Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Increase the chances of getting your iPhone back if lost

Yesterday a friend lost his iPhone while riding on a motorbike. He asked if I can see it on apple's Find My Friends. Unfortunately not, and the battery was already low when it was lost. This made me think of ways to increase the chances of finding your iPhone in the case it would get lost somewhere.

The first thing that should be done when setting up the iPhone is probably set a password (Settings-General-Pass code) and turn on "Find My iPhone". For the latter you'll need to log in the iPhone with your iCloud account (Settings-iCloud-Account). When done, scroll down to "Find My iPhone" in your iCloud settings slide the appropriate switch to the right to activate it. You might want to login to your iCloud account through your PC's browser to check if you can see the iPhone on the Map.

Since finders of an iPhone will always see the Lock Screen first when they turn it on, it seems to me a good idea to put in a background wall paper that includes details on contacting the owner such as an alternate phone number and email address. You can do this in any photo editor such as PhotoImpact, Photoshop or even windows paint would probably work also.

Make a new document in your favorite photo editor with same size as your iPhone's resolution. If it would be the iPhone 5 the document size should be 640 x 1136 pixels. You can insert any background color or picture and use the Text tool to insert your information on how a possible finder can contact you. But make sure that you put important information in the lower 2/3 of the wallpaper since the top third will be covered by the time and date once on the iPhone.

After you've saved the image (as png or jpg) just send it to your iphone (either by email air-drop or ImageTransfer) and save it to your camera roll. Then go to Settings-Wallpapers & Brightness-Choose wallpaper-Set-Set Lock Screen. At least this will give an honest finder the possibility to contact you instead of seeing just a picture of your lazy cat.

You might also want to automatically upload new photos to your icloud account (Settings-iCloud-Photos). If I remember correctly, the last 1000 photos taken will be available in the iCloud. For syncing it with your Windows PC you'll need to install the iCloud Control Panel for Windows so that as soon as a new photo is uploaded to your iCloud, you will soon have it on your PC under the Photostream folder in your Pictures library.

In case pictures have been taken after you lost the phone, just open the pictures in iPhoto on the mac or picasa so you'll be able to see on a map where the photo has been taken.

Additionally you might want to check Apple's own steps to take if you misplace your device (switch on 'Lost mode' from the iCloud website or the Find My iPhone app) and 'What to do if your iPhone is lost or stolen'.

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