Amazon Tablet misplaced...but sure its still in the house.
October 25, 2018 10:41 AM   Subscribe

My son's Amazon Kid's Edition Tablet is somewhere in the house but *hours* of searching for it haven't found it. For reasons detailed inside we are highly confident it is still here. Help!

Last night we discovered our son's green Amazon Kids Tablet (with one the big green rubber bumpers around it which makes it stand out) was missing - and after hours of searching by the whole family we couldn't find it - and I mean searching everywhere we could think of (even inside the oven, fridge, the dishwasher, behind the laundry machine, every drawer, under couches, under mattresses etc). We are pretty confident the device is still in the house. This is largely because the bluetooth headset for it is pairing, and the tablet is showing on our Wi-Fi Mesh controller as having been connected with the last few hours (long after we started looking - if I'd thought about it earlier it would show me which mesh node it was on and we'd be able to narrow down - but its not online at the moment - it may be that it connects briefly every few hours so i'll check again later)


1. Connecting my son's bluetooth headphones (which have only ever paired to his tablet) still works. They are pairing in most of the house (but we have been able to rule out a few rooms, garage, and our cars where pairing doesn't work if we are inside the room/car and close the door). This gives us relatively high confidence the tablet is still in the house, plus the fact that the headphones don't pair when well away from the house indicates its not a false positive. I've turned off other devices that potentially could be pairing to cause a false positive (and we have never had an issue with the headphones pairing to the wrong device).

2. Our Wi-Fi mesh controller has the tablet showing as last being online this morning (long after we started looking for it). As above, if I can catch it online again it can narrow down to which of the five mesh nodes it is connected to which will give a better location.

3. I've tried the Amazon functions to do remote alarm etc, but that isn't working (suspect we never configured the device to allow it / plus not online)

4. We didn't have any play friends over yesterday and we don't go to any neighboring houses where the device could be and we would still be able to get a signal - all his friends and school are at least a mile or two away so we are confident its not in a neighbor's house

5. Trash was collected yesterday and bins are still empty on the curb so it didn't go out in a trash bag best we know.

6. I tried running an nmap port sweep/ping sweep on our internal wi-fi network to "wake up the device" - but didn't seem to work

7. It's an older Fire tablet and doesn't do BLE so don't believe any BLE scanner on the AppStore will work / find it.

*sigh* - Honestly a little stumped and looking for any advice or other techniques to try and either wake the tablet up so I can make it ring/find it on the wifi network, or find it the old fashioned way. I'm at the stage of "maybe I can get a Bluetooth signal analyzer, pair the headphones and try and work out through power levels where the signal is coming from". Our house is largish (maybe 2200 sq feet), but is single story and the tablets normally are in one of only three rooms - which we have turned upside down.
posted by inflatablekiwi to Technology (56 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Have you played any board games recently? A friend was missing her tablet, and eventually found it in a game box. Also check stacks of books and/or paper.
posted by jenny76 at 10:44 AM on October 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

It's in the bathroom somewhere.

Do you have a magazine stand by the toilet? It's between the magazines, or even shoved inside of one.

It's in the cabinet where you keep the toilet paper, probably fallen down between or behind the rolls.

It's on the ledge of the bathtub, between the inner shower curtain and the outer shower curtain.

It's shoved between some towels.

It's in a drawer underneath all the bandaids and travel size hair brushes.

This comment brought to you by this morning's "where did my water bottle go, I was literally just drinking it?" incident, only to find I had put it in my medicine cabinet on the shelf by the deodorant.
posted by phunniemee at 10:48 AM on October 25, 2018 [7 favorites]

Did it get scooped into the hamper with some other stuff? Is it inside his school backpack, or anybody's purse/briefcase/work bag/etc.?
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:48 AM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Failing that, it's definitely in the clothes hamper.
posted by phunniemee at 10:48 AM on October 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Whenever I can't find something it's usually up high. On top of the fridge, top shelf of the bookcase, etc.

Also, take apart the couch again. Things can get really shoved down in the cushions. Or, caught between the wall and the couch in such a way that you can't see it looking underneath or from above. There may be a fifth dimensional thing that couches do, but I'm not a physicist.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:49 AM on October 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

Lately when I've been scouring for something I've started using the brightest flashlight I have. It's not entirely about the light (though that is helpful, especially for matte black devices that look like shadows), it's also about telling your eye to look and not just see.

