The iPhone's remote wipe

3667630398_60808317f6_b A nice feature of the iPhone's 3.0 OS that works well with Apple's Mobile Me service is the Find My iPhone feature.  The one drawback with it is that it only works when the phone is actually connected to the network.  So when my phone was stolen on the weekend I was able to track if for a bit, but my attempts to telephone and text the thief to encourage him to return it ended just prompting him to turn the phone off.

Apart from tracking the Find My iPhone feature of Mobile Me allows for a remote wipe of the iPhone.  So given that there is a good deal of personal data on my device, since it was in effect my main computer, I activated it once the phone went off the grid.  Better to erase everything on the phone than to let my personal data get used by the thief who had stolen the phone.

A feature that would be nice would be a method of completely disable the phone until it was plugged back into your own specific version of iTunes.  That way the thief who stole it would have no way of profiting from selling it on Craigslist.  Perhaps it could just lock the phone up with a message on the screen that read something like, "This phone is stolen.  If found please call xxx-xxx-xxxx."

Still it's good to know that whomever stole my iPhone won't be able to be Twittering under my name.

Like the tracking the wipe requires the device to log into the service, and so up until last night it was still pending.  Around midnight I received the following email, confirming that my data was being erased:

Dear MobileMe member, 

The remote wipe of Jeffery Simpson’s iPhone requested at 6:37 PM on July 10, 2009 began at 12:29 AM on July 14, 2009.

All media, data, and settings are being permanently erased from Jeffery Simpson’s iPhone. This process may take up to two hours, depending on your device. Please note this process cannot be cancelled. 

If you retrieve your device after completing a remote wipe, you can connect it to your computer and use iTunes to restore it to a previous backup. If you were previously syncing with MobileMe, you can re-enter your MobileMe settings on your device to immediately restore email, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks. 

If your iPhone has been lost or stolen, be sure to contact your carrier to suspend your wireless service.