Question: I have an iPhone 5 with many tracking apps installed, although I only activated Find My iPhone through iCloud. I have never lost anything in my life, but my record didn’t last long enough. Two months ago I lost my iPhone 5 when I was on my way to college.
I panicked, asked my friends to help me find the lost device. Then after a week of searching, I couldn’t find the device. I don’t know if I misplaced it or someone stole it when I was on the bus. After a week, I realized that I had the tracking app installed.
I logged into iCloud to see if I can find the location of iPhone 5. Although I am an Asian, I stay in New York City. What I found next left me completely shocked: I was able to trace the phone back, but the location is Beijing.
How could this possibly happen? I already locked my iPhone 5 through the app, and I don’t think anyone can use the device because I also asked my carrier to suspend the account. I have no clue as to how the mobile phone reached China in a few weeks.
I don’t think I will get my phone back, but it’s a question I had to ask.
Answer: That’s very interesting. You could have recovered your iPhone by traveling to China. Fly now. Just kidding.
Interesting that you have contacted your network operator to suspend the account. This means that you do not want your phone back. It also means that the thief cannot access private information stored on your iPhone 5. See also: AT&T has a new database for stolen mobiles.
Coming to the part of how the iPhone reached China in a few days, there is no clear answer. Maybe someone stole it when you were on the bus, then sold the iPhone online? It’s a crime of course, but a lot of people still do this.
Also it’s interesting that you have mentioned the location the iPhone was found is Beijing. In Beijing we have dozens of black and grey phone markets where stolen phones are sold at a really cheap price. You may want to read this story: How smart people are reselling stolen iPhones for money.
Lastly, it can be a glitch too. Recently, Sprint transferred calls to 59-year-old retiree. He received calls every day from customers who lost their device. Read the story: Missing phone owners are calling the wrong phone numbers.
So maybe the location app showed you the wrong spot, or someone has messed with your phone’s hardware. That’s all I could think of, at the moment.
Perhaps others can help you here.