Earlier today, I was traveling from San Francisco to Pleasant Hill via BART train.
As I exited the train and the doors closed, my headphones beeped to let me know that my phone had been disconnected. My heart skipped a beat as the train sped off.
I talked to the station agent and was told instructed to to fill out an online form. Once the phone was found, they’d reach out to me. I got home, filled out the form and tried to call my phone. No one answered but the phone was still on!
I booted up my iPad to track my phone using Find My iPhone. Unfortunately, I never enabled this feature on my iPhone so my phone didn’t show up. If you haven’t already enabled Find My iPhone you can set it up by following Apple’s instructions.
I looked around for solutions online, but they all pointed to either Apple’s Find My iPhone app or Google’s location timeline. I hadn’t turned either of these on, so it looked like I was out of luck.
I then remembered that Apple has another app for tracking devices called Find my Friends. I downloaded the app on my wife’s phone and sent a request to my phone number to share its location. Because I didn’t have my iPhone with me, I downloaded the Find my Friends app on an old iPhone and logged in to accept the request from my wife’s phone. That’s where I found the magic “Share my Location from” option. I was able to select my lost iPhone from the list of devices and share its location to my wife’s iPhone. Excellent.
I opened my wife’s phone and it found my phone – at the San Francisco Airport.
Assuming that my phone was still on the BART train, I used Google Maps to search for trains headed from the airport to the station closest to my house. Sure enough, the train at the airport was headed back my way.
I spent the next hour tracking the phone using the Find my Friends app on my wife’s phone and matching it to the train’s route using Google Maps to make sure that the phone didn’t leave the train.
I was in awe that no one picked up my phone as it headed through San Francisco and Oakland. I started walking to the train station to hop on the train and pick up my phone.
As the train pulled up, my Apple Watch displayed that it had connected to my phone. Score! I got on the train and walked up to the seat that I thought I had been sitting in. I tried to ping my phone with my watch. No reply. I walked to the next train car and pinged my phone again. It beeped!
I asked the gentleman who was sitting on the seat if he could stand up so that I could grab my phone. He stood up and I rifled through the cushion. No phone. I pinged the phone again and it beeped. It was in the cushion.
I removed the seat cushion from the seat and shook it. My my phone fell out! Thank goodness.
If this episode has taught me anything, it’s that desperation can inspire the creativity to get you out of a bind.