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"Find My iPhone" Rescued Me


Kohei Hara/Getty Images

Apple has a feature that allows you to track on a map the exact location of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod. This is a pretty cool application that comes in handy in lots of different circumstances. This is the story of how this app saved me from having to buy a brand new phone.

I was visiting family in a remote area in the south. We spent a week on the river having a great time. My iPhone, as usual, was in my pocket most of the trip, so I could answer texts, emails, and take pictures of the fun we were having as a family. At the end of the week, we got ready to pack up and I couldn't find my phone. The last time I had seen it was when I put it in the storage box on the back of our ATV, so it wouldn’t get wet while the kids were swimming. We searched and searched, but no phone. I took the ATV and retraced my steps for about half an hour, still no phone. Honestly, as I thought about it, the most frustrating thing to lose was my photos and videos I’d accumulated over the last year and a half. I could figure out how to get a cheap phone for the time being, but I could never replace those pictures and videos. Despite my searching, and other family members searching, we couldn't find the phone, so we threw in the towel.

Just for giggles, we pulled into a McDonald's on our way home, and I pulled up the “Find my iPhone” app on my iPad (after ordering a caffeinated beverage, of course). As I said, we were in a pretty remote area, so I didn't expect to find anything, and, as expected, nothing popped up. So, we moved on.

We had about 2 hours to our next destination, and when we got settled in there, I checked one last time (can you say desperate?) to see if the location of my phone might pop up magically on the map. As I put in my password, the app started the search, and there it was! The location was about an hour and a half from where we were at that point, in a town we passed along the way. I reset it and searched again, just to make sure. We were so confused about how it could have ended up there. Did someone steal it? Did I leave it on top of the car and it finally fell off 30 minutes into our trip? It didn’t make sense. Then I could tell a light bulb went off in my brother’s head as he said, “We dropped trash off there! We threw away some trash at that gas station!” We figured somehow the phone must have mistakenly been put in with something that was thrown away. And even though we didn’t know all the details, I knew I had to go see if my phone was in that trash.

So, me and my nephew drove an hour and a half to the town to chance it. “Find my iPhone” occasionally can’t locate your phone because of signal reception issues, but it’s never said the phone was in a place that it wasn’t (at least not for me). As we drove out, my brother called and said he knew how the phone ended up there. There was a black box in the back of the ATV. Somehow, when I was driving the ATV, my iPhone had slid into this box, which eventually got put in the trash as we were packing up. I still wasn’t convinced, but had a good sense that the phone was in that trash can at the gas station where my brother stopped.

When we got there, we donned some rubber gloves and started digging. We must have looked a little strange to the locals in this small town, but I didn’t care. When we moved the top layer out of the trash can, there it was, right inside that black box. I was so relieved and excited to have my phone back, and so thankful to have that kind of technology available. Hopefully, I won’t need to use it in that way ever again!

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