A woman who crashed into a ravine near Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, CA, was found after 19 hours, not by the OnStar system in her Chevy Cruze, but by a cop who guessed the password on her iPad and discovered her location using the Find My iPhone app.
According to the CHP, the 28-year-old woman went off the road at Mount Hamilton, and local police received a notification from OnStar that a crash had taken place at 2:10 PM. The Campbell PD began a search in the area but found nothing, eventually enlisting the CHP and the San Jose PD after the woman's mobile phone provider said her phone was in San Jose. But that didn't pan out, either.
At 3 AM the following day, the woman's family contacted the Campbell police to report her missing, and when they arrived Officer Dave Cameron asked if she had an iPhone.
Cameron then helped the family use the woman's iPad to use the Find My iPhone, which gave them a location near Mount Hamilton. Berg said Cameron guessed the woman's password – on the third or fourth try – to unlock the iPad and the Find My Phone app.
Campbell police then contacted the CHP and Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office at about 4 a.m. with the new information, including a screen shot of where the iPhone was located. It was "dead on," Berg said.
So why wasn't OnStar able to pinpoint the location of the crashed car?
While the iPhone uses a combination of GPS, cell phone towers, and WiFi tracking to triangulate a signal, GM's telematics system only uses GPS and doesn't use its onboard data connection for location. And while it logs location information if there's a crash or a call to an OnStar rep, it doesn't continually send location data back to the mothership.
And this may be one of the few times that a lame password has saved someone's life.