A viral theft recovery iPhone hack by TikToker sparked a debate in the comments about whether it’s helpful to know the location of a stolen device when there’s no way to retrieve it.
The creator, Katrina Audrey (@katrinaforeal), shared her own iPhone theft story and took users through it step-by-step on how to find their iPhone’s location even when the device was turned off. Her video has received over 11.5 million views.
“You have to do this iPhone hack in case your phone gets stolen because mine was stolen last night and I actually got it back,” says Katrina. She adds that she learned the hack from @reviewingtech on Instagram.
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“The first step is to go to Face ID and Passcode, you want to turn off Control Center and USB accessories,” explains Audrey. “Turn on location services, locate my iPhone, and make sure you turn on all three [she’s referring to Find my iPhone, Find my Network, and Send Last Location].”
This process requires the user to sign in to another iOS device with their Apple ID and then remotely manage their stolen iPhone’s settings from the secondary device for this method to work.
Katrina continues, “This way your phone can still be found when it’s off or in airplane mode. Whoever stole my phone last night was literally out all night.” She then shows a screenshot of a map of Chicago showing her phone’s trajectory through a series of tracked steps.
“Look at what they went through in the city of Chicago,” she says. “South Side, North Side, they ended up going back to Gurney, Illinois. That’s the address they had it at, nice little place isn’t it?” The TikToker then shared a picture of the house that allegedly housed her stolen iPhone.
Katrina called the Gurney Police Department and gave them the address of the house. She says the police went to the house and picked up her phone.
The FCC reports that 68% of phone theft victims are ultimately unable to locate their stolen devices. The agency wrote: “The reality is that your smartphone, whether it’s white, black or gold, is now nearly 30 times more valuable per ounce than a block of solid silver – and almost as easy to be discreetly converted into cash.” “
Despite Katrina’s tips, many TikTokers said they had trouble recovering stolen phones and items from local police departments. The comments section was full of criticism of the authorities’ work, or rather lack of it, in retrieving these stolen items.
“The fact that the police actually listened and went to the place makes me skeptical,” said one user. “The police said straight to me, ‘So?’ When I told them where my phone was.”
“This is crazy because when I called the police here in San Francisco and told them I knew the exact house it is in, they said to consider it a loss,” shared another.
“Glad the police helped,” offered a third. When I tracked my husband’s iPhone, the police forced us to leave the neighborhood because it was dangerous.”
One user said he took matters into his own hands and bypassed bureaucratic measures. “This happened to my phone just a week ago,” they wrote. “But I didn’t call the police, I just drove by in front of the house.”
Some people were a little confused by Katrina’s TikTok as she went through the step-by-step instructions pretty quickly. Commentators came to the rescue.
“Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Control Center & USB OFF, Privacy > Location Services ON, then Apple ID > Find My > Find My iPhone TOGGLE ALL ON,” wrote one user.
“Use someone else’s phone and sign in to the Find My iPhone app with your Apple ID, and then all your Apple devices will appear,” noted another.
The Daily Dot reached out to Katrina on TikTok for further comment.
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*Initial publication: August 7, 2022 at 3:50 p.m. CDT
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot, covering trending human interest/social media stories and real people’s reactions to them. He always tries to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and relevant facts to those stories to create your not-so-average viral post.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/stolen-iphone-tracking-hack/ TikToker’s Theft Recovery iPhone Hack sparks debate