My MacBook Air was stolen about 6 weeks ago. Through iCloud and "Find Phone", I have some pictures and a location down to about 2 blocks. The pictures are from the current user taking photos which automatically appear on my local devices. (Yes they probably saw my pictures until I stopped taking them. Yes, they are stupid.)

I was thinking about going there and hanging out until I recognized the current users, but it is in a very bad neighborhood and I would be noticed. The police have not done anything.

Yes, the MacBook can be locked or a message sent. I am hoping to get it back.

Does anyone have ideas on how to track them down? While Find Phone shows their location, it does not report an ip address. Is there a way to get an ip address?

Does Facebook face recognition work on strangers?

Come on tech geniuses, help me play detective.

It does not have Drop Box installed.

  • Do you use Dropbox by chance? – austin1howard Jul 11 '12 at 15:06
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    1. Keep copies of all the pictures as proof. 2 if the police are not responsive call into a local radio station, have all your facts, dates etc ready. A little bad press should get the police moving on your case. – Deepend Jul 11 '12 at 15:33
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    @Deepend has it right. While a little spy/vigilante work sounds like fun, the only way you are going to get your macbook back and not get slapped with your own legal issues is to get the police to do their job. And there is nothing the police hate worse than bad PR. – Mike Clark Jul 11 '12 at 15:37

To add to my comment above

  1. Keep copies of all the pictures as proof. 2 If the police are not responsive call into a local radio station, have all your facts, dates etc. ready. A little bad press should get the police moving on your case.

You have to be very careful. If you find them and approach what’s to stop them instantly throwing the laptop on the ground and running? Much worse you could end up in a fight with one or more people, never a good solution as you have no guarantee of winning and the laptop could be damaged in the process. You could also be severally injured.

That said I am not saying that you should back down. If you are going to take personal action to get it back it just has to be thought out. Lastly there could be severe problems if you accidently approach the wrong person, or if that person can justify why they have it, holding for a friend etc. and sue you.

This seems to becoming a more regular occurrence; a friend of mine here in Ireland recently had her iPhone robbed out of her bag. In this case the police (with a little badgering) did raid a house in an attempt to locate it. Unfortunately while they found numerous other unexplained devices they were not able to locate her particular phone.

However it just goes to show that a little pressure helps.


My Macbook air was stolen in a burglary in south Dublin last week. I managed to track it to an address in North Dublin through iCloud, but the tracking is not address specific and takes in a radius of at least six or seven houses in the particular crescent it's in (that's another story, the garda aren't being very helpful...)

You've obviously tried all the sending message and wipe options. It's so frustrating, but unfortunately the police won't enter premises without a search warrant. I'd keep badgering them, asking them what they've done, if they've cross-referenced the address etc etc. I would be wary of going there myself, as it's also a bad area. Unfortunately the law is very much on the side of the criminal.

Keep at the police and keep all your printouts. It's the only evidence you have. If anyone has any other ideas I'd really welcome them.


I know this is an old question, but for those still viewing for answers... Keep it all legal of course but I would check the photos for GPS data and put them in a separate iPhoto db that does not connect to photo stream. Then you can use the Places categorization on the left of the iPhoto window to see an overview where all of the photos are taken. With enough photos, you should see a pattern develop of the typical whereabouts of the theif/user. Take a screenshot of the map overview and submit that to the police as well so that they know that the photos have GPS data. Never assume the police know something obvious.

Also be aware that gmail also monitors IP addresses whenever a user logs in, so if you were using gmail on the mail app of the device and they accessed your email, you can also get the IP to give to the cops.

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