CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - 12 times in the past year, someone has knocked on the door of a couple's home in Atlanta, thinking their lost or stolen smart phones were inside.
WBTV Cyber Expert Theresa Payton, CEO of Fortalice, Inc., found these cases of phone finding software glitches and thought it was a good opportunity to remind you that GPS isn't always the be-all, end-all.
Payton says the search function in both Apple's "Find my phone" and Android's "Device Manager" were off in this case.
Her analysis and advice follows:
For Apple phones it is the Find My iPhone software & for Android it is the "Device Manager". These features are routing people to the wrong place.
Here's how the glitch might work.
The find my device features will look at GPS first. If it cannot find the phone base on GPS it will look for cell towers, WiFi spots and IP Addresses.
But that searching through and combing through all that data is inexact and sometimes it'll just display the easiest equation to solve. It could be that the various cell towers in Atlanta triangulate in such a way that when all else fails, the apps default to this couple's house.
If your phone is lost and you track it to a location, approach with your physical safety in mind or contact law enforcement
Keep in mind that "find my phone" could be hit or miss on accuracy. Particularly if you use it to track family members.