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Apple testing 'Find my iPhone' ahead of other MobileMe improvements

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
Apple overnight tapped its developer community to begin testing a new "Find my iPhone" feature, one of several enhancements to the company's MobileMe internet service due to arrive with this month's release of iPhone Software 3.0.

Find my iPhone

iPhone 3G S users and iPhone 3G users who install iPhone Software 3.0 when it's released on June 17th, and who also subscribe to MobileMe, will be able to use the "Find my iPhone" feature of the internet service to help locate their iPhone if its been misplaced, lost, or stolen.

The process begins by logging into me.com to view a map that shows the approximate location of the misplaced iPhone, assuming it's turned on and and can locate a GPS signal. It it’s nearby, users can force the iPhone to play a sound through the MobileMe web interface to help them locate it.

Alternatively, MobileMe can also display a message on the Home screen of the iPhone with instructions on how to return it to the owner in the event that it's been found by someone else.

Apple overnight enabled Find my iPhone for developers currently testing iPhone Software 3.0 beta. Thus far, reactions have been mixed, with one person familiar with the software saying it "works great," while another said his iPhone wasn't detected by the service.

The first screen capture below shows the MobileMe interface for Find my iPhone when an iPhone is deemed to be offline or out of GPS range. The second shows an iPhone 3G that has been successfully located with pinpoint precision on a Google-supplied satellite map. Illustrated map and hybrid views are also available. The third screenshot shows the interface for sending a custom message to the iPhone's Home Screen.







Remote Wipe

Remote Wipe is another feature for MobileMe-equiped iPhone users slated to turn up with the release of iPhone Software 3.0, one which was similarly thrust into live testing overnight.

Users who lose their iPhone and are unsuccessful in having it returned to them after displaying a custom Home Screen message can initiate a remote wipe and restore factory settings. If the iPhone is eventually recovered, users can restore their data by enabling their MobileMe account on the iPhone.

Below is a screenshot of the Remote Wipe interface:



iDisk on iPhone

Also arriving for MobileMe users with iPhone Software 3.0 will be a free iDisk app that lets them view files on their iDisk right on their iPhone. Microsoft Office or iWork ’09 documents, PDFs, video files, and more are viewable in landscape or portrait, Apple says. Users will also be able to access Public folders of other MobileMe members with a few taps.



The same app, which will be free on the App Store, will also let users share files that are too big to email. Users simply need to choose their recipients and iDisk will send out an email with a link to download the files.

About MobileMe

A year-long subscription to MobileMe costs $99 after a free trial. For more on the cloud-based internet service, see AppleInsider's six-part series Inside MobileMe.
post #2 of 65
This is an amazing feature of the ever-evolving Mobile Me service. Apple keeps enhancing Mobile Me thereby making it a more compelling option for iPhone and/or Mac users.
post #3 of 65
Just tried this out. Works ridiculously good. Whoa. I really like the remote wipe feature as well.
post #4 of 65
Is this "view iDisk files on the iPhone" thing new?

Because it seems like it really enhances the value proposition of Mobile Me.
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post #5 of 65
Great! now I can track my cheating whore girlfriend...

One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

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One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

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post #6 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

Great! now I can track my cheating whore girlfriend...

Haha. This one made me laugh.
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post #7 of 65
What? Does? That? Mean exactly? "iWork'09 documents"? Can I keynote from iPhone?

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #8 of 65
That's very good! it may be very useful if you lose your phone!

The only thing missing is a remote self destruction button if someone stole your phone!
post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Just tried this out. Works ridiculously good. Whoa. I really like the remote wipe feature as well.


Since you've used the new MobileMe remote wipe/find my iphone, can you do the remote wipe multiple times. The reason I ask is having lost a cell phone, it would be nice to inconvenience the person who didn't return it. Does anyone have this type of info available?
post #10 of 65
Think all the happy parents who can now track their kids!!!! that along is worth purchasing mobile me family pack.
Question is does it work internationally as well. Imagine police using this to find missing person as well. What an incredible feature.
post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Just tried this out. Works ridiculously good. Whoa. I really like the remote wipe feature as well.

yep... just tried it myself.
post #12 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac4me View Post

This is an amazing feature of the ever-evolving Mobile Me service. Apple keeps enhancing Mobile Me thereby making it a more compelling option for iPhone and/or Mac users.

