Can ‘Find-My-iPhone’ help solve crime?

This week, (17/09/14), a man has been jailed for four years after use of an iPhone App helped police track down the thief in 30 minutes. ‘Find-my-iphone’ is an app designed to help phone owners track down their apple devices in the case of theft or loss. All you need is to have installed the application BEFORE losing your iPhone, and then the App can be switched on via web or another Apple device.

A screen shot of 'Find-My-iPhone' in use.
A screen shot of ‘Find-My-iPhone’ in use.

The App works through use of Wi-Fi, tracking down your device and displaying it on a map for easy visibility. If you have merely misplaced your phone or iPad, you can then send out a command for your missing device to make noise at full volume for two minutes even if your device is on silent mode. Alternatively if your device has been stolen you can both track its movement live on the map (note that the Police do not encourage anyone to approach thieves themselves, instead inform your local force), and erase all data if you believe the thief will try and steal any important information.

In this particular instance, a 33 year old man had stolen an iPhone, iPad, and laptops, and was only caught out thanks to the initiative of officers called to the scene. The thief was found 0.5 miles away from the house he’d just burgled, caught red handed with the stolen devices. Superintendant Andy Kingdom from Swansea Central police has been quoted saying that “this can often be a long and difficult process, but the way this particular incident unfolded was like an episode of The Bill”. This is a prime example of how technology is having a real and profound effect on home security, helping to speed up investigations and offering alternative methods of protection.

One disadvantage of the App is that once the device is turned off, ‘Find-my-iPhone’ is rendered useless. Several customer reviews have pointed out this flaw, stating how thieves will often immediately turn off the phone to prevent any kind of tracking from occurring. It is pure luck that in this case, the burglar did not do this quick enough. The App will, however, resume working as soon as the device is turned back on, but some will argue that by this time most thieves will have wiped the gadget to sell on to a third party.  (Update: With the iOS 8 software update, Find-My-iPhone added a new ‘send last location’ feature which will send Apple a notification of your device’s last location before the battery dies, this does not help if a thief turns the phone off, however if you have simply lost it you do not have to fear a dead battery).

Is this App worth a download? You be the judge! Here at LockRite we aim to prevent burglaries from occurring to begin with. Making sure your home security is up to scratch is crucial, so take a look at our Top 10 Home Security Tips here, or call us on 0800 0612 677 for a security survey.