Last week, for the Thanksgiving weekend, I stayed with my brother and sister-in-law in Syracuse, NY. It was a glorious weekend, filled with family, fun, food, and an abundance of gluten-free pastry. On Sunday afternoon I departed, and began the drive to Washington DC, for the Paulist General Council meeting. Unfortunately, my iPad stayed behind in Syracuse.
Honestly, it’s rare that I don’t visit my family and not leave something behind: my phone charger, a sweater, something. I’ve been told that’s an expression of the subconscious desire to stay, or perhaps to return. True enough, I guess. But my iPad? How was it possible? It’s almost never out of reach. I think I set it down on a black tabletop, and just didn’t see it as I was packing. A few hours later, I got a call from my sister-in-law, Ann, telling me that they’d discovered it, and would send to to me overnight the next day. Obviously, I felt pretty dumb for having left it, and putting Ann to such trouble.
The next day, I remembered an app on my iPhone called, “Find my iPhone,” which will also locate a missing iPad. You fire it up, and in moments it reports the location of your registered iOS devices, along with their position on a Google map. In addition, if your iPhone/iPad has been lost or stolen, you can make them squawk, and display a message asking for their return. Should that fail, you can send them a “poison pill” that will lock the device, or make it wipe it’s memory clear, destroying any sensitive data that might be loose in the wild. [This used to be available only to MobileMe subscribers, but Apple’s recently made it available to anyone, for free.]
So, I launched “Find my iPhone,” and there it was: Sitting in a warehouse next to the Syracuse airport! The next morning, there it was: in suburban Maryland, waiting to go out for delivery. Later that day, I watched as my iPad visited several buildings on the campus of the Catholic University of America, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and finally I tracked it in near-real-time as the UPS truck rolled up 7th Street, and then down the driveway to St. Paul’s College, where I’m staying. I looked out the conference room window, and there was the truck! Amazing!
The lessons here:
- Don’t leave your iPad behind!
- Make sure you’ve got “Find my iPhone” installed and running.
- Don’t annoy everyone around you with geeky squeals as you track a UPS truck coming up the driveway.
Another great example of innovative Apple technology, making like a little less stressful, and a lot more fun.