In the spirit of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, the MacWorks team is pleased to share a Christmas tech miracle in poetic verse.  Enjoy.

‘Twas three days ‘til Christmas, while warm in the car
I noticed my phone was not near… but far
I poured out my bags right there on the seat
Keyboards and hard drives and tools by my feet
Alas, I found nothing, not even a clue
My iPhone’s location was… somewhere, it’s true
I didn’t give up, I was ready to fight
I knew I would search and trudge through the night
The snow had just fallen and drifted around
My ears, they were straining, I needed a sound
A text or an email or tweet it would beep
But I could hear nothing, not even a peep
Finally, I thought of a mend to my swoon
Find My iPhone is on, I’ll have it back soon
I rushed to my house and grabbed an iPad
Kissed my wife on the cheek, grabbed a scarf made of plaid
I hopped in the car and drove around town
Upways and sideways, all over and down
I followed the dot my iPad produced
And tracked it, at last, to a nice, cozy roost
Someone had found it out there in the snow
I said I was grateful but I had to go
Back to my wife with a hoot and a whistle
Merry Christmas to all, may your joy never fizzle

That poem was inspired by the story below.  Pat O’Rourke, one of our consultants, lost his iPhone 3 day before Christmas and was able to recover it using some resourcefulness and Find My iPhone.

My job as an onsite engineer requires many different tools, so I have several IT bags that I carry: My basic computer bag, a bigger bag with keyboards, desktop drives, etc. and my construction bag. My current appointment’s problems required me to go out to the car to retrieve a tool. As I ran the 100 feet from their front door to my car, somehow I dropped my iPhone. As I was wrapping up the appointment, I had a bad feeling when I couldn’t find my phone. When I got to the car I started looking around more carefully.

After I dumped all 3 bags — it looked like R2-D2 puked in my back seat — I knew I had lost my phone. I looked through the nearby snow but couldn’t find it. The client lives in a secure building so I was unable get back in to look inside… and I couldn’t call them because my phone was missing.  In not time at all, the client came out to walk their dog and let me in to confirm that the phone wasn’t there. How was I going to let HQ know that my iPhone was missing?  I also didn’t have the contact information for my next appointment. Not a good combination. Patrick is starting to Panic.

The clients live in a fairly rural area so finding a pay phone or hotspot wasn’t a good option. I was 20 minutes from my house so I decided to go there. On the way, I started thinking; I can use technology to solve the problem. I will use my computer to look for my phone.

Using Find My iPhone, I was able to see it was right near where I was parked. I grabbed my wife’s iPad, a snow shovel and returned to the client’s place. At a traffic light I refreshed the tracking location and found the iPhone had moved. It appeared to be on the other side of the street. I was scared that a snow blower or plow had found it and moved it to its ‘final’ resting spot. When I got back to the site, I was relieved to find the snow banks still intact. After a quick shovel and no iPhone, I refreshed the current phone location and found it was about 10 miles away in a shopping plaza.

When I got to the mall, the map on Find My iPhone was a little undefined so, I started at the Red Lobster. When I explained what had happened, I asked if could I play a tone on my phone and walk through the dining room. The manager said, “If you can bust someone with an iPad, I’d like to see it. Help yourself.” When I did not hear the tone, I sent a 4th request asking “are you in the Red Lobster?” No Luck. I thanked the staff at Red Lobster and went back to my car.

I compared the Google maps position with the map in Find My Phone. I started driving in the parking lot and pulled up to the Dairy Queen. Looking at the Find My iPhone app and Google maps, I knew I was really, really close. As I walked in the Dairy Queen, I sent the play tone on the iPhone. The girl working the counter said, “Are you looking for your phone?”

The story goes: someone “found it” and decided to leave it at the Dairy Queen. The employee asked, “How were we supposed to reply to you if the phone is locked?”

I thought it was odd that someone “found it” 10 miles away and decided to leave it on the counter at the Dairy Queen as soon as I started sending messages to the phone.   Even still, I am extremely happy to be reunited with my leash.

Here are three lessons to take away from my expedition:

  • A pass code on your phone is essential. Had there not been a passcode, I doubt would have found my phone. At very least, the person who had the device would know most of my personal info.
  • Sign up for iCloud. Without the Find My iPhone tool, the phone would still be lost.
  • Don’t lose your iPhone.  I really shouldn’t have to say this one. 🙂