How many times have you misplaced your phone or had it go missing?
The mere thought of having your photos, memos, contacts and other personal information gone forever (or in someone else’s hands) is enough to make the average person sick with anxiety.
For one man and his wife, BlackBerry Protect recently proved invaluable in reuniting them with their missing phone.
Just Like Anyone Else
Andrew and Teresa Schito are a pretty normal family; they married a few years ago and are now raising their young son in their hometown of Waterloo, Ontario in Canada.
The Schito family. Credit:Andrew Schito
If the name of that city rings a bell, it’s because it also happens to be the home of BlackBerry, where Andrew works, while Teresa serves as a Communications Coordinator for the Region of Waterloo itself.
Teresa’s personal smartphone is a BlackBerry Z10. It’s full of baby pictures, just like any other new parent’s would be.
For Teresa, Andrew’s familiarity with BlackBerry’s mobile security features came in handy in a way they probably didn’t quite anticipate.
“My Heart Sank… I knew it was Gone”
It all began as a typical day (they always do) for Teresa – heading to swimming class at the local community center with her baby.
“I arrived at the community center and sent a text to a fellow mom friend that I’d arrived,” Teresa explains. “She met me at my car, and I threw my Z10 in the side pocket of my diaper bag, grabbed it and the baby and headed inside.”
When Teresa reached into her bag to grab her phone for a quick photo, however, it wasn’t there.
“I told my friend, ‘Hey, I can’t find my phone!’ while proceeding to rifle through my diaper bag,” she says. “I thought, maybe I left it in the car, but my friend was adamant she’d seen the phone in my bag when I was walking into the building.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the bag or the car, or anywhere around it.
“As soon as I opened the car door, my heart sank because I didn’t see it. I knew it was gone,” she says.
She left Andrew a voicemail and headed home, dejected.
“The drive home had me thinking about all my pictures, and I started to get very upset,” she recalls. “Months’ worth of pictures and videos of my little guy growing were potentially gone. It was heartbreaking.”
“The Phone is on the Other Side of Town”
When Teresa finally got the news to Andrew, he knew right away what to do.
“When my wife told me her phone was missing, I immediately logged onto the BlackBerry Protect site (protect.BlackBerry.com) to lock the device and track it.”
Andrew enabled a message on the wayward phone directing any potential finders to call him, along with the relevant contact number.
BlackBerry Protect also let Andrew and Teresa view the location of the device, play a sound, display a message on the device, lock the device, and even wipe it if needed, changing the situation from a hopeless one to an actionable one. (BlackBerry Protect is found on all BlackBerry 10 devices and already enabled by default on the BlackBerry Passport and Classic).
It was BlackBerry Protect’s location-tracking feature that let Andrew and Teresa track her phone to a mixed-use building across town.
(This is the point where we remind you to let the authorities handle retrieving a missing device if someone else has it, just to be safe. There’s a chance your phone was just found on the side of the road, but it’s still the best course of action, and the police are trained to handle this sort of situation.)
“We waited a while, and it hadn’t moved in 40 minutes,” says Teresa. “I called the police from the location and explained the situation again. They said they would dispatch an officer and to wait, so I parked on a side street and waited.”
Andrew then arrived and went into the convenience store to speak with the owner. When he came out, the police arrived.
“The officer asked us what we wanted him to do,” relates Teresa. “He seemed skeptical we would get the phone back because of similar lost phone cases. I told him I didn’t care so much about the physical phone. I could always get another BlackBerry, but it was the photos on the phone I wanted.”
A Great Idea Built into BlackBerry Protect
The next bit is somewhat ingenious:
“Andrew asked the officer if it would help if he could make my phone ring while he’s at the apartment, and the officer said that would be much better,” says Teresa.
“I used BlackBerry Protect to play a loud sound on the phone,” Andrew says. “While outside the apartment, we were able to hear the tone and confirmed the phone was in that apartment.”
Thankfully, the phone was given (without incident) to the police, who returned it to Teresa – contacts, memos and photos intact. The person with the phone said they’d found it “in a snowbank.”
“All I can say is: Thank goodness for BlackBerry Protect!” Teresa says with relief. “I know a lot of people who have lost their phone, and they lose all their pictures and everything with it and then end up just buying a new phone. I’m so thankful I didn’t have to do that.”
“We also will back up our pictures on our devices more often now,” Andrew adds.
The triumphant Tweet:
Steps You Can Take to Protect Your BlackBerry (and Data)
If you have a BlackBerry 10 device, you should complete the steps below to turn on BlackBerry Protect – it just might reunite you with your phone! (Remember, it’s enabled by default on the BlackBerry Passport and Classic.)
On your home screen, swipe down from the top of the screen
Tap Settings followed by BlackBerry Protect
Set the BlackBerry Protect switch to On
For a complete overview, check out the BlackBerry Protect page HERE, and be sure to watch the video below.
Have you ever lost or had your phone go missing? Were you able to retrieve it? Tell us all about it in the comments below!
About Matt Young
Matt Young is a writer and editor with experience in tech, music, news and entertainment. A current Performance Evangelist for Radware, Matt has previous experience with BlackBerry, and Avaya. He has a degree in Journalism from San Jose State University. Follow Matt on Twitter @techunraveler.