A client who is on an overseas trip recently unfortunately lost her phone in Turkey. Luckily, she had signed in to iCloud and turned on ‘Find my iPhone’ before she left.
She got herself a replacement phone in Turkey and, using Find my iPhone on that device (after signing in to her iCloud account), she put the lost/stolen phone into ‘Lost mode' and contacted Telstra to lock the phone’s SIM to stop it being used for calls and data.
But she was then puzzled to find, many days later on her trip, a new photo appear in her Photo Stream - a photo that she did not take, of a man holding his daughter, taken in Turkey! So, of course, she was worried that this might have meant someone was using her phone and had access to her information on the phone! She had a Passcode Lock on the device, so how did this photo get into her iCloud Photo Stream?
She went back into Find My iPhone on her replacement iPhone, ‘found’ her old iPhone in the list of devices, and chose the ‘Erase iPhone’ option for that device. Since she did this, no unexpected new Photo Stream photos have appeared.
But given that she had a Passcode Lock on her device, how did that photo find its way into the Photo Stream of her new iPhone?
Regardless of whether there is a Passcode Lock on the Phone, it is still possible to take photos from the ‘lock screen’ when you don’t know the passcode. If the iPhone is signed in to iCloud and the ‘Photo Stream’ feature turned on, any photos taken on the device will automatically appear in the Photo Stream on other devices. The lost phone would just need to be connected to the internet via WiFi for this to happen. Of course, there is always the chance that the person who had this lady's iPhone actually ‘hacked’ her passcode and did have access to the contents of her device before the device was erased.
This poor client’s experience is a lesson to all of us on the value of using iCloud, and ensuring you turn on the ‘Find my iPhone’ feature on the device. Then, if your iPhone (or iPad) is ever permanently lost or stolen, make sure you use the ‘Erase’ option of Find my iPhone as soon as possible.
This will wipe the device and prevent the person accessing any information on the device, and stop any further interaction with your iCloud/Photo Stream. Your lost/stolen device will be rendered useless, since the person who has it would need the password associated with your Apple ID to activate it again.
Another lesson here is to make sure you have a Passcode Lock on your iPhone and iPad, especially when you travel. This prevent any unauthorised access to your device. You would be surprised how much personal and valuable information can be stored on these devices! As has been mentioned several times in articles, don't store your list of passwords in your Notes or Contacts - or anywhere else that is easily accessible.
And a third lesson is that it is worth considering turning on the iCloud Backup feature so that, should your lose your device, you can simply replace it and everything from this iCloud backup.
For more information on any of the above, contact iTandCoffee.
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iTandCoffee is at 34 High Street Glen Iris 3146, Victoria Australia
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