone has been spotted at his house, and ask to do a search. If he refuses, then the police can step in.

  • iPhone_Warrior Level 3 Level 3 (650 points)

    Apple will provide the information needed... BUT they will need a court order to do so. It seems that your local police are not willing to pursue the issue.

    It is your property and you have the right to have it returned to you, even if you have replaced it.

    Start going up the chain of your local police and have them get a judge to issue a court order and then have it sent to Apple, or even better the carrier it is locked to. The IMEI# of your phone will show when the 'person' who has it puts his sim into it.

    That's all that can be done at this point.

    Good luck.

  • modular747 Level 6 Level 6 (17,670 points)

    Activating iCloud and enabling Find My Phone are one of the early steps shown on the phone setup menu when you activated your new iPhone 4S.  Claiming that you're a noobie who wasn't "familiar" with the features is nonsense - you can't avoid the choice to activate it and YOU CHOSE NOT.

     

    Life's full of personal responsibilities.  You are the type who has an overt-inflated self-entitlement, believing others have to take up the slack of your irresponsibility.   Not going to happen, no matter how much you whine and snivel.

  • joelfromcanada Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    stevejobsfan0123 wrote:

     

    I find that hard to beleive, that you would let an Apple employee set up your phone for you without watching them... how would THEY know if you want iCloud, location services or Find my iPhone. EVERY new device I get from Apple, they always have me set it up, but they are there watching me if I need assistance.

     

    Believe whatever you want, that is how it is done here where I live. When I went to buy my second phone, I had to do it at another location as well due to availability and the salesperson did the exact same thing. They set my phone up, connected it to their system with the dongle, did some typing, put the phone back in the box and sent me on my way. This time I paid attention and had them enable the services I wanted enabled and entered my account credentials. I'm not sure why they need to go through that process themselves or if they feel it is just a convenience feature.

     

    I'm not big into phones so I don't really follow all the latest and greatest, typical setup procedures, etc. My last phone was a crappy Samsung flip phone that I had for 5 years. I wanted a 4S because we'd bought my wife a 4 last year and I wanted to start looking into the lucrative AppStore marketplace (since I'm a developer, it peaked my interest as a hobby.)

     

    Personally, I didn't see it as a big deal at the time since you can modify whatever they setup that you don't like after you get the phone.  My mistake the first time; didn't make it the second time.

     

    modular747 wrote:

     

    Activating iCloud and enabling Find My Phone are one of the early steps shown on the phone setup menu when you activated your new iPhone 4S.  Claiming that you're a noobie who wasn't "familiar" with the features is nonsense - you can't avoid the choice to activate it and YOU CHOSE NOT.


    Well, with all due respect you need to read before you post.  I've stated twice now that the sales persons went through the initial setup BOTH times, for the stolen phone and the replacement.  I don't know why and I didn't ask because it didn't seem important at the time.  The second time I did pay attention and took my phone from him during setup so that I could enable the necessary services and enter my credentials.

     

    So clearly, with this being my first iPhone, I was not familiar with the initial setup process or the new features available in the newer iOS.

     

    modular747 wrote:

     

    Life's full of personal responsibilities.  You are the type who has an overt-inflated self-entitlement, believing others have to take up the slack of your irresponsibility.   Not going to happen, no matter how much you whine and snivel.

     

    Why are you resorting to (ineffective) personal attacks? Are you that immature and small-minded? If you can't participate in a mature, intelligent discussion, then don't bother. Go play with your building blocks or something; this thread is for adults.

     

    I have not demonstrated any sense of self-entitlement in my posts and I'm certainly not whining and snivelling.  I was curious whether Apple had enhanced services for this sort of situation.  If you can't see how offering improved services to customers for a seemingly common situation, then you're just being obtuse.  I have never once said that it isn't my fault for carelessly losing the phone out of my pocket or for not enabling Find My Phone (even though I effectively did this with the other app.)  My point, which you failed to comprehend, is that the police and legitimate customers could benefit for enhanced location services.  It's really not that hard to understand.

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