Apple Watch Thieves Arrested Thanks to This Handy Pinging Feature

iPhone Find My App Credit: Konstantin Savusia / Shutterstock
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Apple’s Find My feature helped police track down a stolen Apple Watch when its owner apparently pinged it at just the right moment.

Investigators from the Roseville Police Department had tracked the location of the stolen Apple Watch to a parking lot in the city, KTXL reported. Presumably, they used the Find My location tracking feature, although the piece doesn’t mention it specifically.

There, they found a parked motorhome with two men inside: Elijah Filson, 21, and Jacob Cummins, 38. Both of the men were on probation.

Police began searching the motorhome when, in an apparent moment of serendipity, an Apple Watch began pinging.

Officers told KTXL that they found the watch hidden in a cabinet in the back of the motorhome.

Filson and Cummins were arrested and booked on multiple charges, including possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance.

On Wednesday, 11/27 Roseville Police Officers responded to the 8600 block of Auburn Blvd after a resident of Roseville…

Posted by City of Roseville, California Police Department on Monday, December 2, 2019

Apple Devices and Theft

What the local news outlet didn’t mention it, it appears that the pinging feature mentioned in the story is Apple’s Find My app.

If you set up the Find My app on your iPhone, the location tracking feature is automatically enabled for any paired Apple Watches as well.

From there, users can utilize the Find My app to see the location of the Apple Watch (although this is dependent on whether the Watch is connected to Wi-Fi, cellular or is within range of the iPhone).

When a user is close enough to their iPhone, they can play a sound to help them find it. There’s also a dedicated Lost Mode, as well as options for remotely erasing an Apple Watch.

But even beyond the location tracking and pinging features of the Find My app, an Apple Watch is actually a fairly poor target for theft.

Apple’s Activation Lock feature, which is enabled by default, effectively bars any Apple Watch from being erased or paired with an iPhone without a user’s Apple ID password.

In fact, pretty much any Apple device is fairly “theft-resistant.” While they can, of course, be stolen, it’s much harder for thieves to actually keep or make use of stolen Apple products than other electronic devices.

The Find My app is already pretty powerful, but we’re also expecting Apple to release Bluetooth-like tracking tags that can be used to locate and ping everyday items like keys and wallets.

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