Sunday, 6 November 2011

Broken Things: iPhone 4

I was browsing through some older files when I saw this pic. The story behind this phone is one of adventure, intrigue, and criminal elements leaving their murky underworld to terrorise the public.

This iPhone has a fun little escapade attached to it, in April this year.

The Owner had it stolen while picking their kids up from school - they left the car unlocked for two minutes, and came back to find it gone. By sheer luck he'd recently been travelling so we'd connected his brand-new phone to our corporate mobileme account.

 He called me about an hour later and I pulled it up on 'find my iphone'. We got occasional reports as it was driven south before the thief finally settled down for the evening at a little house in Fremantle.

I kept an eye on it the next morning, and finally got a good GPS reading that showed exactly which house it was in.  One screenshot and we were in business.

We got lucky again when we got the police involved. They apparently had some free time (and were intrigued by 'Find My iPhone'), so they sent a car around to the house. They found one elderly man and his son in a near-empty house who let the officers in for a quick look around their mostly empty house. There was no sign of any phone and the police left. It looked like our investigation had come to an inglorious end.

The next day, we got some surprising news: The phone had been turned in at the Fremantle police station looking rather damaged (see above). The man who turned it in said they'd just found it but - rather conveniently - happened to live at the same house the police had visited the day before. It seems the police visit unsettled him, so he did the logical thing: Hit the phone repeatedly with a rock, and turn it in denying all knowledge.

Where are they now?

The Mysterious Thief: I lost all involvement with the case after we got the phone back, but he was in the awkward position of explaining why the phone had been in his house and turned on for two nights before he 'found it'. I hope it went well for him.

The iPhone: One $80 screen replacement put it in perfect working condition, and it's still chugging along just fine.


  1. Last week I wrote about Apple's new default encryption policy for iOS 8. Since that piece was intended for general audiences I mostly avoided technical detail. But since some folks (and apparently the Washington Post!) are still wondering about the nitty-gritty details of Apple's design, I thought it might be helpful to sum up what we know and noodle about what we don't.

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