Top Tips & Pro Tips for getting the most out of Unhand Me!

About Locking your Device

In order to start detecting if it has been handled, Unhand Me! requires your device to be locked. By locked, this means "turned off" by using of the sleep/wake button and also passcode / Touch ID protected. If you don't have a passcode, then your device is never actually locked. 

Also, if you have set password required after X minutes, then UnhandMe will only be able to become active once that time has expired. 


Unhand Me requires background processing to be enabled on your device. This needs to be enabled in iPhone Settings, General, Background App Refresh and for Unhand Me itself. 

If you wish to use the perimeter functionality (below) then you will also need to have location services active. This can be found in iPhone Settings, Privacy, Location Services. Because UnhandMe uses geofencing and, if the geofence is broken, then tracks your device's location every x minutes, Unhand Me needs to have "Always" permission for location services. Don't worry about battery. It is designed to be very light on location usage unless someone has actually taken your device. 

Unhand Me does not know who you are, so any data sent to the server is purely used to inform your paired devices of your stolen device's location. We don't use advertising identifier or any "fingerprinting" to gather data about you. 

Lock Screen Notifications

Depending on how you've set up your iPhone, you are able to also answer notifications from Unhand Me on your lock screen. This can be disabled just for Unhand Me by going into iPhone Settings, Notifications, select Unhand Me and turn off the "Show on Lock Screen" option. There is also a short cut to device settings setting in "Unhand Me Settings" see section below. 

Basic Customisation

You can change what you want Unhand Me! to say when your iPhone is handled. Whenever you change the text, it will be spoken in the voice that you selected. 

You can also change the voice. 

Changing the Voice

You can select from many different voices.

1. Touching on a name will select the voice and it will introduce itself.

2. Touching on the "quote" button will both select the voice and speak your current warning message in the selected voice.

Many of the voices can speak both English and their native language. Some of the voices, such as French, may struggle a little with some English words and are included to allow support for speaking warning messages in their native language.

Sound Effects

You can set an optional sound effect. By default, this is to Scream. You can change this, or disable it by touching the more button to the right of the "then:" prompt. This is activated when someone handles your phone and keeps handling it for 5 seconds. You can change this duration in the "MOTION" section of Unhand Me Settings. 

Pairing Devices

You connect iOS devices running Unhand Me! together by pairing them. To do this, press the "Other Devices" tab. On this tab is an "invite" button in the top right to share the app store link and two big orange & blue buttons. Press the orange Add a device button on one of them and the blue "Pair my device" button on the other. You then scan the pairing code. 
In this example the black device will send a push notification to the white device and pop up the acceptance screen. Very occasionally, push notifications can be delayed. If this is the case, then touching the "Recents" tab and refreshing will also show the acceptance notification. 

Once the white device accepts then the black device will get the acceptance screen. Once both devices have accepted they are then paired. 

The acceptance screen has four switches, broken into permissions and notifications. 
  • Green is for if you want to allow receipt of UnhandMe alerts from the paired device. 
  • Red is whether the other paired devices is allowed to remotely activate/deactivate your device. 
  • Orange is whether you want to notify the paired device when your device is handled. 
  • Blue is whether you want to notify the paired device when your perimeter is broken (see below). 

Notifying & Messaging Paired Devices

The "My iPhone" tab gives you a quick indication as to how many devices you will be notifying when handled and/or when the perimeter is broken. You can press it to view, add or remove whom you are notifying. 

This is pretty much the same as the "Other Devices" tab with the exception that the list gives an indication as to which devices are notified. An orange inner circle corresponds to the orange when handled switch and a blue outer circle corresponds to the blue perimeter switch. 

If the other device has given you permission you will also see a message button to the right of each device name. Pressing this lets you send a push notification message in the the voice you choose by one of three options:
  • Speak: Will speak the message out loud on the device. It will do this even when the device is locked and Unhand Me is in the background. 
  • Message: Will not speak, instead, display a notification. 
  • Both: Will both speak and display a notification. 

Controlling a Paired Device

If another device has given you permission to remotely control it, you'll see a "hand button" to the right of its name in the "Other Devices" tab.

