March 28, 2013

The Miracle of Apple’s “Find My Phone”

Giacomo & Slick

Giacomo & Slick

Another Day in Paradise

I was working at my computer, doing what writers are supposed to do, when the phone rang. Caller ID showed it was from my daughter-in-law. I grabbed the phone, a little panicked, wondering why she’d be calling during the day while she was teaching.

“Someone stole Joey’s phone,” she said.

“What? Where?”

“He’s at a wrestling tournament at the high school. He had the phone with him this morning. He even used it to make a call then put it back in his backpack. When he came back after a break, it was gone.”

“Son of a bitch!” I said.

Then my daughter-in-law asked if there was any way I could use the “find my phone” feature Apple has to locate it.

A smile popped onto my face. “You bet your ass there is. We’re gonna get this son of a bitch.” (I tend to say “son of a bitch” a lot.)

Apple Fanatic

For full disclosure, I need to mention that I am an Apple fanatic, and I have been since 1984. I have owned damn near every product Apple ever made. I’m so bad that my wife tells people that if Apple brought out “shit on a stick,” and offered it for sale, I’d be the first in line to buy it. And that’s saying something because I despise shit. See this post for confirmation.

So imagine my joy when I realized I was faced with a situation where I could not only wreak vengeance upon the scum-sucking son of a bitch who stole my grandson’s phone, but, I could use an Apple product to bring about this justice. I was ecstatic! (You can tell I was ecstatic because I don’t use exclamation points lightly.)


A little backstory is in order. Ordinarily I wouldn’t get so excited, but I knew how good “find my phone,” was. Twice before, Joey had left his phone at friends’ houses, and didn’t know where it was. Using that miraculous feature, I was able to locate exactly where it was, down the address of the specific house, negating the need to call all of his friends to see where it was. All I had to do now was activate the feature.

We texted one of Joey’s friends, who was at the tournament with him, and he called back immediately. I got Joey’s password and then I entered iCloud and accessed Joey’s account. Within moments, I had activated the feature.

Imagine how damn thrilled I was when I looked at Google maps and saw the small green blip on the screen. It was about half a mile from the school where Joey was, and it was in a neighborhood, third house on the left.


My heart raced. I couldn’t wait to get this son of a bitch.

I knew that my son Jimmy (Joey’s father) would be getting off work soon, so I called him. “I’ve got the son of a bitch on the map,” I said. “He’s at a house not half a mile from the school.”

My son took off work early, and headed over there. On the way, I called him again. “You want me to call the cops?”


“No? Why not?”

“Let’s just see what we find,” he said.

“See what we find?” Now I was pissed. “What the hell do you mean?”

I could sense the hesitation in Jimmy’s voice. “Look,” he said. “If this were Dante (my other grandson) I would have called the FBI by now. No one is going to pry Dante’s phone from his hands without a gun. But Joey…”

Now I was pissed. This was my first grandson he was talking about. The sweetest kid on earth. To hell with my son, the cynical ass. This was my grandson’s phone! So I did what any grandfather would do—I called the cops.

Bring in the Big Guns

I have a friend who is a Captain on the force. Once I told him what we had working, he said he would have an officer who was nearby meet my son.

Talk about excited…I was pumped. Justice would be served. I imagined the punishment this son of a bitch would endure while rotting in prison. (Okay so I was dreaming)

Jimmy (my son) called me when he got close, but when I checked the map, the blip had moved. I pulled up the Google street view, which showed the phone at a small strip center. I directed Jimmy to go there. The cop met him in the parking lot.

I had two screens working now, Google maps activated on each one. One screen showed my son’s location with his phone, and the other screen, my grandson’s phone. I was like a NASA engineer tracking a lost satellite.


I could see the two blips on the screen. Jimmy’s phone and Joey’s phone. Joey’s was in a restaurant, but the problem was, it was crowded. The officer said there was no way he could go in there and question people without any means to ID the culprit. He said if we got anything else to call.