Also change your perspective. Get up on a chair/ladder and look down, lay on the floor and look up. Agreed that you should go inch by inch through the couch, possibly even flip it up on its back if you can.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:53 AM on October 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

If Bluetooth still works, you just need something that will give you a little more information than "on" and "off". How to Find a Lost Bluetooth Device gives full instructions. You will need to download an app, but at least one choice is free.
posted by ubiquity at 11:02 AM on October 25, 2018

Response by poster: All great suggestions. Pretty sure all the Bluetooth scanners on the app store work only for finding Bluetooth Low Energy devices (BLE), which the older Fire Tablet isn't :-(. I have one of the apps on my phone and no luck - but would be happy to be shown I'm wrong on that.

Confident it's not the couch (went and looked again) but agree they tend to be multidimensional portals. Behind toilets was a good idea. Didn't find the tablet, but did find other things that may keep me in therapy for a while. Wait...oh god...I didn't check inside the toilet tanks. Surely no. Hang on luck - only a rogue rubber ducky.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:10 AM on October 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Have ruled out school bags and the Tardis which is my wife's purse. All are out of the house and miles away....but still the headphones pair...taunting me in broken English on the headphone speakers that "the bluetooth device has connected a successfully"
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:13 AM on October 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

Did you check the vehicles? (Honestly, it's a good excuse to clean out your car.)

Barring that, as Lyn Never alludes to, make sure you're searching from your son's height. An "obvious" place to put it may never occur to you if you're looking from even six inches higher.
posted by Etrigan at 11:14 AM on October 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

Do you have a recliner? I've found a remote control that had gotten caught on the flap behind the recliner. It wasn't found when looking under cushions or under the chair.
posted by saffry at 11:15 AM on October 25, 2018

It is hiding in plain sight. They always are. Or in a closet.
posted by AugustWest at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Make a grid of each room. Search the entirety of each square in the grid, high and low. You have to make your process systematic or you are going to keep looking in the same places over and over and are going to miss the spot where it's hiding.
posted by sockermom at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2018 [8 favorites]

taunting me in broken English on the headphone speakers that "the bluetooth device has connected a successfully"

My car does a thing with my phone where it'll pair as soon as I start the car, but it won't start playing for a few seconds while the audio system boots up -- so if I turn off the car between those two things, the phone will start playing through its own speakers.
posted by Etrigan at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Our house is largish (maybe 2200 sq feet), but is single story and the tablets normally are in one of only three rooms - which we have turned upside down.

Sounds like it's time to expand the search to every room. And - seconding the suggestion to search from your son's height; I once went temporarily insane for 20 minutes looking for a 5-pound bright yellow plastic bucket of sugar in my New York apartment, only to eventually discover that it was sitting in plain sight, just in a different vertical level of space than the one where I was focusing my concentration.

that story also leads me to another suggestion - has it been tucked onto a bookshelf, and you're overlooking it because it looks kind of like "this is a book"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:20 AM on October 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

On a bookshelf, shelved as a book.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 11:21 AM on October 25, 2018

It's outside
posted by 0bvious at 11:22 AM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Under a carpet/rug?
posted by Grither at 11:24 AM on October 25, 2018

It fell off the back of a piece of furniture, and is lodged between the back and the wall (so possibly up in the air).
posted by papergirl at 11:26 AM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Check inside pillowcases. I recently lost my iPad without getting out of bed, to the point where I legitimately thought I was losing my mind. It was inside the pillowcase.
posted by something something at 11:27 AM on October 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

The best way to find it is to buy a replacement and as soon as you do, it will turn up.
posted by AugustWest at 11:28 AM on October 25, 2018 [12 favorites]

Tell your son he’s off search duty then have someone else (without telling him) surreptitiously keep an eye on him as he goes about his business, see where he pauses, where he puts his hands while his brain’s engaged with other things. Also, by freeing him up from thinking super-hard about what he did with it, you’ll free up what I believe the science folk would call his default mode network, which could result in it, unthinkingly, popping up in his memory.
posted by penguin pie at 11:33 AM on October 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Will update if I find it. Our son is on the autism spectrum and using the tablet for a period is very much a part of his daily after school routine...and messing with that routine is not an option unless we want an epic sustained uncontrollable meltdown for the poor wee guy. (I have a new tablet in Amazon basket and ready to order if can't find in next few hours / or will whip out to the stores and just buy a new one)

- Both our children have been drafted into searching (last night and this morning). Pretty sure the tablet owner is motivated to find it - there were tears, and his younger sibling isn't normally the type to hide things on purpose (but we haven't ruled it out and are watching where he goes)
- We don't have any rugs (or loose carpet)
- Checked cars visually (plus pairing of headphones doesn't work inside or near cars - with cars off to avoid false positive - one of the cars - which the kids travel in - is away from the house now and still the headphones pair....)
- Outside is possible but couldn't find anywhere outside where headphones are pairing
- Bookshelf and board games are a good idea - will need to be more systematic on it.