Im surprised it took them so long to add it when it seems as if they had all the pieces available from the start.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

Just tried this out. Works ridiculously good. Whoa. I really like the remote wipe feature as well.

My Find My iPhone still cant find my iPhone despite being GPS and internet connected. I have tried turning it on and off to jump start but nothing. It worked the first time and now nothing. I tried the remote wipe to see if that somehow would work; now I have a pending remote wipe that I cant turn off. Im about to leave soon and may have royally FUBAR my phone for the day. The price of jumping in head first.


Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Is this "view iDisk files on the iPhone" thing new?

Because it seems like it really enhances the value proposition of Mobile Me.

Yes it is and a great feature, but like the iPod disk use feature youll have to manually disconnect the iPhone.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

Great! now I can track my cheating whore girlfriend...

HAHA
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post #13 of 65
If the iPhone isn't on or in range, I like that you still have the option to setup a message to display once it is.
post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoo59 View Post

Since you've used the new MobileMe remote wipe/find my iphone, can you do the remote wipe multiple times. The reason I ask is having lost a cell phone, it would be nice to inconvenience the person who didn't return it. Does anyone have this type of info available?

I actually think they should have a feature where you can "brick" the phone not just clear the data, let's seem them try to return a stolen phone to an apple store or send it in for repair.

That or just make it explode when it's used

Edit: and yes i'm fully aware of the legal ramifications of making a phone explode remotely blah blah blah .. don't be such sticks in the mud!
post #15 of 65
I just tried out the remote wipe feature and found a bug.
You can cancel the the remote wipe by holding down the Home & Sleep/Awake buttons at the same time as the iPhone/iPod starts up.
post #16 of 65
Will Find my iPhone work with more than one iPhone? If we have two in our household, how do I get them both to show up? Thanks if anyone knows.
post #17 of 65
A bit off-topic, but does anyone here know whether iPhone 3.0 enables both iPod Touch and iPhone to use their free space for disk use like the other iPods?
post #18 of 65
I tested it with my 2G phone, it works as advertised. So having the GPS chip isn't a requirement, but just like the google maps, it is about as accurate as that is. Pretty damn close tho, I bet the 3G with GPS is spot-on.
post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Propofol View Post

Will Find my iPhone work with more than one iPhone? If we have two in our household, how do I get them both to show up? Thanks if anyone knows.

Yes, I can see both of my iPhones.
post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

Great! now I can track my cheating whore girlfriend...

oh shoot, now you can find out where I live.... j/k j/k

back on topic:
These features are making Mobile Me a lot more compelling for me, but not enough just yet. But I hope a lot of others will sign up! Are there usage numbers for Mobile Me anywhere?
post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by stellaclose View Post

I just tried out the remote wipe feature and found a bug.
You can cancel the the remote wipe by holding down the Home & Sleep/Awake buttons at the same time as the iPhone/iPod starts up.

GOOD CATCH!!! I hope Apple sees these posts!
post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by stellaclose View Post

I just tried out the remote wipe feature and found a bug.
You can cancel the the remote wipe by holding down the Home & Sleep/Awake buttons at the same time as the iPhone/iPod starts up.

How does that work? Does a remote wipe force the iPhone into a reboot, giving you time to hit the buttons before it has a chance to do its thing?

And wouldn't that mean that a bad guy in possession of your iPhone would have to constantly monitor it for this behavior to be able to intervene?
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post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by dblanch369 View Post

I tested it with my 2G phone, it works as advertised. So having the GPS chip isn't a requirement, but just like the google maps, it is about as accurate as that is. Pretty damn close tho, I bet the 3G with GPS is spot-on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

Yes, I can see both of my iPhones.

Those sound like two previously unknown features. Can you supply an image of how it looks with two phones, Postulant?
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post #24 of 65
This article says that Apple is testing this feature right now for bugs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnp1 View Post

GOOD CATCH!!! I hope Apple sees these posts!
post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Is this "view iDisk files on the iPhone" thing new?

Because it seems like it really enhances the value proposition of Mobile Me.

Actually there was a free app called MobileFiles that allowed you to do just that. I used it for a while at the time and it worked ok.

For some reason this app is no longer available. But, I was able to find an app called Mobile Disk that appear to be quite similar, it costs 0.99 though.
post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

How does that work? Does a remote wipe force the iPhone into a reboot, giving you time to hit the buttons before it has a chance to do its thing?

