A little less than a week ago the iPhone5 went on sale in Costa Rica (officially) for the first time. And like any other smartphone the thought of losing it is far from your mind. But statistics show that a lot of people lose their iPhones or get it stolen as more thieves eye the popular device.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco.

You can take steps right now that can help you quickly recover your smartphone if you were ever to misplace it or someone makes off with it.

First, set up a passcode for your iPhone. It can be inconvenient but it can also help your chances of recovering your phone. And make sure “location services” is turned on. You can find that in “Settings,” and then at the top of “Privacy.”

Apple offers a free service called “Find My iPhone” that you should set up right away so that when the dreaded event happens you’ll know what to do.

To set it up, go to “Settings” and down to the “iCloud” tab. Scroll down to the bottom and look for the green radar icon that says “Find My iPhone” and make sure it’s turned on.

If it is, this means you can track your device from anywhere you have a computer.

Go to iCloud.com and sign in with the same Apple ID you use on your iPhone 5. Once you log in, you’ll see the same radar icon for “Find My iPhone.” Click it. That will take you to another page that’ll show you where your iPhone and other Apple devices you have are on a Google map.

At the top left, click on “Devices” and select your iPhone. That’ll zoom you in closer to its location and open a box that shows you how recently it was tracked and how much battery life it has left.

It also shows three buttons with different actions you can take. You can choose to have the iPhone play a sound, which is useful if you misplaced the device near you.

You can also turn on “Lost Mode.” That’ll let you remotely lock the device and let you set up a passcode, keeping would-be thieves from using it. In the Lost Mode, it’ll also ask you for a callback number and will let you send a message to the device such as “This iPhone has been lost. Please call me.” You can message the phone multiple times.

If you have sensitive information on the device that you’d rather not have stolen, you can also remotely erase it. This will wipe the iPhone 5 clean of all your data, but — and this is a big but — you will also lose the ability to track the device. Use this with caution.

If you have located your device but think it may be in the hands of thieves, don’t hesitate to call police. Since Apple launched Find My iPhone a few years ago, police have been able to help retrieve the devices.

Our advice, lock the iPhone as soon as you think you’ve lost it. Some tech savvy thieves know how to disable the “Find My iPhone” service.

Find My iPhone works with iPhones, iPads, Macs and iPod Touches.

Editor’s note: the preceding instructions are all iPhone5 and assume the same to be true with units sold in Costa Rica at “authorized” dealers. We ask any reader who has purchased an iPhone5 from an authorized dealer, ie. Kolbi, Movistar, Claro and others, please send us an email editor@qcostarica.com or post your comments here.


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