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Carjacking suspect foiled thanks to 'Find My iPhone' feature

Carjacking suspect foiled thanks to 'Find My iPhone' feature
© Dimarik16 | Dreamstime.com

Have you ever misplaced your iPhone or iPad? It can be an unsettling experience to realize it's nowhere to be found - especially something that's loaded with your personal information.

That's why it's a good idea to have Find My iPhone enabled, which allows you to locate, disable or erase your device remotely. And while it's a great tool to use when you've misplaced your iPhone, it can also be used to catch a thief who's taken it - even unknowingly.

That's what happened when it was used to quickly end a scary situation the day after Christmas. Thanks to the Find My iPhone feature, a carjacking suspect is now behind bars.

Carjacking foiled by an iPhone

Chase Richardson was on his way to work in Nashville on the night of Dec. 26. when he was approached by a man while stopped at an intersection. The man had a gun and was banging on the driver's side window of Richardson's Honda sedan.

Richardson told WTVF that the man was yelling, "Get out of the car! Get on the ground! Get out of the car!" He complied, while sneakily placing the iPhone he uses for work in the center console. The suspect took Richardson's other phone and his wallet, then sped away.

Richardson ran to a nearby Walgreens and called 911. Police responded and they quickly accessed the Find My iPhone feature to track the stolen Honda in real time.

With the help of a police helicopter, officers were able to locate and arrest the suspect, who was a convicted felon. From start to finish, the whole incident lasted less than an hour.

Using 'Find My iPhone'

This situation quickly resolved because the Find My iPhone feature was enabled. Do you have the service switched on?

Bonus: Find your lost iPhone or iPad

To check, tap Settings on your iPhone (or iPad) and then tap your account (with your name) in the upper left corner. Look for iCloud, then Find My iPhone and see that it's enabled.

Find My iPhone settings

So if you're iPhone or iPad is lost or stolen, you can find it (as long as it's powered on) by logging into iCloud.com/find using your Apple ID and password. It will show a map of the device's last known location and give you options to choose from.

Think it's lost at home? Activate a loud noise on the iPhone, even if it's on silent mode. If you left it somewhere, you can set the device to Lost Mode. Enter an alternate phone number where you can be reached, and you can customize a message that appears on your lost device.

If you're concerned that it was stolen, use the Erase option to wipe the device. If you get it back or get a replacement, you can restore your information - as long as you keep a recent backup. Learn more about backing up your iPhone or iPad by clicking here.

Got an Android? No problem. (Bonus tip: Find your lost Mac iPhone or iPad) You'll also be able to find, lock or erase your device if it's signed into a Google account. Check out more information here.

What if you don't have an iPhone?

Or, even more likely, what if you aren't as quick thinking as Richardson, who tossed his phone in the car before he was tossed from it? Well, you can protect valuable assets like vehicles by equipping them with GPS-enabled tracking devices. These small devices connect to both iPhone and Android devices and can be used to track kids, pets, vehicles and anything you value and want to protect.

Tips to set up your new iPhone

Did you get a new iPhone this Christmas? We can show you how to get it up and running if it's your first, or how to upload your previous information.

Click or tap here for tips on setting up your brand-new iPhone

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