And wouldn't that mean that a bad guy in possession of your iPhone would have to constantly monitor it for this behavior to be able to intervene?

I don't know the answer exactly, but given what Phil said in the keynote it appears that wiping is "instantaneous" because of the hardware encryption on the new 3GS. It's a safe bet that what happens is the wipe just deletes the encryption key or something.

On the original 3G I imagine it would be different, if it works at all.
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post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

This article says that Apple is testing this feature right now for bugs.

Considering that v3.0 is still only available to paid iPhone developers until next Wednesday Id think that was obvious. \
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post #28 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

Great! now I can track my cheating whore girlfriend...

Ah ha ha!
Gold!
post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

I don't know the answer exactly, but given what Phil said in the keynote it appears that wiping is "instantaneous" because of the hardware encryption on the new 3GS. It's a safe bet that what happens is the wipe just deletes the encryption key or something.

On the original 3G I imagine it would be different, if it works at all.

I didnt quite get the gist of that either. I this a HW feature or simply a SW feature like FileVault. I see nothing in v3.0 to turn on, and the only encryption I see is for iTunes in backing up your device, but that is different. Everything points to HW encryption.
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post #30 of 65
Unexpectedly this also works on an iPod touch too! (1st Gen). Awesome
post #31 of 65
I agree with a couple of the others here. Remote wipe is cool for the integrity of my data, but why should I simply hand a potential thief a clean iPhone? I know Verizon does the thing where your phone is actually paired to your mobile account such that if you sell it, you have to tell them to unpair it so the buyer can use it. Does anyone know if this is true for AT&T as well?

I would rather have something where the iPod Function is stuck into use, such that music plays at full blast out of the speakers until you send a command to stop it. Or maybe a continuous alarm would be sufficient.
post #32 of 65
Locator has me about 7 blocks the wrong way, but the instant message feature is pretty sweet. Still too big a coward to remote wipe it at work.
post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

Great! now I can track my cheating whore girlfriend...

I'm in trouble...
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

Great! now I can track my cheating whore girlfriend...

i suppose you have already caught her and thats why are making this comment...

why spend the extra $$$ and be locked to this feature, just kick her to the curb

once a CHEATER always a cheater
post #35 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuppingmaster View Post

I agree with a couple of the others here. Remote wipe is cool for the integrity of my data, but why should I simply hand a potential thief a clean iPhone? I know Verizon does the thing where your phone is actually paired to your mobile account such that if you sell it, you have to tell them to unpair it so the buyer can use it. Does anyone know if this is true for AT&T as well?

I would rather have something where the iPod Function is stuck into use, such that music plays at full blast out of the speakers until you send a command to stop it. Or maybe a continuous alarm would be sufficient.

I don't know about the US, but in Europe if you report a phone as stolen it's added to the IMEI blacklist and essentially bricked - no SIM will work with it.

Remote wipe is only if you expect to get the phone back.
post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bitzandbitez View Post

i suppose you have already caught her and thats why are making this comment...

why spend the extra $$$ and be locked to this feature, just kick her to the curb

once a CHEATER always a cheater

post #37 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyHoyle View Post

I don't know about the US, but in Europe if you report a phone as stolen it's added to the IMEI blacklist and essentially bricked - no SIM will work with it.

Remote wipe is only if you expect to get the phone back.

The IMEI can be spoofed. The SW unlocker/jailbreaker apps often give you that option.
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post #38 of 65
It sounds like it NEEDS your sim card to be present in order to use Find my Iphone and remote wipe. so if someone steals it they can swap sims and use it with no problem.

can someone test the remote wipe and find my iphone WITHOUT the sim inserted, or with a diff sim??
post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Those sound like two previously unknown features. Can you supply an image of how it looks with two phones, Postulant?

here ya go....

post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I didn’t quite get the gist of that either. I this a HW feature or simply a SW feature like FileVault. I see nothing in v3.0 to turn on, and the only encryption I see is for iTunes in backing up your device, but that is different. Everything points to HW encryption.

I don't know the details either. Phil did say that the wipe would be "instantaneous" *because* of the hardware encryption on the 3Gs though. It could be almost as fast on the regular 3G given that a standard "formatting" of the storage only changes the index, not the files themselves.

I would bet that a techy person could retrieve the wiped files on the stolen iPhone 3G but perhaps not the 3Gs because of the hardware level encryption. If someone is seriously in need of this feature, they should probably be buying the new 3Gs.
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