iOS 7 Helped Me Get My Stolen iPad Back

268 iPad Air

On Friday morning my iPad was stolen. Technically I left it on the roof of my car and in a distracted moment I drove away, but by the time I realized what I had done it was no where to be found. I will never know if someone snatched it before I left or if it fell off the roof as I sped down the highway and yet as I write this it is sitting next to me once again thanks to iOS 7, a payoff, and a baseball bat.

I didn’t sleep very well on Friday night because of the loss, in spite of my insurance allowing me to file a claim. A $250 deductible is certainly better than buying a new iPad straight out, but I couldn’t remember if I had any personal information in the iPad case or whether or not they had been able to guess my passcode. Once I realized the loss I also went on to the Find my Phone app to put it in Lost Mode and I entered a message to call my mobile if found, but it is a WiFi only iPad which means that someone has to connect before anything happens.

By Saturday afternoon I was resigned to the loss of my iPad and decided I would try to have a positive attitude, which is right when I got a phone call from a blocked number. The conversation started something like this, “Hey man, this iPad you sold me is locked down and I need the original Apple ID and password. It keeps telling me to call your phone.” After I explained that the iPad had been stolen and that it was actually mine, I asked if I could have it back. The man on the phone told me he’d paid $150 for it and he was clearly upset that he couldn’t use it.

The security of iOS 7 is pretty solid and no one can wipe it clean and reactivate it without the original Apple ID and password. The man with my iPad said he tried everything he could find on YouTube and eventually had to give up and call me for the password. I was a little surprised at his audacity for asking for my password but I calmly explained again that it was mine and I was hoping I could get it back. “Why should I give it back? What’s in it for me?” I told him I would give him $50 and he eagerly agreed to meet.

Here’s the unboxing video from when I first bought it:

We met in a public place and I made sure to have some backup waiting to call the cops if something happened, which I was grateful for because he showed up wielding a baseball bat. I have my suspicions that he was the one who originally took the iPad because he was so willing to take the $50 when he could have easily asked for more. When I saw the bat I considered driving away because an iPad isn’t worth being injured for, but since I’m 6’4” and have a lot of older brothers I figured I could handle it.

The end of the story is anti-climatic because I gave him the $50 and he gave me the iPad. We had a nice chat and he actually apologized for bringing the bat. I’m glad it worked out but I feel silly for leaving it on my car roof and it’s a $50 mistake I wont make again. The Targus case I use as an over the shoulder bag, in addition to the iPad Smart Case, protected the iPad and it came back without a scratch. iOS 7 is amazing and it made it possible to get my iPad back. There were moments I wished Find My Phone had a self-destruct feature or a permanent stink bomb option, but in the end I got it back and that’s all that matters.

About Sam: Teacher, writer, composer, and family man. Maker of delicious Halušky. Contact me via Twitter: @Sam_Denver

  • Lory Gil

    This is an incredible story. So glad to hear you got your iPad back and nothing bad happened. Find My iPhone (iPad) is invaluable and everyone should use it.

  • Frank

    Cannot believe that, if innocent, he paid $50. Well, actually, I cannot believe that you offered him $50!!

    Wouldn’t Find My iPhone tell you exactly where he was? Or, is there no background wi-fi checking when in locked screen mode?

    Glad it worked out– but, critical question–did you have private info on there that you’re worried about?

    • Sam

      I filed a hold on my credit info (which you can do for free online) just in-case they found anything that could help them steal my identity. I don’t believe they ever got into my info on the iPad or past the passcode because I looked to see where my gmail account had been logged into recently and it was all on my other devices. As for the $50, you’re probably right.

  • Rosie Haller

    I have a similar story with my son’s brand new iPhone 5s. A young man called me two weeks later, saying he paid $700 for it and could he have the Apple ID and password so he could use it. Another week later, I had the phone back in perfect condition. I gave him a $100 “finders fee.” He was a nice kid and was out a lot of birthday savings for his mistake.

  • David L. Toliver

    OK here some extra things you should do besides setting up Find my Phone app.

    1) open up settings and go to general – then tap on about. take a screen shot or write all the information there and then store that copy of the information on a SD card. This way you will have the model no., serial number and MAC address of the device.

    2) Go to Apple’s product registration website and register your device.

    3) When leaving your home always activate your device so your need to login in before using it. When home you can deactivate. Sound like a lot of work but it’s one more step in keeping your device safe when not at home.

    I have 4 ipads and 2 ipods touches and a Imac and I did this for all of my devices. Plus i took a picture of my receipts and keep all this information on a SD card so when needed to show proof of ownership, where and time of purchase.

    • Sam

      Great advice!