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Comment: The Apple ecosystem offers a lot of peace of mind if you lose your phone

I’m not sure whether there’s a typical lost iPhone story, but the tale of how I came to leave my iPhone behind on Monday evening, outdoors, several miles from home, is a slightly convoluted one.

I should like to note that no alcohol was involved – only tea …

Someone in my tango class managed to knock over a cup of tea, soaking some of the floor right by my belongings. At first, I thought the only casualty had been my dance shoe bag. On walking out of the building through the courtyard, however, it quickly became apparent that the lower part of my overcoat, which had been draped on the floor, had also been soaked. This was now also soaking the lower part of my trousers.

To take off the overcoat, I had to remove my backpack and put down my phone.

A smart move would have been to put the phone into my pocket – but at the time, speed seemed to be of the essence. So I instead put it down on top of a ventilation outlet on the wall of the building. By the time I’d sorted things out, I’d somehow convinced myself that I’d done what I ought to have done with my phone rather than what I actually did, and left without it.

Around ten minutes later, when I reached for my phone to listen to some music on the journey home, I realised what I’d done. By the time I returned, the building was closed and locked – including the gate to the courtyard.

The first piece of the Apple ecosystem came into play: I used my Apple Watch to ping my phone. I could hear it through the gate, which confirmed it was still there. That was the first worry gone: no-one leaving the building after me had spotted it and walked off with it.

With the phone safely inside a locked courtyard, there didn’t seem any great rush to put it into Lost mode, so I waited until I was home and did that from my Mac. I put my girlfriend’s number on the Lock screen.

Dark Sky claimed it wasn’t going to rain overnight, and was almost right. It did rain a little first thing, but in the morning I was able to ping my phone again from Find My iPhone and confirm it was still alive. Second worry alleviated.

Steph gave the company a call the moment they opened in the morning. A cleaner answered the phone and kindly retrieved it. I then nipped back after work to reclaim it. The battery was dead by then, but I took a power bank with me (this one – which I reviewed here) so it was soon back up and running.

Android owners would, of course, be quick to point out that Google’s ecosystem has the same capabilities, and that’s true. But either way, without it I’d have had a more worrying time, fearing that my phone had either been taken or drowned overnight. Apple’s ecosystem was able to reassure me on both points.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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