First, cry! I did. I lost my iPhone at a business function on Thursday and I was pretty hopeful that someone would turn it in. Alas, it hasn’t happened and I may have to face the cold, hard reality that it just might not be coming back.
Second, fight for your iPhone. I am not giving up without a fight. I scoured the Web, called AT&T and Apple and thought that I’d receive a plethora of advice and support. Unfortunately, I got a lot of “Sorry, but there is nothing we can do for you” and “Just go out and buy a new one.” Well, neither of those options seemed fair. So I thought I’d try to make a list of things that you can do to help yourself. Even if you don’t get your iPhone back, you don’t want someone else using it or accessing your files.
What to do if your iPhone is lost or stolen?
1. Check your phone usage online or call AT&T. You should be able to logon and see if anyone has used your iPhone. If they are using it, and its not to call you, your journey probably ends here. You may need to shut off (cancel) your account and spend another $300 bucks on a new iPhone. However, if it hasn’t been used, keep checking it periodically.
2. Suspend your account with AT&T. Logon to www.attwireless.comand go to your account. Click on your device, click on lost or stolen phone, and click on suspend. This will prevent someone from using your iPhone to make outgoing calls. However, they can still open it and see recent phone numbers or your contact list. Hopefully, you have one that says ‘home’ or ‘work’ and they’ll still use it to contact if you if they are trying to return your phone.
2. Change your email passwords. If you are like me, you may have personal and work email synched with your iPhone. Immediately, change your email passwords so that no new mail can be retreived by the device. This will at least prevent new messages from being intercepted. This is also a lesson not to store too many emails on the device. Keep it to its lowest setting so that you are less vulnerable if the device is lost or stolen. (There is a locking feature on the device similar to the Blackberry. It’s off by default, but if you were smart enough to activate it, it could help prevent access as well.)
3. Change your Apple iTunes passwords. If you have a credit card on file with iTunes, and your iPhone is associated with that account, that will prevent the user from using your iPhone to buy music on your account.
4. Report it stolen to the local police. Hey, you never know. The folks at Apple and AT&T kept suggesting this when I called them but when I asked why, they really didn’t have an answer. I think the NYPD has more high priority crimes than a lost/stolen iPhone, but maybe if someone walked the phone into a precinct, it would help if I had reported it stolen.
5. Reach out to the community. In my online search, I saw people post appeals on Craigslist, EveryBlock.com and other sites. I even saw a few people post a few days later that they did get their iPhone back, mostly from good samaritans rather than readers of the post. Usually, you get a lot of comments from people that share in your sorrow with you since they too, lost their iPhone. So at least, you can be miserable together.
I hope this helps someone. I’ll let you know if mine comes back. I have good karma, so it should. (But, I won’t hold my breath.)
UPDATE: March 6th, 2008
I got a call today that my iPhone was found! I am thrilled, and grateful, that it was returned. But, I am also kicking myself because I bought a new one 2 weeks ago. So, I have now paid more for 2 iPhones than what I paid for my wedding ring! (I am not sure what is more pathetic, how cheap my wedding ring was, or how ridiculous it is to buy an iPhone, or 2 for that matter!)