Yesterday I learned a hard lesson.
Let me start with, I was (am) still extremely groggy and have been in a (prescription) drug induced fog for the past few days from this damn crud I have. It was my first full day back to work. I didn't remember to pack myself a lunch so I went out with a friend instead. It was nearing the end of lunch and I quickly grabbed my phone from my purse, saw it was time to go and tossed my phone onto the top of my purse. Now this was the last time I would see my precious phone and it's glorious JCrew sparkly case. We went to checkout at the counter, I frantically searched for my wallet (to no avail). I was tearing up my purse looking for it, at which point my phone never made an appearance. My buddy had to get lunch since my wallet was nowhere to be found (it was later discovered in a pocket where I usually keep it, duh).
|best non-related-not-even-my-phone-fuzzy photo ever?! Maybe|
I got back to work, was going to check my phone for something and nada. I looked all around my desk, went to check my car, re-traced my steps. Still nada. Long story short, I called my phone repeatedly, searched every possible place for it, called the restaurant and it had gone missing. I tried the 'find my iPhone' feature online but it wasn't finding anything. I was pretty irate by this point. I didn't feel good, I couldn't find my phone and now I was worried about all that implied. What information could they get? What photos would they get? What purchases could they make? But what was bothering me the most was, I had priceless photos of Autumn on my phone. Our Valentines pictures, pictures from her first haircut, pictures I could not replace.
After work, I went to the restaurant in hopes someone had turned it in. Nothing. I searched the walkway in, where we parked, even went into some adjacent businesses. Nothing. My only conclusion is that someone must have picked it up, I dropped it, they picked it up, I misplaced it, they picked it up. Either way, someone found it and did not return it. At this point, I needed a phone no matter what. We don't have a house phone, Ernest had no clue what was going on, I just needed a phone. So I went to the phone store and made that happen.
They told me there wasn't anything I could do about the lost phone if the iPhone finder wasn't working. Here is where my phone flaws started to become apparent:
- I didn't have a passcode lock on my phone. If I had, the phone would be pretty useless to the thief. They would have had to erase everything and it would be more difficult to re-use it.
- I didn't have the iCloud setup. This would have backed up everything and I could have restored my phone.
- I didn't have all my usernames/passwords in one place. I later discovered I was using the wrong Apple ID for my phone. Had I been using the correct one, I could have seen where the phone was right after I lost it. Whoever stole it was now smart enough to turn off the internet so it can't be tracked.
- I hadn't downloaded my photos in over a month. Tisk, tisk.
I know this probably sounds like I'm making a mountain out of an ant hill, but really, I had everything on that phone. My work email, personal email, personal info, banking info, photos, passwords, paypal, etsy. Literally everything. I use my phone more than I do anything else. In hindsight, it was pretty stupid and naive of me to put so much trust in one little device without being smarter about protecting my personal information, photos and everything else. I'm sure I'm not alone in this (please tell me I'm not the only one!). So here are the things I have done to better protect myself and my phone:
- Put a passcode lock on! I know it's annoying to punch in a little code everytime you open your phone. But the protection it provides is invaluable. The new iPhone even allows you a password stronger than 4 numbers. Use it!
- Setup iCloud. I have no clue why I was so reluctant to setting this up, mostly lazy. As part of this, you also have to setup an iCloud email account. With the iCloud you can backup your info, sync your contacts, etc. and find your phone. It also does a backup of the items you select, like photos to your Photo Stream. This ultimately saved me last night. I was able to backup to the last save from the night before. Total life saver!!!
- Setup a photo backup. If you are like me, you use your phone to take 99% of your photos of that sweet babe. Another added backup is to download an app like Dropbox. You can get a decent amount of storage for free and even buy some extra. You can setup Dropbox to automatically download your pictures to their cloud. This allows you some added time to backup those pictures to a safe place until you can get to your home computer.
- Strong passwords. I am really bad at this. I have a million different things to sign in with and I really just go lazy and was using way too easy of passwords. You aren't doing anyone any favors. And if your phone goes missing, change ALL of your passwords stat!!! Better to stop a thief at your phone before they can get to anything else!
- Better apps. There are about a million and one apps to get that help protect you. One of the best I saw is Secure Folder Pro which allows you to put personal information into hidden folders protected by a passcode.
I'm sure I've just hit on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to protecting your iPhone. Yesterday was a day of hard lessons for me. But I think I've come out stronger in the end because now I'm guarded with knowledge! I may never get my phone back (sob), but at least I have my photos and information back, the old phone is locked and they will hopefully have a hell of a time using that phone...AND maybe get some hardcore karmic retribution! Fingers crossed.
How do you safeguard your information? Apps? I truly hope this never happens to anyone else...except the bastard that stole my phone!!