TikToker’s viral stolen recovery iPhone hack sparked a debate in the comments about whether knowing the location of a stolen device is useful if there’s no way to recover it.
The creator, Katrina Audrey (@katrinaforeal), shared hers iphone theft story and walked users through a step-by-step process on how to find the location of their iPhone, even if the device was turned off. Her video has received more than 11.5 million views.
“You have to do this iPhone hack in case your phone is stolen because mine was last night, and I actually got it back,” says Katrina. She adds that she learned the trick from @reviewing technology On Instagram.
@katrinaforal #iphonehack #iphonehacks #checkstolenphone #stolenphone #iphonetricksandtips #iphonetricks #iphonetricksandhacks #BigInkEnergy ♬ Beat Automotive So So So Viral – WZ Beat
“The first step is to go to Face ID and Passcode, you want to disable Control Center and USB Accessories,” explains Audrey. “Turn on Location Services, Find My iPhone and make sure you turn on these three [she’s referring to Find my iPhone, Find my Network, and Send Last Location].”
This process requires the user to log in to any other iOS device with your Apple ID and then remotely manage your stolen iPhone settings from the secondary device for this method to work.
Katrina continues: “This allows your phone, even when it’s turned off or in airplane mode, to still be found. Whoever stole my phone last night was literally out all night.” She then shows her a screenshot of a map of Chicago showing the path of her phone through a series of tracked steps.
“Look what they went through in the city of Chicago,” she says. “South Side, North Side, they ended up going back to Gurney, Illinois. This is the address they had it at, nice little place, isn’t it? The TikToker then showed an image of the house that allegedly housed his stolen iPhone.
Katrina called the Gurney Police Department and gave them the address of the house. She says that the police went to the house and recovered the phone from her.
the FCC Reports that 68% of phone theft victims are ultimately unable to recover their stolen devices. The agency wrote: “The reality is that whether your smartphone is white, black or gold, it is now almost 30 times more valuable per ounce than a block of solid silver, and almost as easy to discreetly convert to cash.”
Despite Katrina’s advice, many TikTokers expressed that they have had difficulty recovering stolen phones and items from local police departments. The comments section was littered with criticism of the work that the authorities are doing, or rather the lack of it, to obtain these stolen items.
“The fact that the police actually listened and went to the scene has me skeptical,” said one user. “The police told me directly “so?” When I told them where my phone was.”
“That’s crazy because when I called the police here in San Francisco and told them I knew the exact house I was in, they said take it as a loss,” shared another.
“It’s good that the police department helped,” a third. When I tracked down my husband’s iPhone, the police forced us out of the neighborhood because it was dangerous.”
One user said they took matters into their own hands, bypassing any bureaucratic action. “This just happened to my phone a week ago,” they wrote. “But I didn’t call the police, I just went into the house.”
Some people were a bit confused by Katrina’s TikTok as she followed 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 ON ALL,” one user wrote.
“Use someone else’s phone and sign in with your Apple ID to the Find My iPhone app and then all your Apple devices will be displayed,” noted another.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Katrina on TikTok for further comment.
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*First published: August 7, 2022 at 3:50 pm CDT
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot who covers human interest trends/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and pertinent facts into these stories to create his not-so-average viral post.
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