Jimmy waited in the parking lot, and within twenty minutes they were…

On the Move

He saw an old truck pulling out of the lot onto the main road. There were, what appeared to be, several unsavory looking characters inside. He got caught at a red light, but that was okay, I was tracking them. They turned down a side road, past a storage facility and into a subdivision. Then they took another turn and stopped. I directed my son to the blip of Joey’s phone, motionless now, but when he got to the spot there was no truck. There was nothing!

“What do you see?” I asked.

“There’s nothing but a damn bayou,” he said.

I refreshed the location on his phone, then did the same for Joey’s. “Okay,” I said, “Joey’s phone is no more than 30−50 feet in front of you, to the south.”

“The sons of bitches threw it in the bayou,” he said. “They must have figured out we were onto them.” (He says son of a bitch a lot too. Must be genetic.)

Frustrated, I hit the refresh button on Joey’s screen.

And then it happened

It moved too far. The screen showed Joey’s phone back at the house where it was originally. Either Captain Kirk had stolen Joey’s phone, and Scotty was beaming him from place to place, or…something was wrong.

It was time to do more research on “find my phone.”

It seems like “find my phone,” works magnificently—if the phone is in use, or if the phone is turned on and in range of a wi-fi network.

If not…it shows up on the screen as a small green blip, which I thought was pointing us to the exact location; however, if you click on that blip, it expands to cover a very large area.

So I clicked on the blip, and lo and behold, a large circle of green appeared on the screen. Large enough to encompass the entire area we had been searching—including—the school where Joey’s tournament was being held.

Oh shit

I got a rotten feeling in my gut. The kind of rotten feeling when you know something is wrong. The kind my son had when he warned me about calling the cops.

I texted Joey’s friend, got Joey to call back, and then told him to go to the place where all the backpacks were. I instructed him to listen closely for a loud beeping sound. And then I activated the “find my phone,” feature that sends a beeping signal for location.

The next thing I heard was Joey proclaiming loudly, “Wait a minute. I hear something.”

Sure enough, the phone was in another kid’s backpack. A backpack that looked similar to Joey’s. A backpack that my magnificent, wonderful grandson had mistaken for his.

The Bottom Line

I had wasted three hours of time.

I had involved a Captain of the police force and he had dispatched an officer to investigate.

My son drove @ 45 miles round trip and wasted about two hours.

But Joey came home with a smile on his face. Oh, and a phone in his pocket.

Thank God for “find my phone.” (sarcasm intended)


Ciao, and thanks for stopping by,




Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of MURDER TAKES TIME, MURDER HAS CONSEQUENCES, and A BULLET FOR CARLOS. He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”

11 Responses to “The Miracle of Apple’s “Find My Phone””

  1. Thanks for the run down on “find my phone”. My beloved niece claims her iphone was stolen at a concert!! I would have run the circuit like you and added “f@#king to the swearing. I decided not too, she just leaned on Mom to buy her another. Life is good for her!

  2. Yes, it’s a wonderful thing to see in action—if—the phone is in use, or in a wifi. We are still laughing at the experience.

  3. OMG! OMG! Can’t.stop.laughing.

    This is classic! Epic hunt for a phone that was right next to him. Ha ha ha!

    Knowing all the characters involved in this story I can just imagine all the dialogue that took place but didn’t fit into this blog — and that makes it even funnier.

  4. Yes, Aliza, you’re right. I had to pare this down quite a bit. It could have been a short novel.

  5. I just picture Jimmy standing in front of a bayou! OMG! That was the topper!

  6. Giacomo,
    That was to much, haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. Now I see why Aliza has been laughing for the last two hours. Great story, thanks for the laughs.

  7. Anthony, thanks for stopping by. It was a fun day…kind of.

  8. Oy!

    Re: …encompass the entire area we had been searching

    At that point I might’ve popped Greg in the back of the head. He drinks from the Apple Koolaid too.

    At least your grandson got his phone back.

  9. OMG!! I loved this. Joey is very lucky having you as his Grandfather. However, and having dealt with my 2 sons’ shenanigans, I am sure you didn’t know if you should hug him or murder him 🙂 When my boys were teenagers, I would tell them that murder was an option and would be considered justifiable 🙂

  10. Maria: Now I know Greg’s a smart guy.

  11. Cheryl: There was no question about the murder or hug. Kids are meant to murder, grandkids get a pass.

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