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I want to return a found iphone.
April 3, 2012 7:50 AM   Subscribe

I found an iphone. It's locked. No carrier info on the casing. I want to return it to the user, or turn it into the carrier. What do I do?

According to Wikipedia, the model number A1303 means it's an iPhone 3GS, built in 2009.

I do not want to keep it. I have a nice Android phone that I'm happy with. No need for another. But is there any way to either get the device to tell me its carrier or give me access to its owner's info while it's locked?
posted by zarq to Computers & Internet (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Chances are, its owner has enabled the "find my iPhone" feature (provided they've upgraded the OS). Is it charged up and getting a network signal?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:56 AM on April 3, 2012


Check out some of these answers, one of them might help?
posted by Falwless at 7:56 AM on April 3, 2012


Press the home button and then say "Call Home" or "Call Dad" or "Call Mom" or "Call Brother" or "Call Work" as voice commands will still work even when the phone is locked.

Then, if you're lucky, you'll get in touch with the person who lost the phone.
posted by inturnaround at 7:57 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


That should be "press and hold the Home button"
posted by inturnaround at 8:00 AM on April 3, 2012


Burhanistan: "Chances are, its owner has enabled the "find my iPhone" feature (provided they've upgraded the OS). Is it charged up and getting a network signal?"

Charged yes. 70%. Network signal, no. I can see the little airplane icon which I assume means it's in airplane mode.
posted by zarq at 8:00 AM on April 3, 2012


If you pop out the sim, you should be able to figure out the carrier pretty easily.
posted by advicepig at 8:00 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Instructions for removing the SIM.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:02 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The carrier name should be listed on the upper left of the lock screen.
posted by inturnaround at 8:02 AM on April 3, 2012


Falwless: "Check out some of these answers, one of them might help?"

Thanks for that. Taking it to an Apple store is a great idea. Maybe they can help.

Would I screw up my android phone if I swap sim cards with an iphone?
posted by zarq at 8:02 AM on April 3, 2012


> Would I screw up my android phone if I swap sim cards with an iphone?

Well, you'd have to cut your SIM to fit, so probably.

Besides, it won't help since the device is in airplane mode. If it's a US phone it's most likely AT&T, so you could drop it off at a retail AT&T wireless store.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:05 AM on April 3, 2012


Sorry, I take that back, the iPhone 3GS uses full sized SIMs, but it won't matter anyway since the device is locked.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:06 AM on April 3, 2012


inturnaround: "Press the home button and then say "Call Home" or "Call Dad" or "Call Mom" or "Call Brother" or "Call Work" as voice commands will still work even when the phone is locked."

This is going to sound ridiculous, but is there a command for "turn off airplane mode"?
posted by zarq at 8:06 AM on April 3, 2012


inturnaround: "The carrier name should be listed on the upper left of the lock screen."

Unfortunately, it's not. :(
posted by zarq at 8:09 AM on April 3, 2012


AH HA! BINGO!

The phone carrier is TMobile. The sim card has their logo printed on the back!

That's all I needed. I can turn it in to them.

Thank you for your help, everyone!!
posted by zarq at 8:12 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Glad you found the carrier. Just FYI, an actual T-Mobile company store will probably be more proactive at returning the device to the owner rather than an authorized reseller.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:14 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hold the home button until it dings and say "who am I" and it will display the contact card of the owner if set up, with full name, phone and emails.
posted by gmm at 8:14 AM on April 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


(If you're on an open wi-fi)
posted by gmm at 8:15 AM on April 3, 2012


gmm: "Hold the home button until it dings and say "who am I" and it will display the contact card of the owner if set up, with full name, phone and emails."

It didn't work. Honestly, I wish it had worked. Would have been nice to return it to the original owner. Was a good idea, though. Thanks for it.
posted by zarq at 8:21 AM on April 3, 2012


Burhanistan: "Glad you found the carrier. Just FYI, an actual T-Mobile company store will probably be more proactive at returning the device to the owner rather than an authorized reseller."

Wise. Thank you!
posted by zarq at 8:21 AM on April 3, 2012


Glad you got the carrier - seconding T-Mobile company store.

Hold the home button until it dings and say "who am I" and it will display the contact card of the owner if set up, with full name, phone and emails.

- The iPhone 4 I just tried started playing Weird Al when not locked.

- When locked, and in airplane mode, the carrier does not display on the lock screen.

- When locked, and in airplane mode, holding down the home button will not activate voice control.

The iPhone I tested had as it's "lock screen" a picture of the back of a Medical Alert notification amulet, with contact phone number and membership number and medical condition that matches one worn by the owner - an interesting idea.

maybe I'll put my email address as a lock screen on my phone: "If found, email xxxx@xxxxxxx.com"
posted by tilde at 8:23 AM on April 3, 2012


As an iPhone 3GS... it wouldn't have Siri or voice commands.
posted by smitt at 8:28 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


maybe I'll put my email address as a lock screen on my phone: "If found, email xxxx@xxxxxxx.com"

That's what I do with my iPod, and with the screensaver on my Kindle. Why not make it easy for people?
posted by Ery at 8:41 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


As an iPhone 3GS... it wouldn't have Siri or voice commands.
No Siri, but a 3GS does have voice commands.
posted by soelo at 8:59 AM on April 3, 2012


smitt: "As an iPhone 3GS... it wouldn't have Siri or voice commands."

It has voice commands. The screen came up when I held the button down. But I couldn't get it to do anything.
posted by zarq at 9:04 AM on April 3, 2012


If it's on T-Mobile, it's been carrier-unlocked, so a different SIM should work. I don't know if swapping in a different SIM would let you actually use the phone if it's passcode-locked though.

If it's in airplane mode, "find my iPhone" won't work for the person who lost the phone.
posted by adamrice at 10:46 AM on April 3, 2012


An Apple store is a better bet than a T Mobile store. Apple can easily get the serial number and then contact the owner. I wouldn't trust an employee at a random T Mobile franchise to not just steal the phone.
posted by w0mbat at 12:12 PM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can't you read the SIM-stored information if you put it in YOUR phone?
posted by itesser at 7:47 PM on April 3, 2012


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