What Happens When You Lose Your IPhone?

by Francine on September 6, 2009

What happens when you lose your iPhone? You get it back. And "Find my phone" isn't the way it happens.

This has happened to me twice. Read to the end, because the second time's more important.  The first time, the day after getting my very first iPhone, the dogs and I were playing on the beach in Half Moon Bay and I had the phone in my pocket because I was taking pictures of happy swimming dogs. I  took a doggy waste bag out of my pocket, eaned over, picked up the poo, and…I didn't notice the loss for five minutes, and then we retraced our steps for two hours but didn't find it.

However, later I called it and learned that someone had found the phone on the beach and it was waiting for me at the Beach House Hotel. I sent the people flowers.

The second time was this week at Target in Colma. I was shopping for something large, and I had been talking on the phone a moment before. I set the phone down on a shelf next to the item I was buying. I loaded the item into my cart, looked around, and…gone! My phone is not easy to miss, because it has a dog-proof, baby-proof purple plastic case.

I retraced my steps, and then waited for a couple of hours in Target (with nothing to do because I didn't have an iPhone) for the phone to be turned in to customer service.  I didn't have a computer with me, either, so I couldn't get to Mobile Me. Finally I gave up and went to the nearest AT&T store, and we called the phone. Someone answered, and said the number was his, and he had gotten it from Verizon. A likely story in the USA.

I  asked to use a computer, and they didn't have one with Internet access at the AT&T store!!! So I drove to the Apple Store in Burlingame.  By now, a simple errand was going on 4 hours. I also filed a police report, and the policeman told me I'd never get the phone back. I, however, long ago nicknamed myself karmagoddess because my life has been a series of fabulous (in the literal sense of the world, like from a fable) coincidences.

But at the Apple store, I paid $454 to replace the phone, because I have no home phone in Half Moon Bay and no one knows my Google Voice number (yet). First I got on their computers and found that whoever found/took my phone had turned off  the "Find My Phone"  feature. This was not a person with a Verizon account. Karma potential fading fast.

Another hour to buy the phone, and I was home, restoring and syncing.  I also sent a tweet telling that someone had jacked my phone. Lots of people sent their sympathies. You know how wonderful the Twitter community is.

The next morning I got the email.

"I have your phone.  Where do you want me to send it."   Hmmm… email address from somewhere in New Zealand,  xxx@somename.acad.nz    A student? An anonymizer?

After an exchange in which I didn't give my address but found out the phone was in San Francisco,  I asked the person to leave it at Citizen Space, (a public place) where Jesse received it and held it in a drawer until I could drive into the city and pick it up.

How did I get it back? My hypothesis is that someone stole it in Target or they would have just returned it to Customer Service and not taken it with them to San Francisco. Once I called it and then turned it off, whoever took it had less use for it. Perhaps they dumped it somewhere and this New Zealander picked it up and returned it. I've been to New Zealand, and the people (stereotype coming) seemed really nice, like the US in the l950s.

Or maybe it was the tweet.

The next day I returned the new iPhone to the Apple Store, where they happily refunded my money.

The takeaway: the customer service was exemplary every place I went. Thanks to the people at AT&T in Colma, Target at Colma, where they tried to find the phone even down to looking at their in-store video, the folks at the Burlingame Apple Store, and even the Colma Police. Everyone was wonderful, including Twitter.

Posted via email from Not Really Stealthmode

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What Happens When You Lose Your IPhone? | Stealthmode Blog | Look4iPhone.com
September 6, 2009 at 11:00 am

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

mikeoneil September 6, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Except for the guy who stole your phone (and turned off the “find me” feature). I always figure any random person is overwhelming likely to be honest, but if you are in a crowd of 1,000 there is certain to be a crook among them.

hardaway September 6, 2009 at 8:37 pm

i always assume people are honest, which is why I waited in Target for hours before turning it off:-) I thought it would come back — and eventually it did.

whitscott September 30, 2009 at 11:49 am

I lost my phone on Sunday. I've been hoping i would be contacted. I sent myself a text message from my wife's phone with her contact info hoping I'd get the call. I've returned 4 or 5 cell phones in my life, sometimes going to great lengths to make the return, I'd hope my phone Carma would be good.

Now I've resorted to hunting on twitter for a cheap phone.

Here is my blogpost if you want to spread the love and help me find a new phone.
http://whitscott.com/2009/09/30/i-lost-my-iphon

If you or your friend, or your mom has a phone they would like to sell to me you can reach me at @WhitScott on twitter.

Glad you found your phone!

whitscott September 30, 2009 at 6:49 pm

I lost my phone on Sunday. I’ve been hoping i would be contacted. I sent myself a text message from my wife’s phone with her contact info hoping I’d get the call. I’ve returned 4 or 5 cell phones in my life, sometimes going to great lengths to make the return, I’d hope my phone Carma would be good.rnrnNow I’ve resorted to hunting on twitter for a cheap phone.rnrnHere is my blogpost if you want to spread the love and help me find a new phone. rnhttp://whitscott.com/2009/09/30/i-lost-my-iphone-can-you-help/rnrnIf you or your friend, or your mom has a phone they would like to sell to me you can reach me at @WhitScott on twitter. rnrnGlad you found your phone!

Alyx September 25, 2011 at 4:24 am

I recently lost my phone at the airport, I sent numerous text messages but my phone battery was dead when I lost it so it’s likely it’s off. I’ve already locked down the phone and am getting a new one tomorrow but I’ve filed several lost items reports with the airlines and spoken with numerous airline employees (all of whom were very kind and sympathetic) so I’m still hoping that I will get my old one back. Your story does give me hope that my karma will prevail, having returned not only several cell phones but quite a few wallets and other personal items in my time (including a lost engagement ring)

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