Tracking down a lost iPod

My daughter lost her 5th gen iPod Touch earlier today πŸ™

She had been at home all day apart from a short visit to the local doctor’s surgery with my wife. She remembered using the iPod before going to the doctors, but couldn’t remember if she took it with her. So – it was most likely to be somewhere in the house, in the car or left at the doctor’s surgery. However, by the time she realised it was missing,Β it was past the doctor’s surgery closing time so we couldn’t call them to ask if anyone had found it.

We’d never got round to enabling Find My Phone in the Cloud services on this iPod so that was no use πŸ™

After a couple of hours of searching the house, garden, car etc. by the whole family, we still couldn’t find it πŸ™

But then I used a bit of (simple) technological detective work and we managed to locate it safe and well πŸ™‚

In the chance that it might help someone else in a similar situation I thought I would share exactly what I did to track it down…

Logical steps…

The first thing we did was to try calling the iPod from another iOS device using FaceTime. We tried this several times and listened for the ring tone each time but this proved fruitless.

Then we tried messaging using iMessage. When we did this, we noticed that each message was given a status of “Delivered”, but not “Read”. This suggested that the iPod was on a network somewhere. Now our doctor’s surgery doesn’t have public WiFi so this meant the iPod had to be close enough to our home wireless network for it to be connected! We’re getting somewhere…

Armed with this knowledge, I logged into the admin pages of each of the dd-WRT based wireless access points in the house and grounds (there are 5 in total!) and checked the wireless client lists of each. This listed the MAC addresses for each connected client.

I then checked the messages.log on my Debian Linux server which provides DHCP for the whole of my network and found the DHCP entries relating to the missing iPod. The most recent DHCP request/offer/assignment sequence was only a few minutes earlier so this was further evidence that the iPod was still recently alive and on the network. This also gave me the MAC address of the iPod which I could use to determine which access point it was connected to.

Checking the access point connected client lists again I found the relevant MAC address and this showed it had a signal strength of 50%, so it was pretty close to the access point in the utility room at the far end of the house. We were getting warmer!

And finally, after having a good search in that area we found the iPod down the side of the cushion in a comfy chair in the corner of the kitchen!