Busted the iPad Thief

by Colin Berkshire

There is a way that you can probably locate your new iPad IOS device, even if it is stolen and the SIM is removed.

iPad thieves have learned that they first thing they need to do is look for and remove any SIM card. That is their first order of business once nabbing your device. They do this to prevent being located.

Once the SIM is removed, the chances of being found are pretty slim, as long as they stay away from any known WiFi hubs. So to be sure, they will power the device down and take it home.

Once safely at home they can power the device up and see if there is a security code on the device, free from worry.

Well, we just caught an iPad thief who followed all of the normal steps. We had a secret trick.

The new iPad pro and other Apple devices come with an Apple SIM that is built-in to the device. That is, this SIM isn’t a removable one. The internal, permanent SIM is used if there isn’t a SIM installed on the tray.

T-Mobile offers “free data for life”. It’s only 200 MB, but that is more than enough for this security hack. Sign up from the iPad. Now, whenever there is no SIM in the tray the iPad will revert back to the internal SIM where there is “free data for life”.

Finally, install a normal SIM. You will typically use this one.

Here is how it all works:

  1. A thief steals your iPad.
  2. You notice that the iPad is gone.
  3. You try to locate the iPad, but the thief has dumped the SIM and powered it down. Normally, you are at a dead-end.
  4. Enable “Lost iPad” mode from another IOS device. (Typically, this will never do anything, because the SIM has been ditched.)
  5. The thief returns home and powers up the iPad, feeling safe. He looks to see if there is a security code, etc.
  6. The iPad notices the SIM is gone and it reverts to the built-in Apple SIM. This then connects using T-Mobile free-data for life.
  7. The iPad is notified that it is lost, and the location of the iPad is transmitted to Apple and you get an email.
  8. The email shows the address of the iPad.
  9. The police can then go to the thief’s home and retrieve the iPad.

This is a simple, elegant solution. And, it worked for me. The thief probably couldn’t understand how the iPad ratted him out with the SIM removed!