Apple’s Find My iPhone Useless in China!


iPhone theft is a common problem in China!

Just 5 minutes ago I left my office in Qingdao, China and headed out in to the scorching summer heat!
As soon as I hit the trendier area of town I was approached by a man (not for the first time) with an iPhone 4 in hand, “3000 (Yuan)” he said, I replied with a polite “No”. “2000” he replied. Again I declined! “1000!” was his answer!

And I am sure he would have continued to reduce his asking price!

1000 Yuan ($154) for an iPhone 4! I was seriously tempted, but turned down the bargain price for the obviously stolen Apple iPhone 4.

This got me thinking about my personal phone, perhaps I should set up Apples ‘Find My iPhone’, which is free for iOS devices with iOS 4.2 and above.

Find My iPhone is free for all iOS devices with iOS 4.2 and above.So that’s what I’ve done. I taken a  brisk walk to the coffee shop, followed the instructions from Apple oh how to set up the free ‘Find My iPhone’ service: http://www.apple.com/iphone/find-my-iphone-setup/

And I’ve logged in to me.com to check if everything is working!

Google's Maps only works to a certain level in China, but MobileMe wont let me zoom out no matter how much I try!

And it doesn’t!

As you can see Apple are relying on Google’s mapping servers to serve up the location of my iPhone, but due to Google’s limited mapping capabilities in China, not to mention the dispute they are currently going through with the Chinese mapping committee, my phone’s location cannot be displayed!

Zooming out doesn’t help either!

This is how it should look! But in China you don't get the map!

Sure I can still lock the phone, wipe it and even send rude messages to anyone who might get my phone without my permission, but I won’t be able to hunt them down and get my phone back!

With iPhone 4’s, both black and white flying out of stores left and right from Chinese stores, and with Apple making China a top priority for sales and marketing, you would think that Jobs and Co. would try their best to protect iOS users in China!

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If Apple are truly committed to the Chinese market they need to catch up with what China is doing/allowing.
China’s Baidu.com offers a great mapping service which could be used to help me find my phone, YouTube could be replaced with a built in Youku or Tudou application and what about adding a Chinese calendar to the springboard?

With the imminent release of the iPhone 5 and presumably iOS 5 I wonder if we will see Apple shift in a more China friendly direction.

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6 Comments

  1. TechToys2go.com
    June 1, 2011

    Hehe, although I can’t speak for Qingdao thieves, the scam is even worse than you may realize!

    Those guys are everywhere in Shenzhen too, and this is what they REALLY do… After giving you a few minutes to give the iPhone a once over, they take it back quickly and work out a deal with you. The reason they are willing to go so cheap is because they never plan on giving you that same phone back. In fact, they have another iPhone in their pocket, only thing is, it’s a demo/dummy phone… u know, the one that lights up, has the same case, feel and weight, only… it isn’t a real phone lol. They pretend to be really nervous about cops around, so that when the cash exchanges hands they give you the phone and bolt. By the time you figure it out, buddy is long gone with your cake. I have seen this happen to more than a couple guys.

    I chuckle every time these guys hit me up, I’d love to reverse the scam on them one day… check out the real phone at the beginning but give THEM back a fake haha.

  2. Guest
    June 1, 2011

    Hehe, although I can’t speak for Qingdao thieves, the scam is even worse than you may realize!

    Those guys are everywhere in Shenzhen too, and this is what they REALLY do… After giving you a few minutes to give the iPhone a once over, they take it back quickly and work out a deal with you. The reason they are willing to go so cheap is because they never plan on giving you that same phone back. In fact, they have another iPhone in their pocket, only thing is, it’s a demo/dummy phone… u know, the one that lights up, has the same case, feel and weight, only… it isn’t a real phone lol. They pretend to be really nervous about cops around, so that when the cash exchanges hands they give you the phone and bolt. By the time you figure it out, buddy is long gone with your cake. I have seen this happen to more than a couple guys.

    I chuckle every time these guys hit me up, I’d love to reverse the scam on them one day… check out the real phone at the beginning but give THEM back a fake haha.

  3. Hans
    June 13, 2012

    I live in Beijing and got my Iphone 4s stolen last week in a bar in Sanlitun. The time window was maybe 10 mins before I realized that it was gone and the phone was already turned off at that point. I assume the thief then removed the sim card and formatted the phone through iTunes, and all this while the phone would not connect to the internet a single time. This makes the “Find my Iphone app” completely useless! I bought the phone partly also due that Find my iphone app which is being talked about everywhere. What a big joke! I thought you could track your phone through your IMEI number. This is only done by the provider, but here in China (or anywhere else like in Europe or the US) the police don’t help you.

    • June 26, 2012

      Sorry to hear that Hans. I can understand you being upset, but I can also understand why we can’t track our phones when they are restored. Imagine you bought a second hand iPhone 4s and the old owner knew where you were at any moment? Scary stuff!

  4. Guest
    June 13, 2012

    I live in Beijing and got my Iphone 4s stolen last week in a bar in Sanlitun. The time window was maybe 10 mins before I realized that it was gone and the phone was already turned off at that point. I assume the thief then removed the sim card and formatted the phone through iTunes, and all this while the phone would not connect to the internet a single time. This makes the “Find my Iphone app” completely useless! I bought the phone partly also due that Find my iphone app which is being talked about everywhere. What a big joke! I thought you could track your phone through your IMEI number. This is only done by the provider, but here in China (or anywhere else like in Europe or the US) the police don’t help you.

    • Andi Sykes
      June 26, 2012

      Sorry to hear that Hans. I can understand you being upset, but I can also understand why we can’t track our phones when they are restored. Imagine you bought a second hand iPhone 4s and the old owner knew where you were at any moment? Scary stuff!