Unusual Uses for the Find My iPhone Feature in MobileMe: Inexpensive Tracking Device
Article by George Norman
On 14 Jul 2009
Find My iPhone is one of the cool new features in the iPhone OS 3.0 that paying MobileMe customers can take advantage of and ensure that they never lose their smartphone again. What Find My iPhone does is display the location of your device in MobileMe so that you know where the device is, it lets you send a message that will be displayed on the iPhone’s screen (something like “Please return me to…”) and it lets you wipe the device’s memory clean in case you realize that you cannot get your iPhone back (it was stolen and you do not want the thief to have access to your personal data).

If you want to check out the full functionality that Find My iPhone has to offer, a detailed article on the matter is available here. The focus of this article is “unusual uses” of Find My iPhone, like the recent article on how Kevin Miller used the feature to track down the person who stole his iPhone.


Here is one other interesting use of the Find My iPhone feature: use the iPhone as a tracking device. This story comes from David Molnar, who used a $99 iPhone 3G and Find My iPhone to make sure that moving his girlfriend’s things from Chicago to Oakland goes smoothly.

“I recently helped my girlfriend move her stuff from Chicago to Oakland. The movers were scheduled to arrive at 8AM on the 5th of July, and we were stressing the day before about all the things that could go wrong with a move. We realized that if we knew where her stuff was, it'd make us feel better. We could buy an iPhone, pack the iPhone with the boxes, and then use Find My iPhone to see where the boxes went. I've held out against the iPhone craze until now, so that meant I had no AT&T contract. I was therefore eligible for the $99 iPhone. What's more, AT&T has a clause in their contract where you can opt out within 30 days without paying the early termination fee. So, an iPhone would be cheaper than a dedicated GPS device (most of which don't play music), and I could return it when we were done,” explained David Molnar.

David Molnar, after recounting his Find My iPhone experience, brings up an interesting point: could you track someone if you know their MobileMe password? And the answer is yes, yes you can track someone as long as you managed to get your hands on that person’s MobileMe login credentials and the Find My iPhone feature is activated.

Or alternatively you could conveniently leave your iPhone in that person’s car or purse and use your own MobileMe account as a tracker.

Tags: Apple, iPhone, MobileMe, Find My iPhone
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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