To be clear we have searched every room and car (down to checking in paper trays on printers and inside the flatbed scanner). I agree it will be obvious and the "'D'oh!" I eventually end up saying will likely be heard from space.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:37 AM on October 25, 2018

When I lose things and can't find them, it's usually because it fell in a weird spot (i.e. into a corner that's hard to reach) or I absent-mindedly put it somewhere weird (like in an unimportant drawer it shouldn't be put into or something). One time I dropped a key that, instead of falling on the ground, got caught on a piece of wood on the side of the house, so me looking at the ground caused me to miss it for a day. Search high places too, in case. All you can really do is keep looking. Even with apps like Find My Phone or Life360 or whatever, it's an large location area - it wouldn't have been able to pinpoint where in your house the tablet is.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:38 AM on October 25, 2018

If you have recliners of the sort that have a fabric swag between the seat and footrest, check there--things can hide when it's closed.
posted by telophase at 11:41 AM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Have you enabled remote device management? It allows you to enable a remote alarm: "Remote Alarm - Activates an alarm on your device. The alarm plays on the device for two minutes or until it's dismissed when your device is located."

You get to it this way:
Go to Manage Your Content and Devices.
From Your Devices, select a device that supports Manage Your Device.
Select the Device Actions drop-down menu, and then select an option: Remote Alarm

[edit: oops, sorry, this was in #3 already]
posted by GuyZero at 11:41 AM on October 25, 2018

Tablets for me have tended to slip behind the bed and get stuck between the bed and the wall.
posted by CarolynG at 11:50 AM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, also, one time, I lost a heart-rate monitor strap and I tore my apartment apart looking for it. Ended up ordering a new one. Then, the next time I packed for a trip, I realized it was in one of the pockets of my luggage the whole time. Now I own two heart-rate monitors.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:52 AM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

A friend recently lost her wallet and then found it inside the reuseable bags she uses for grocery shopping. So if you store reusable bags somewhere, look inside those bags.
posted by vunder at 12:04 PM on October 25, 2018

The method that works in our house is to buy a new one and shortly thereafter the original will be found.
posted by RoadScholar at 12:18 PM on October 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

Without wishing to sound glib, if it's important enough for your kid to get stressed over you probably need a backup on hand anyway. I'd buy another one.
posted by fullerine at 12:27 PM on October 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you've got another video game system, check there, because the components are often the same colors and therefore blend in.
posted by xo at 12:37 PM on October 25, 2018

Might one of the kids accidentally ruined it by doing something dumb and has hidden it to avoid getting in trouble?
posted by MountainDaisy at 12:38 PM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Definitely look low. I'm 5'0" tall, and every time I can't find something my husband put away, it's because it's just a little higher than I would have put it, and completely out of my line of sight. Similarly, he couldn't find something the other day that I had used, and it was basically one shelf lower than his normal line of vision. It's amazing how different the world looks from less than a foot in either direction.

Is it in the fridge? Or the pantry? I've set something down to pull out a bin and grab a snack and left it next to the food.
posted by thejanna at 12:49 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Things like this in our house are usually under homework papers or pajamas/coats/casually discarded clothing. Occasionally, they are under a pet who has calmly been watching us pull things apart. Is there any outdoor place that would be plausible? Back porch if the weather was nice yesterday? Can the kid clearly describe the last time they definitely had it?
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:56 PM on October 25, 2018

Another one, inspired by above. Coat pockets. Some coats have ridiculously large pockets and might conceal such a thing nicely.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 1:01 PM on October 25, 2018

On top of books in the bookcase (horizontally stacked). Under a pile of books. In a clothes drawer. In a bed, under/between sheets and blankets or between headboard and mattress or along side the mattress tucked into the side rails. Toybox. Under a chair. Under a pile of mail/stuffies/clothes/newspapers.
posted by john_snow at 1:17 PM on October 25, 2018

