I lost my iPad – what you should do before you lose yours

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I write this blog to the strains of “Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”.

This past Sunday was nearly perfect, but somewhere between brunch with friends and an afternoon museum visit, I lost my iPad.

And the most frustrating thing is, the person who found it did not return it. So now it’s officially stolen and more importantly gone. Damn.

Of course I’m pissed at myself first and foremost, for not checking that it was in my bag before leaving the restaurant. Then secondly, for not registering for Mobile me when I intended to – namely, several times over the past year. Thirdly, for not saving up on the side to be able to replace it right away. Triple damn.

Let my experience be your gain. A few answers upfront. No it is not possible to activate Mobile me after you lose the iPad. No way. No amount of wishful thinking will magically make it so. The only thing that the nice man on the Apple Care hotline said is that they will block the serial number so that registration for the same iPad will trigger an alarm and they will “do their best” to alert the authorities.

And no, my insurance does not cover “simple theft”, only if it had been stolen from my home. That would have been presumably “complicated” theft, and thus worthy of a legit insurance claim. Perhaps a policy taken out especially for the iPad would have helped in this case, but again, it’s too late.

In case you were wondering, it IS possible for T-mobile to locate the iPad using the IP address BUT they only do that kind of thing when it’s a matter of life and death, because it’s too expensive.

There are alternatives to Mobile Me such as iHound, TapTrace, FoneHome or spy software like Mobile-spy which may appeal to some because they cost less than Apple’s service. Still, they require installation on the device itself and does not help in cases like mine.

So the moral of the story is: get Mobile me or alternative and/or invest in gadget insurance and save up for a rainy day.

There is no happy ending to this story. I had to change all my passwords for all my sites, cancel my mobile internet, and to rearrange my habits to using my laptop and iPhone 4 instead of the iPad.

To top things off, our cat Angel no longer has his fave device-as-mat. He’s pissed too.


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29 thoughts on “I lost my iPad – what you should do before you lose yours”

  1. Very, very sorry to hear this Alicia. Hope you're able to find a way to get a replacement soon, or that a miracle reunion happens via Apple / authorities.

  2. I too have lost an iPad but was lucky enough to have it returned 10 days later. What freaked me out the most wasn't the cost of the device but all the data and passwords I had saved on it. I spent a whole day going through every site I use and changing the password.

  3. Another theft recovery software is Orbicule Undercover. But, like the others, you must install it ahead of time.

    1. Good article Mark. Ironically, although jailbreak itself obviously exposes more of an IOS device's file system to potentially malicious apps, it is often jailbreak apps that offer greater levels of awareness and protection for users. For example, there is a very good outbound firewall app, that lets you know when apps are making outbound connections, and lets you allow or deny them on a per app basis.

    2. Thanks for that. It's prompted me to activate the passcode on my iPhone.

      So ironic – i used to boast that Austria and esp where we live is SO safe – I never had any experiences with theft before and belittled people who have their pincode activated. No más. Better safe than sorry.

      1. The other thing implementing a passcode can prevent is friends having fun at your expense. I have seen this happen several times usually when a phone or iPad is left on a bar while someone goes to smoke.

  4. This is an excellent article indeed. The fact that iPads and machines alike are getting so portable that it could be really easy for someone to leave at a table or anywhere that you could possibly misplace. I am glad that you pointed out the MobileMe. I just tried it not too long ago… and I love the fact that all my contacts & calendars can sync together without any issues what so ever. Better yet my Windows PC too is sync'd via MobileMe.

    The best and most interesting part about it is the find my iPhone button. Yes you are right you will have to install it on the unit before you would be able to take advantage of such a service… but I think it is great. Whenever I my wife ask me where I am, I ask her to log in and check it for herself if she doesn't believe where I currently am.

    I told her it's not "FIND MY IPHONE" it is the "FIND MY HUSBAND BUTTON"…

    1. Thanks for your feedback. It still hasn't materialized – so I'm coping with the withdrawal symptoms.

      Btw – find my husband – hadn't thought of that one – GOOD IDEA!! ;-)

  5. Guess what? This afternoon, i joined the sad club of ipad losers. i lost mine in a clothing store. I just knew my infatuation with clothes would come to bite me in the ***! I am more concerned with the fact that whoever stole it now has complete access to all my former emails. I have only used one email in my entire life. They could get really to get to know me through all of my emails!
    question: if I change my password now, will they still be able to see all my old emails?? HELP!!!!

