Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Our brand new, shiny iPhone fell out of my husband’s pocket as he was gathering our various toys, snacks, and luggage during the process of unboarding the plane. I’m always double and triple checking everything, but with a baby in my arms and a line of passengers waiting to exit the plane, for once I didn’t look back to ensure we had everything (I still feel guilty). With much needed potty stops, a food break, and a quick walk to stretch our legs we didn’t realize our iPhone was missing until the next flight on that plane was already in the process of boarding.
The gate agent wasn’t even going to let my husband go onboard to check the plane, but a pilot for the next flight was boarding and wanted to help. He very kindly went to the row we were sitting in and checked all around. My husband tried calling our phone number as he had turned on the iPhone after our flight landed to check the status of our next flight. The call went straight to voicemail indicating that the iPhone was turned off.
Our stomachs sank and we immediately knew someone snatched it up and probably had no intention of returning it. When an iPhone is turned off, the tracking system is disabled and it wouldn’t ring if someone was trying to call and locate it. The pilot suggested probably a cleaning crew member took the phone, although it could have been a passenger that unboarded the plane after us. We wanted to contact the cleaning staff to offer a reward, but the gate agents insisted they would have turned it in. So after we exhausted what we could do at the time while still making our next flight here is a list of
What to do when your iPhone is lost or stolen.
- Immediately, go to the area it was lost or stolen, call it, and listen for it to ring to try to locate it.
- If you have MobileMe, Latitude, or similar, track it to find its location (if they didn’t turn your phone off).
- Call or go online to contact your cell phone carrier and report it lost or stolen to disable service. The last thing you need is someone racking up a huge bill on your account on top of the loss of your expensive phone.
- Change all passwords on all accounts that you access with your iPhone. (for example, email)
- Submit a local police report documenting the theft and include the serial number of your phone
- Call and/or submit any forms for Lost and Found (depending on where your phone was lost – we called and submitted lost and found information at the airport)
- Call your cell phone carrier to discuss options and see what you can do to replace your phone.
Regardless of who has our iPhone, we’ve come to accept it is probably gone forever. It was an expensive mistake which is difficult to accept, but the hardest part for me is losing photos and videos of my son that I will never get back. Also, having the phone on our month long trip would have allowed us to connect with family, especially grandparents, using FaceTime as we aren’t close enough to visit in person.
After some exhaustive web searches and reading through heated forums – it is clear that neither Apple nor AT&T will do anything to prevent your phone from being re-activated by whoever “found it”. Many cell carriers in Europe participate in a “blacklist” program whereby stolen phones are logged into a database that prevents them from being used on any network – this is done using the unique “IMEI” number built into the phone (a number which is very difficult to change). Unfortunately AT&T does not offer this capability. Remember while you may have only paid $199 to upgrade to a new iPhone 4, the street value even of used units is well over $500 and your replacement cost is $399 via AT&T with another 2 year contract.
In the end, it’s just a material thing and although we are not happy about our missing phone, it can be replaced. People are what are important and I’m just glad that we all arrived safe and sound!
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