Apple’s Find My iPhone app and quick-thinking cop help save woman trapped in California ravine

“A 28-year-old woman from Campbell whose car tumbled hundreds of feet down an embankment on Mount Hamilton east of San Jose [California] was rescued and taken to a hospital Tuesday morning after she spent more than 12 hours stuck and injured, officials said.,” Hamed Aleaziz reports for SFGate. “In the end, police said, the search for where the car crashed was both complicated and aided by location-based technology.”

“On Monday afternoon, just after 2 p.m., Campbell police officers received a report from General Motors’ OnStar system saying there had been a rollover accident involving Melissa Vasquez’s Chevrolet Cruze in the area of White Oaks Road and Shelley Avenue in Campbell, said Capt. Gary Berg. That was just a couple of blocks from the woman’s home. Officers spent two hours searching the area, Berg said. But the pegged location wasn’t right,” Aleaziz reports. “Officers then contacted Vasquez’s cell company, which provided a location of her phone within a 7-mile radius of downtown San Jose, Berg said. Authorities were still unable to locate the car.”

“Officer Dave Cameron met with the stepmother and asked if Vasquez had Find My iPhone, an app that allows you to locate your misplaced iPhone using cell signals,” Aleaziz reports. “‘Amazingly, Officer Cameron was able to guess the correct password after only 3-4 tries using his knowledge of commonly used password combinations,’ officials said. The Find my iPhone app was also locked. But the same password opened it up. Cameron activated the ‘lost phone’ feature and saw a map of the location of Vasquez’s iPhone — 14555 Mount Hamilton Rd… ‘You think about it. If we didn’t have that specific location I would hate to think what the outcome would be without him logging into that account,’ Berg said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Use strong passwords and enable two-step verification for Apple ID:

1. Visit Apple’s My Apple ID site.
2. Select Manage your Apple ID and sign in.
3. Select Password and Security.
4. Under Two-Step Verification, select Get Started and follow the onscreen instructions.

iOS 8’s new Family Sharing feature not only lets you share iTunes and App Store purchases but also makes it easier for you to track all the devices in your family with the help of Find My iPhone.

How to easily track an iPhone or iPad with Find My iPhone and iOS 8’s Family Sharing here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Aussiebookguy” for the heads up.]


  1. Bendgate, antenna gate and any other FUD created by Samsung, tech blog wannabes and big investors trying to manipulate stock mean nothing in the long run when Apple stories like this get covered by every morning show. This is why Apple stands out in the crowd.

    Only concern I have is Samsung paying people to get lost or stranded with the Samsung phones so their PR dept can get the story out, LOL

  2. Next article will be on the short sighted bureaucrat who won’t push prosecuting illegal immigrants but wants to prosecute the the officer for a felony for “hacking” iPhones…

      1. 16 feet is best accuracy with a consumer GPS device; there are far more accurate systems available for business and research, but 16′ is as good as you need for a phone.
        With an open sky, I’ve had my location showing on a large scale UK ordnance survey map in the correct corner of a pub beer garden.

    1. Care to suggest one?
      Without direct access to combined GPS/cell tower data, about the best that can be obtained is via tower triangulation, which is terribly inaccurate. I’ve had my location on an older phone show it in a street I lived in many years ago nearly three-quarters of a mile away!

    1. Not anymore. Remember all the outrage form the FBI over the inability of Apple to bypass device passwords? Once you forget your Apple ID password (and don’t know answers to your security questions), your Apple device is permanently locked and Apple can’t do anything about it.

  3. Officer Cameron is brilliant: “So I made an educated guess, based on a series of common numbers people use for passwords,”

    Of course that happened in Amerryca so I guess the most common passwords would be stuff like, thermonuclear, war, kill, slay, murder you know stuff that guarantees headlines.

    Well done officer Cameron, after a performance like that she just might get an all expense weekend to Getalamo Bay to enjoy some of the water sports.

    Oh yeah, /shjtt.

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