Recently one of my daughters lost her iPhone. Lauren was with a friend and had just arrived at a gym in Canberra when she realised she did not have her phone with her. Not to worry, she thought, it was probably in her friend's car. However, when they returned to the car 40 minutes later, it was not there. They checked the carpark and some nearby shops to see if it had been handed in. It hadn't! Given she was using it in the car on the way to the gym, it seemed she must have dropped the phone somewhere between the carpark and the gym and someone had picked it up and taken it.
Fortunately Lauren had activated the Find My iPhone service and had left her location services turned on. So when they got back home, she used her MacBook Air computer to try to locate her iPhone. And, much to her surprise, it popped up on the screen with a green button, meaning it was online. The phone was moving slowly around the streets of a nearby suburb.
Lauren rang the local police station to ask for advice on what to do should they track down the person who had taken the phone. The officer said to call him and he would send a patrol car to help.
By the time they left to track the phone, it was stationary. It appeared to be at a house in an adjacent suburb. The girls continued to track the phone using Lauren's laptop, which was connected to the internet via a mobile wi-fi hotspot generated by her friend's phone.
When they arrived outside the house Lauren rang the police officer she had spoken to earlier. A patrol car turned up within minutes and a police officer spoke to Lauren before knocking on the door of the house that her computer had identified as being the location of the phone. The phone was handed back to the officer, who returned it to Lauren.
I could only marvel at the technology that allowed Lauren to find her phone!