    1. If you change your password, they should no longer be able to access it. Another good idea might be to export / save all the messages / data you need from that account and create a brand new one. And make sure to use a very different and strong password either way.

      1. My husband left his iPad on a plane. Please give me step by steps on what to do so that I can make sure no one gets our private info. Etc.

        1. What you can do now, after the fact, all depends on what you had setup before. Did he have Location Services and Find My iPad turned on? If so, you may be able to track where the iPad is via MobileMe and the Find My iPhone / iPad service.

          If not, then the only common sense things that should be done would be changing all relevant passwords – for email, any websites he logged into on the iPad, any social networks he logged into via the iPad, and so on.

  6. The really bad thing is that both AT&T and Apple don’t list lost / stolen devices as such. I lost mine yesterday and have found no way to “report” it lost or stolen. The FAQ’s all show how to restore your apps and songs and there is no option to mark my lost iPad as lost or stolen.

    I know someone who is now using an iphone4 she found… she called and activated it like it was hers to use. and uses it today.

    So, they the providers should be on our side, and collect information with future activations of our lost or stolen products but instead both appear to be on the side of profit, wanting someone to use all products, found or purchased so they make money on the support and apps of a new user.

    Mine was password protected but that isn’t worth much. I didn’t have MobileMe installed and could not for the past few months, since iCloud has replaced it, but not yet… no new sign-ups until iCloud is live, so there is a dead zone until they get iCloud rolling. Kind of stupid that they would stop accepting users on service 1 when the replacement is not yet available.

    Also, It has FoneHome installed on it and I didn’t notice that my ipad had not reported home for over a month. I was suprised to find that it showed me back at work, over a month ago. Whoever did FoneHome, make an alert to the “owner” if a device stops reporting. send notifications to the device itself? nothing like assuming you’re protected, when you’re not…

    Bye Bye iPad!

  7. hello someone has nicked my ipad and i cant get it back so can someone help me so i can get 1 for free cuss im not paying for 1 agen and i love them so plz help me

  8. I have heard that there are electronic devices out there that you can attach a small transmitter to the iPad and carry a keychain receiver. This goes off if you, or your device, gets beyond 6 to 30 feet from each other. I’ve looked but can’t find. Does anyone have an idea where such a thing can be found?

  9. Can’t find my iPad either!!! No excuses, it just isn’t here. I might have left it at a school, but I won’t find out until tomorrow. Talk about feeling like an idiot!!!! If I get a new one, it stays home in one location! Also, I will set up whatever is needed so I can track it.

    I know what you meed about the withdrawal! What’s happening with my Zite subscription???

  10. My iPad 2 was stolen today I’m very sad because I always had it with me and now I feel like a part of me is missing, and another bad thing is that I have to continue paying for it, I had only given two payments, Ive report it to the authorities, and went to AT&T but useless, I know how you feel, I feel devastated I don’t know if I’ll ever have another iPad, I miss him so much, I wish I had alot of money so I could buy another and forget about it, but I don’t please god change that persons hearth and make him return it. I’m very sad….

  11. Took a plane to Seattle and had my iPad in I nice bag I keep around my neck so I dont lose it. In waiting for the shuttle the cold weather made me get into my suitcase for my jacket. Gotta take anything around your shoulder off to put on a jacket. In all the activity and the shuttle arriving I didn’t miss my iPad until at the hotel. The driver took me directly back to retire pice it but if course it was no where to be found.
    I’m totally suck about it. Can’t sleep just bugs melike crazy. No find my iPad as I was in a dream world of ” that won’t happen to me”. It may turn up but I seriously doubt it.
    It is an iPad 1st gen so I may buckle and buy a refurb iPad 2 but was happy with my 1gen and was waiting for the next release.
    I hope a miricle re-unites me with my iPad.

  12. i lost/or someone stole mine. I can’t find, and still offline. I am pretty down and upset about it. It is hurts a lot. The healhies relationship I had was with my ipad, now I am way sad! Broken heart! :( I can associate the feeling!

  13. I lost my ipad in my house cant find it moved all the furniture went to all my friends house how do i find it i didnt download that thing like gps

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