First, you’ll deny, rage, bargain, and quickly pass through all 7 stages of grief. You’ll probably try to retrace your footsteps and send a few pleading texts to your phone. You might even have a little mourning period. Understandable. Not only is this a deep personal loss, but you’re about to spend $300+ on a new iPhone, and that hurts!

One of our team recently lost his iPhone: an almost new iPhone 4 with Verizon. It was a pretty phone and well kept, with a sleek black case. He’s pretty bummed out about it. Alas, he will have to face the cold, hard reality that it’s probably not coming back… Many would suggest that you fight for your iPhone, but there aren’t many options for you. You can call Apple, AT&T, or Verizon, and you’ll probably hear some version of, “Sorry, you’re out of luck.” or “Have you considered purchasing a new one?” As if you could go to the iPhone vending machine, put in fifty cents and out pops a new iPhone in a little plastic bubble…

So what is one to do once you realize your iPhone is lost or stolen?

First, Log into your account at AT&T or Verizon to check your usage. You want to be sure to let them know your device has gone missing so someone doesn’t go on a calling rampage with all your precious minutes. To suspend your account with AT&T, log onto www.attwireless.com and log into your account, click on your device, click on lost or stolen phone, then click ‘suspend.’ Verizon should have the same type of function. This will prevent someone from using your iPhone to make outgoing calls. Assuming you have a lock password on your phone, your data is probably secure enough. Anyone who has your phone will need to restore it (removing all your data) before they make money selling it on eBay. If you didn’t have a passcode set….your information is not-so-secure. You need to act fast to protect yourself.

Next, change your email passwords. If you’re like me, you have 3, 4, or even 5 email accounts attached to your iPhone. Without the passlock, anyone who picks up your phone can listen to your music, watch your videos, use your apps, and read your emails (and send email if they’re using Wifi.) Kind of creepy, right? Phones are so personal now!

Also, if you’re using a cloud hosted exchange service, like Rackspace, there is a special remote wipe function you can initiate (BEFORE YOU CANCEL THE SERVICE ON THE PHONE.) This will wipe all the contents of your email from the phone, and if we’re talking company mail- this is a good thing!

Third, change your Apple iTunes password. I know that the person who finds your phone would need to know said password in order to download apps and thus charge your card, however, your iTunes account info is still stored on the phone. So just to cover your butt and your Visa; change your iTunes password.

Finally, you should reach out to the community. With all this web 2.0 stuff, the word about your missing phone will travel fast. It may not yield any results, but at least you tried, and that will make you feel better. Here, in the tech capital of the world, it seems the most useful way to reach out to the community on this is to post something on Craigslist.org. Some have recommended this approach and I’ve read success stories where a good Samaritan found a phone and returned it via the Craigslist ad. This could be you so give it a try!

There are also some nifty tracking options, for all of your Type-A’s out there. One of the easiest to use is Mobile Spy. According to iPhoneTrackingApp.com,

Mobile Spy (www.mobile-spy.net) just released an update to their iPhone tracker app that enables you to perform LIVE tracking and surveillance on any iPhone that has Mobile Spy’s iPhone tracker app installed. Prior to this update, using Mobile Spy or any other iPhone tracker apps on the market, the GPS details of the iPhone you were tracking were recorded in intervals ranging from 5-30 minutes. This meant that you could not actually find out where the iPhone was until several minutes after the iPhone was at a specific location. However, with Mobile Spy’s new iPhone tracker app, you’ll be able to get immediate GPS location information and view the location on a map.

If you’re like our friend, and you’ve just lost your iPhone too, we know what you’re feeling. We hope that no one has to go through this, but bad stuff happens sometimes. Hopefully there’s a good person out there who will feel compelled to do the right thing, and return it. Until then…we’ll miss you, iPhone.

LimeTech Solutions provides IT consulting services and technical support to startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. You can get in touch anytime for a free consultation with a LimeTech IT expert.

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