The Tale of the Traveling iPad

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:

  1. Don’t leave your iPad behind!
  2. Make sure you’ve got “Find my iPhone” installed and running.
  3. 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.