iOS15: Left Behind

iOS15: crying wolf too many times

My heart was racing. I’d just seen a message on my Apple Watch: my iPad was ‘left behind’. I’d dropped Owen at his Sunday sailing session, and was on my way home.

Not left behind

But then I remembered that my iPad was sitting on the passenger seat next to me. Over the next 30 minutes, I got a stream of similar alerts, each time saying that the iPad was last seen at varying places on my journey. Even though I hadn’t stopped the car or taken it out.

This happens every time I take the iPad out of the house. A stream of false ‘left behind’ alerts.

The trouble with crying wolf when there is no wolf if that when a wolf does appear we take no notice. It’s the same with iOS15. Last Sunday, after I collected Owen from sailing, I told him that I’d had the usual left behind alert. We ignored it. Yet this time, it was genuine. I had left my iPhone on the table at the lovely Cafe in the Park at Rickmansworth Aquadrome. I hadn’t noticed that the alert was for my iPhone not the iPad. I had to make a return trip to collect my iPhone. (Thank you, Cafe staff, for keeping it safe.)

Why is this alert so unreliable? How can it think a device that is sitting within inches of me has been left behind? I can only assume that it cannot track the iPad’s location as it relies on wifi not a cellular network to connect. As soon as it goes to sleep, it is off grid, disconnected from my iPhone’s hotspot. Why didn’t Apple work this out? Why hasn’t it corrected this glaring failure?

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