Going forward, perhaps a device tracker? Tile has been a game changer in my home. Mom has dementia, and is constantly tucking things away in bags, boxes, and on random shelves. The most important thing in her life right now is her remote, so I stuck a Tile on that puppy and pretty much EVERY DAY I have to trigger it from my phone to ring so I can find it. I would Tile her entire world if I could, especially her false teeth.
posted by clone boulevard at 1:49 PM on October 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Checked fridge, bookshelf (on, above, below), and coat pockets. Made sure wasn't mixed in with the Nintendo Switch gear, behind TV seats, in our one recliner (and underneath it), inside grocery bags, tried to get down to his level to look, looked on top of all our shelves, checked showers, mailbox, and even behind, under, and in the Halloween pumpkins on the porch. Still the damn headphones are pairing with the tablet.....

In the words of Bunk Moreland from The Wire, I think I've caught a stone-cold whodunit

Agree on Tile. I have it on almost everything else (including inside our passports, wallets, on keys, in purses and suitcases...and have a spare Tile sitting here to glue to the tablet once I find it)......because most of our other devices are IOS and have the built in "Find my iPhone" function enabled - I hadn't thought about including a tile on this device :-(

Just heard garage door open and my wife come home with the kids.....this should be fun......
posted by inflatablekiwi at 2:19 PM on October 25, 2018

I have dropped phones and tablets while in bed before and been mystified when I didn't hear them hit the ground, only to find they are between the mattress and the bed frame. So I'd be checking any crease/crevice between things: between kitchen counter and stove, night stand and bed, etc.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 2:26 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

If your beds have headboards or footboards, it could slip between the mattress and the headboard/footboard (remaining vertical/parallel with the wall).
posted by hydra77 at 2:36 PM on October 25, 2018

Okay, this is fascinating. I want it solved. It seems like everyone else has covered individual places it could be, but when I truly, truly can't find a lost object (which happens all the time) it's often because I've got a mistaken premise about where it can or cannot be - and that premise is blinding me to a location that is surprisingly obvious.

Two examples. One is documented here. I couldn't find my phone after I came home from the dog park. "Find my phone" suggested that my phone was in my house, but when I tried to make my phone ring remotely, I couldn't hear it. I tore the house apart but couldn't hear the phone ringing anywhere. Became convinced the remote ringing feature must be broken, because the phone HAD to be in the house... or else that the location feature was wrong, and the phone HAD to be lost at the dog park. Those were false premises. I'd dropped the phone in the yard, walking from the car to the house, which was close enough to make it look like it was in my house on a map, but far enough that I couldn't hear it ring.

I went to the grocery store and then, when it was time to drive home, couldn't find my car keys. Ran back to the store and tried to ring them using Tile on my phone. Thought I could faintly hear the sound of them ringing but wasn't sure. Went back to the car, looked for them in the car. Didn't find them. Went back to search for them in the store, in the place where I thought I'd heard them ringing, but didn't hear them anymore. Spent at least an hour there, where I'd heard them ring, but didn't find them. Went back to the car and nearly collapsed...and found my keys at the bottom of my bag, which I'd had with me on the first go-round in the store but not the second. If I hadn't been convinced that I'd heard the Tile in the store, I wouldn't have spent all that time looking in the wrong place.

What I'm saying is, The Bluetooth speaker pairing thing seems like it should be helpful, but you've obviously hit a dead end with it. So, take a step back. If the headphones weren't pairing,where would you think the Kindle was? Would you think that a friend had it, or that he'd taken it to school and left it there, or that it was in one of the cars? Would you search in a wider radius outside? Think this over and ask your kid to think about it too. Is there anything else you're assuming - that someone else wasn't using it, that it wouldn't have been taken somewhere? - that could be leading you astray?

I'm thinking the tablet is somewhere in the vicinity of the house but not quite in it - car, yard, garage, cellar, etc. Did you look in the trunks of both cars, and in the garage space around them? Do the search in the way you would if the headphones weren't pairing. Then go back and look in crazy places **close to*** the most obvious places, where your son uses the tablet the most: within a few feet of the couch, the recliner, and so on.

