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Lost my iPhone


user13371
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On my commute home tonight, I made a couple of stops. In one store I wanted to jot down a note to myself so I reach for my iPhone and ... it wasn't there. Most likely pI left it on my desk, but I wasn't sure. Got home, logged on to iCloud and clicked on Find my iPhone. With relief I saw it was still at the office, and I'll get it in the morning.

 

But here's the good part: The circle of probability for the phone's location covered the entire city block. But the center of that circle, the green dot labeled "Lee's Phone," was spot-on. Close enough that you could definitely find my office within the building, and probably find my desk from it.

 

Admittedly it's a window office. But I work on the 3rd floor of a 10 story office building, and my window looks out to another tall building across the street. Lousy for multi path and less than 20% clear view of the sky.

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Hey, I get that on my phone even without GPS enabled! You wanna know why? Because it sees our wifi here at home, and the Borg collective knows quite well where this wifi and its associated IP address is... :P
Yes, the majority of phones now are location awre, whether they're "only" phone, or phone+wiFi, or phone+wifi+GPS. And many offer services that let you track them down in cases like this.

 

What surprised me was the apparent accuracy of this location.info.

 

- WiFi is turned off on my phone at the moment, because I never use it at the office..

- And in any case, neither the Borg Collective, no Skyhook, nor Google seem to know the coordinates of the WAP's in our building -- we've checked in the past for other reasons.

- I wouldn't expect cell tower triangulation to be that precise. A city block, maybe. The exact office within a building that covers a city block? Better than I expected.

- Even with GPS turned on and sitting by my window, I wouldn't expect that kind of accuracy inside a building and within in an urban canyon.

 

Of course, any single reading is anecdote, not evidence. Those times when your GPS puts you within "0ft" of the cache don't mean the GPS is perfect, it just means you got lucky that time. But after I get to the office today and make my rounds through the building, I might check at some other desks to see how lucky it would be when I'm further inside and away from a window.

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