Monday, 10 November 2014

Things I Learned After My iPhone was Stolen

My phone was stolen last week. Right off my desk at work. I share an office with 3 people, all of whom I've worked with for nearly 10 years. One of them was away for the day, another is the brother I never had, and the third person is a friend so close to me she was in my wedding. These people are not responsible. Find My Phone located my phone at an industrial park north of the city later that evening. My best guess is that someone who isn't normally part of our work community was in doing some kind of work for us, saw my phone on my desk and took it. Frustration and tears followed. Let's just say that last Monday was much more 'messy' than it was 'splendid'.

My phone isn't even particularly new. I've had it for 2 years, it is an iPhone 8G, and I know there are scratches hiding under the case. But what made me so angry and sad was not losing the physical phone, although a new phone was not an expense I had planned for this month, but the loss of my photos and videos. It's a sickening thought to lose those memories, but to think about someone else looking at them just feels so violating. I share a lot of photos, but on social media I choose what I want to share. And I choose what is just for us. There is nothing celebrity-phone-scandal worthy on my phone, but the sick feeling is still there nonetheless.

By the grace of God, I discovered (after many tears were shed, unfortunately) that my phone had backed up to my laptop at some point near the end of the summer. I swear I don't remember doing this intentionally. I must have been charging my phone or something on my computer, and it synched. Does that happen? Anyways, I found so many of the pictures and videos I thought I had lost. The video of Sebastian's first steps. The pictures from our first flight together as a family. They're all sitting safely in iPhoto right now. I did lose any pictures I've taken in the past 3 months or so, but it feels like nothing compared to what I thought was gone.

Since having my phone stolen, I've learned a few things...

1. Store your phone safely. The reason my phone was stolen was that it was on my desk at work. To be clear, there are other phones on other desks at my work all. of. the. time. It's a culture of bad habits I suppose. If my phone wasn't on my desk, but perhaps stored somewhere else, it may not have been stolen. #lessonlearned

Also, now I'm so paranoid about leaving my phone by my desk that I've turned into one of those people that carries their phone with them around at work. Ugh. I hate that. But I keep it on silent, and I can't fathom going through this again anytime soon.

2. Activate Find My Phone - This feature is built into your iPhone. It allows you to locate, lock or erase your iPhone and prevents it from being erased or reactivated without your password. The first thing I did when I noticed my phone was missing was meet with my tech dept and have them activate this feature. Once my phone was turned back on later that day by whoever stole it, Find My Phone sent me an email with a map of the location of my phone. Crazy!

3. Cancel your service - The next thing I did was log into my Rogers account online and suspend my service. Then later that night I called them to confirm that it was disactivated and to list my phone on the IMEI Blacklist. Because I still had the IMEI number from the original box, I could list my phone on the IMEI Blacklist. This ensures that my phone is unable to be activated on any phone network in Canada ever (Jenn 1, Mari Kondo 0).

4. Back up your photos - I need to get better at this. I mentioned I did have a lot of my pictures somehow backed up onto my laptop, but this was not planned. And I did lose any pictures from the last three months that I haven't shared via Instagram. Now I'm investigating options for backing my pictures up regularly. I've used Picassa in the past, but I really don't love it. I'm looking into using iCloud storage or Google Drive. Hopefully they're easier to use. I think I'll also back them up on an external hard drive. Finally, this is a good reminder that it's time to make a family photo book.

Edited to add - I have actually gotten better at this! Here is my post about organizing and backing up digital photos.

5. Prey App - Rob thinks we should now add the Prey Anti-Theft app to our phones. Basically it allows you to remotely control your phone by taking a picture or sounding an alarm. I'm a little on the fence though. I have a little uneasy/creepy/stalker feeling about this app...

So, that was what my week was like last week. Beaucoup stressful!


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