At the end of March I went to Cuba.
Unfortunately during my stay there I managed to leave my iPhone in a taxicab in Havana, whilst riding along the very road shown above, the Malecon along the seafront.
Now, as some of you may know, iPhone’s have a facility on them called “find my iPhone“, which when activated will allow you to locate it. I don’t know the details of whether it uses mobile-mast triangulation or the built-in GPS in the phone (I’m sure I could find out with a bit of hunting on the internet).. But, what I do know to my cost is that, unless you are careful, it won’t work abroad.
By default, iPhones are set up so that “data roaming” is switched off. This is a good thing, as accessing the internet via the mobile network when abroad can be VERY expensive. But, what I have discovered is that the “find my iPhone” feature requires the iPhone to be able to access the internet, which in 99% of situations means it is going to need data roaming switched on, unless of course it is left/lost within range of a a WiFi signal.
I have played with the “find my iPad” since getting back to see how well it locates my iPad, and it does seem to be able to locate it to a high level of precision, which leads me to suspect it is using GPS, but I plan to go into Cardiff’s local Apple Store to find out more. But, it would seem to me that people should be advised to switch data roaming ON so that “find my iPhone” works, but then switch off all the push notices to the internet, such as automatic email checking, Facebook checking, twitter checking etc. Although this is a lot more work that leaving data roaming off, if it means a lost iPhone can be located it would be worth doing. But, as I say, I will go into my local Apple Store to get advice.
So, now for one of my favourite R.E.M. songs – “Losing My Religion”, which has nothing to do with losing an iPhone, except for the rather tenuous one that for some people Apple products are akin to a religion.