Good luck! Please do update us if and when you find it.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 3:16 PM on October 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

Under the mattress or under the mattress topper or fitted sheet? I'd pull all the bed linen off all the beds. Stuff hides there.
posted by kitten magic at 4:34 PM on October 25, 2018

In these situations I just start cleaning the house. If you're looking for it, you will probably not see it, if you're picking all kinds of objects up to put them away you see them. Doesn't work for slipped under xxx to a place I never clean, but works well in many other situations.
posted by lab.beetle at 5:18 PM on October 25, 2018

I often say the St. Anthony prayer ("St Anthony, St Anthony Please come around/Something is lost and cannot be found.") when I've lost something, and it works...maybe 80% of the time? I don't think it's because St. Anthony is deeply invested in helping me find my whatever, but it gives my brain and eyes a little break, just long enough to look anew, and see, rather than just sweeping my eyes somewhere. A short break, with or without the St Anthony prayer, might help you reset.
posted by kalimac at 6:54 PM on October 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Still not found. But the tablet rejoined the Wi-Fi mesh network mid-afternoon (maddeningly not while anyone else was home but me - so it wasn’t one of the kids). I know which mesh mode it joined - but of course it’s the one right in the middle of the doesn’t really help narrow things down.

Bonus - while searching I found a dead rat - and I’m hopeful it may be the one that ate into my car upholstery a few months back (found it in the bushes near the car). So that’s a win, right?
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:19 PM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Dang it — been watching this thread hoping you’d found it by now :( On a windowsill behind blinds/curtains maybe? Between the fridge/microwave/oven and it’s nearest vertical surface? At this point i’m assuming kiddo tried to hide it and forgot/isn’t telling... Under kitty’s litter box? Under table seat cushions? Is there any chance kiddo tried to bury it outside somewhere like a flower bed? Behind a furnace or hot water tank?
posted by cgg at 7:25 PM on October 25, 2018

I know which mesh mode it joined - but of course it’s the one right in the middle of the doesn’t really help narrow things down

If it stays joined to it, can you move the mesh node itself around to try to narrow down the location?
posted by aka burlap at 7:42 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Unplugged the mesh node....and the tablet has eventually switched over to one end of the house (seems to be it connects every few hours or so briefly). So we have a likely half of the house to focus on. I’m going to move nodes into each room at that end of the house to try and narrow it down......(yay Plume nodes for being so easy to move around)
posted by inflatablekiwi at 10:00 PM on October 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Turn off your lights and search with a flashlight, systematically. Good signal to noise radio prevents distractions.
posted by Muted Flugelhorn at 10:22 AM on October 26, 2018

Is the green case removable? Is it possible that the case was removed and you have overlooked the tablet in your search since you are looking for something green?
posted by Miss Matheson at 11:36 AM on October 26, 2018 [4 favorites]

Probably too big, but would it fit in a central air vent? My kid likes to put stuff in there.

If you have it narrowed to one half of the house (say west vs east) can you move the mesh points to NW and SW, see if you can narrow it down further?
posted by cali59 at 12:32 PM on October 26, 2018

Response by poster: Found!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was wedged inside a folded gym crash pad mat - which *of course* is the same color green as the tablet. D’oh! The mat looked perfectly flat and we looked around it and under it but not in it apparently. And it was in the middle of our play area next to the mesh controller the tablet was pairing to.

Thank you to everyone for the great suggestions. We found nd so many other things through our hunt!
posted by inflatablekiwi at 5:48 PM on October 26, 2018 [62 favorites]

Thank goodness! The tension was palpable. :-)
posted by SurfThug at 9:17 AM on October 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Did you end up ordering the replacement? If so, how long from ordering to finding the lost one?
posted by OmieWise at 7:43 AM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Did you end up ordering the replacement?

No - I knew it was somewhere close and couldn’t bring myself to buy another - plus we soldiered on with my son using my iPhone that first night - he wasn’t thrilled but as long as he got to watch “Kids Baking Championship” and play Paw Patrol Draw he was ok.

It’s been a rough week - a teacher at my son’s school was knocked off her bicycle by a DUI driver and tragically killed on Sunday. Glad we found the tablet well before that to keep routines and some level of normality.

Thanks again to everyone - I feel I should mark every answer from you all as best - but that always seems to make these threads harder to read.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:36 AM on October 31, 2018 [5 favorites]

« Older Can I drink out of this mug?   |   How best to spot-clean smelly part of winter... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.