NYPD tip: You should turn on your phone’s space-age anti-theft tech

This was not the Droid you were looking for.

A helpful, if not do-duh tip, from the NYPD, coming to you by way of the Flatbush development Yahoo group: Your iPhone has a feature that helps track it down if it’s stolen. Maybe you should turn it on? A post group last week says the NYPD is asking everyone to enable their Find My iPhone app, which will “greatly increase our ability to recover and make an arrest if your cell phone is taken.” It’s a pretty handy tech when you think about it; and also, sometimes you leave it on top of a fridge and nearly ruin a party when you accuse people of stealing it. Not that that happened to anyone we know. Instructions on how to turn it on below: 

The app also lets you remote lock and wipe your phone, or send a message to the would-be thief.

[Instructions via Apple]

1. Make sure your device is running iOS 5.

To update to the latest version of iOS, just connect your device to your Mac or PC and follow the onscreen instructions in iTunes. (Requires iTunes 10.5 or later.)

If you’re setting up a new iOS device, go to the Settings Menu, tap General, and tap Software Update to see if there’s an update available.

2. Turn on iCloud.

When you turn on a new iOS device or after you’ve completed the update to iOS 5, follow the instructions in the setup assistant to activate your device and set up iCloud.1

If you skipped the setup process, tap the Settings icon on the Home screen, select iCloud, then enter your Apple ID.

3. Customize your settings.

Tap the Settings icon and select iCloud. Tap the On/Off switches to enable individual iCloud services. To enable iCloud Backup, tap Storage & Backup and turn on iCloud Backup.

4. Enable Automatic Downloads in Store settings.

To enable automatic downloads for your music, apps, and books, tap the Settings icon on the Home screen and select Store.2

5. Turn on iCloud for the rest of your devices.

And then set it up on your computer here, which allows you to track it from home, all radar-style. Here’s a thing from Lifehacker on how to use it for pre-2010 devices.


  1. Conal Darcy

    Ah, yes. The old your-friend’s-girlfriend-leaves-her-phone-on-top-of-the-fridge-on-New-Year’s-and-because-she’s-wasted-and-just-a-bad-person-to-begin-with-starts-screaming-and-moaning-that-she’s-been-robbed-and-ruins-the-party-for-everyone routine. I remember it well.

    Also, if you’re going to enable iCloud, read this first (and then secure your GMail account and back up your stuff!).

  2. iamkellymurphy

    This has saved me a million times! Never theft, always from the Dickens plot device described by Conal Darcy. If someone found your phone and doesn’t want to steal it, remotely sending them a message with your e-mail address is actually very handy.

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