Pressing this will display a control panel that looks a lot like your "My iPhone" tab, except that you are controlling the paired device instead of your device. You can change what it speaks when handled, the voice, the sound effect and also enable the perimeter.

The paired device is enabled will be sent a notification with your instructions. After a couple of seconds you will see the "hand button" change colour as the paired device becomes active/inactive.  


Occasionally the hand may stay orange and after a while end up with a status of not delivered. This is usually because the user of the paired device has "force closed" the Unhand Me app. Force closing prevents all future background activity until the app is restarted. 

The other possible reason is that the your device or the paired device have no network connection, or is are currently registered with Apple's push notification services. Sometimes a device can lose registration for push notifications. This can often be fixed by turning airplane mode on for a while, then back off. If that still doesn't work, resetting the device by pressing home and the sleep/week button simultaneously usually does the trick. 

Enabling a Perimeter

By default, the perimeter radius is 100m (328 feet) around the location of your phone when you activate Unhand Me! When Unhand Me! is active and your phone is locked, once the phone leaves this perimeter it will begin push notifying any paired devices or, optionally tweeting its location.

When you activate Unhand Me and you have perimeter active, it will turn on location services and find it out where it is. This may take a short time, as it needs to get an accurate fix. Once it has the location, it will speak the perimeter description.To save battery it will then turn off location services until the perimeter is broken.

About Perimeter Notifications

In the Pairing Devices and the Notifying & Messaging Paired Devices sections above, you learnt how to pair and notify devices when the perimeter is broken. 

In the example below, the phone has been set to notify paired devices every 2 minutes. These will push notify any paired devices and optionally speak an alert. These notifications also appear in the "Recents" tab. Touching one of them will group all like notifications and show them on a map in a numbered format, also showing an orange hand at the point the perimeter was broken. 
Touching a map point will show the specific details, allow you to get directions and optionally send a message. In the example above, the iPad sent a message to the iPhone and the iPhone is replying. 

About Perimeter Tweeting

If activated, the first tweet contains the Unhand Me! logo to draw attention to itself. 

Successive tweets are text only. 

The tweet contains up to 50 characters of default text, whether it is stationery, walking, driving etc., the address of where it is, a link to open the location in maps, the time in minutes and seconds since activation and an unhandme hash tag. By default it will tweet every 120 seconds.

When you first turn on the perimeter, you will be asked to select the Twitter account that you would like your iPhone to use to tweet its location if it is taken outside the perimeter. If you don't have a Twitter account, you can go into iPhone settings, select Twitter, then tap Add Account and then Create New Account. It's really quick. For further Twitter tips, see below.

Apple Watch

One of the quickest ways to activate Unhand Me! is to simply hold up your wrist and say...

"Hey Siri, activate Unhand Me".

The other options are to install the Unhand Me complication, and/or the Unhand Me glance and touch it or to go directly into the Unhand Me app.

From the watch app, you can activate / deactivate either by pressing the big activate switch. When activating you can also turn on perimeter with the perimeter switch.

The Glance

A simple Glance is provided which shows the current Unhand Me status on your iPhone. 


There are a number of complications to support various watch faces. With complications that support colour, such as the one above, it will appear red with a circle around it to indicate when Unhand Me is active on your iPhone. In mono watch faces, a solid circle around the hand indicates being active. Touching the complication is a fast way of activating / deactivating Unhand Me. 

Adjust iPhone's Voice Volume

The Apple Watch music glance provides a handy way to adjust the volume of Unhand Me's voice on your iPhone. 


Though you don't need to, if you want to tweak how things work, then you can do this in Settings.


Wait time in seconds: This is the time Unhand Me! will pause between announcing that your iPhone has been handled, and sending a notification to your Apple Watch. By default, this is 15 seconds.

Detect only walking or faster: By default Unhand Me! will detect the slightest touch on your iPhone. You can change this so that it will only detect being handled once someone is walking with it (or faster). Note that this feature is not supported on devices older than the iPhone 5s.

