What Happens When Your Uber Driver iPhone is Stolen?
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So I had the unfortunately opportunity to learn what happens when your Uber iPhone was stolen.
Yesterday morning, I came upon by car with the driver door ajar. I knew this wasn’t good. When I got into the car, I saw that everything in my glove box was on the passenger seat along with everything in my center console and a small nook behind that. I was going through everything to see what was stolen. At first, they didn’t seem to have stolen anything and the last thing I checked was the Uber iPhone. I usually leave it in the glove box so that I can always drive when I want to instead of having to worry about having my phone or not.
When I searched for the phone, nothing was at the end of the white charging cord. That was were panic set in. Here were the questions running through my head:
- How much would it be to get it replaced?
- How soon can I get another phone to start driving?
- Did they try to use the phone for more mischief?
So only the iPhone and about $10 worth of quarters were stolen from my car. I got off pretty lucky. There was a 4 year old TomTom that they clearly skipped over (thanks for dissing my GPS kit).
I sent an email to the local Boston office right after I found out so that they can deactivate the phone and hopefully can track it in case they wanted to recover it. There isn’t much on the phone so I wasn’t concerned about what was on the phone rather than what the thief was going to do with it. Unfortunately I didn’t get a reply that day.
I decided to go down to the local Boston office without an appointment. Usually I’m pretty patient but this was pretty serious and was hoping that they could do something about it. I didn’t necessarily need a phone that day but I wanted to at least have it deactivated it so nothing bad would happen with it.
It was the old Verizon iPhone 4s, so it wasn’t as if they could just remove the sim card and use it on another phone as it technically doesn’t have a sim card and it would be locked from getting on AT&T, T-mobile, or any other US carrier. The old Verizon iPhones have CDMA chip on it and its whitelisted onto the Verizon network. Once its reported stolen, the IMEI number is flagged and can’t work unless you take it overseas.
One additional thing about the Uber iPhone is that the software on it is locked down. I would think the military would have trouble cracking it as it has multiple levels of encryption and access restrictions. The only way to unlock it is to use the one computer in the Uber Boston office to unlock it and that computer would need to be online in order to communicate with the Apple server to remove each lock on the phone. Unless they were going to take apart the phone and desolder the memory chip on it, there’s no way to use the phone.
Uber Boston Office
I got there just before 6pm and knocked on the door. I didn’t have an appointment but I thought I would try anyway as this is a pretty serious incident. Luckily, someone at the office had a few minutes to help me out as it was late in the day. He deactivated the old phone and then gave me a new one. There would be another $100 deposit unless I can provide a police report of the incident. My next stop would be the police station to report it. I am not sure if this is the same if you happen to lose or break your Uber iPhone. You may need to pay that $100 deposit to get a new phone.
Cambridge Police Station
I have to say, the five or six officers I interacted with were the most humorous officers I ever talked to. They were just busy making fun of each other the entire time.
I got there late in the afternoon to report the incident. I knew not much would come of it unless somehow Apple gets involved and scours the internet for the phone. The officer took down my information, car details, location, and approximate timeline of the incidents. He would be processing the report that day and I would have to come back tomorrow to get the official police report once the records department opens the next day. It was surprisingly a very pleasant experience. I also ribbed an officer outside the station about how the treads on his cruiser was getting too low, way below legal limit. He seemed to find the humor in that.
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