This is a follow-up to a recent Fearless Web blog that I wrote about lost and found iPhone and iPad incidents. The blog provoked some interesting discussion among my fellow Trend Micro colleagues, friends, and blog readers.
Some mentioned that the Find My iPhone app (for devices with iOS5 or later) is available to assist. That is a useful app, but you have to have another iPhone, iPad or computer with Internet access to be able to use it…and, of course, you need to set it up with iCloud, which I did when I was researching this blog. It’s a cool app because it can use GPS to pinpoint where the device is (if it’s turned on) and you can remotely send a message or in worse case scenario, wipe it clean of your personal data.
James Hsiao, who is senior engineer based in our Taiwan office, said he was going to leave the password protection off his iPhone so that if he lost it and an honest person picked it up, that individual would be able to access the information on the device and figure out how to contact him to return it.
James figured if a “bad” person found or stole his iPhone, then he wouldn’t get it back, even if he had it password protected. His theory was that to increase the odds of getting his device returned in a timely manner, it would be better to leave it un-password protected.
Clearly, it’s counter-intuitive but perhaps it is a wise approach. My concern about this is leaving all your personal stuff easily accessible to anyone. And furthermore, aren’t you inviting theft if a bad guy sees you using your phone without a password?
Paul Gomez, a Trend Micro solution consultant based in our Tokyo office, said there’s no way he’d leave his iPhone unprotected…especially with all the priceless photos he is storing on it that he would not want strangers looking at. Then Paul came up with a good solution to this dilemma:
Take a picture of your contact information and then save that image as your “lock screen” so that if your device is lost then the finder will have an immediate and easy way to contact you and arrange for its return.
I may not be the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but I know a good idea when I hear one. So I immediately set about apply Paul’s solution. You can do it too, probably in 10 minutes or less.
Here’s the procedure for an iPhone (I assume other mobile devices have similar capabilities):
1 . Create a Word document (you can write this by hand too if you don’t have access to a printer). Center the copy in your favorite font. I used Calibri, font size 14.
Here ‘s what I suggest you write:
If this phone is lost and found, please contact:
[your email address]
Reward for safe and timely return!
2. Next step is to print the copy and then use your iPhone camera to take a photo of it.
3. Now it’s in your photo library, so select the image
4. Then tap the photo to bring up the options menu
5. Select the icon with the folder and the arrow
6. Then you will get a screen with a few options (see below). Select the “Use as wallpaper” option
7. Then you can “Move & Scale” the image so that it’s large enough to read and centered
8. Then tap on “Set” button.
9. Another set of options will appear. Tap on the “Set Lock Screen”
10. You’re done. Check to see if you did it right by letting your phone go to “Lock” mode. Here’s what it should look like:
As for laptops, I only have an old-fashioned solution. Just tape a business card to the cover. It’s a good way to help the honest person get in touch with you, if and when they find your computer.
I work for Trend Micro and the opinions expressed here are my own.
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