Reduce sensitivity: Reducing sensitivity will cause the advanced motion chip to only report changes in motion status that it is certain about rather than simply detecting the slightest touch. On older devices this will lower the threshold sensitivity of the accelerometer & gyroscope. 

Delay before sound effect: When the device is handled, if you have a sound effect turned on, this is the delay in seconds before the sound effect will start playing as long as the device is still being handled. 


Perimeter radius: This is the distance around you that forms a perimeter in which your iPhone feels safe. Once outside this perimeter, it will become self aware and start tweeting where it is. 

Time between notifications: This determines how often your iPhone will notify paired devices and/or tweet its location once outside of the perimeter. 

Tweet where I am?: Activates or de-activates Tweeting once the perimeter is broken.

Tweet: Here you can customise the first 50 characters of your tweet. The remainder of the tweet comprises whether it is stationery, walking, driving etc., the address of where it is, a link to open the location in maps, the time in minutes and seconds since activation and an unhandme hash tag.

Using Twitter account: This lets you set which of your Twitter accounts you would like to use. 

Successive tweets are @replies: After the initial tweet, which contains a small image to draw attention to itself, you can set the successive tweets to be replies to the original tweet. This is a handy way of following the tweet history of your self aware iPhone.

Send a test tweet: Should you wish to see what the tweet will look like, you can press test tweet and make sure everything is to your satisfaction. 

Speak: Each time your iPhone tweets where it is, it will also speak a message. You can customise this to say what you'd like to say. Perhaps your name or to call an alternate phone number. 

and include perimeter address: If you turn this switch on, it will also speak the address where you last activated Unhand Me.

and show on lock screen: If on, the spoken message will also appear on the lock screen as text. 

Continuously Scream: Depending on the sound effect selected, turning this on will continuously play the sound effect once the perimeter has been broken. 


This vocabulary section allows you to change what is spoken for all key words and phrases.

what to say when activated: Normally this is "On". 

what to say when de-activated: Normally this is "Off". 

when activated on device & then locked: When you activate Un Hand Me on device (rather than remotely via the watch), and then lock the device, it will say "Locked" to confirm that it knows it has been locked. 

when I have been placed at rest: When Unhand Me detects that it is at rest, it will say "Thanks". 

when perimeter is activated: When perimeter is active and Unhand Me is activated, it will determine the centre location for the perimeter and, if new will speak it. The phrase begins with "Perimeter set for" and it will then radius and the address.

notifications for when handled: For both notifications to your Watch and to paired devices, the message will contain the name of your device and then the phrase "was just handled. You can change this phrase. 

notifications for when outside perimeter: By default when notifying paired devices, the notification will be the name of the device and "has gone walkabout".

Mute alerts from other devices: When receiving alerts from paired devices, your iPhone will also speak the notification. If you'd prefer just to receive a notification only then you can mute the voice with this switch. 

Device Settings

This is a handy way to go directly to your iPhone settings for Unhand Me. This is useful if you need to check that the permissions for Location, Motion & Notifications are enabled and to change them accordingly. 

About Battery Life

Handle Detection

If you have a device with a motion co-processor, i.e., iPhone 5s & higher or iPad Mini 2/Air & higher, then for handle detection you will likely not notice any impact on battery life. If you have an older device then this will use the gyroscope and accelerometer. This does have some battery impact. Our testing shows 2-6% drain per hour depending on device and battery condition. 

Having Perimeter Active

When the perimeter is first determined, Unhand Me will detect your current location using GPS. Once a fix is achieved, it will then turn off location detection and set what is called a geofence, which has negligible impact on battery. 

When the Perimeter is Broken

When the perimeter is broken, location services (GPS) will be used every 2 minutes (or according to your settings) in order to get a location fix. It will then turn off again until the next interval. Anything using GPS is a battery drain, especially when it needs some level of accuracy. However, even in this mode, location is not used continuously to try and reduce any battery drain. 

Using Twitter with Unhand Me!

Twitter provides lots of useful features when used with Unhand Me's perimeter setting. In particular it has an awesome, fast & reliable notification system. It can also be as public or as private as you require.

Create an Account just for your iPhone

If you currently have a Twitter account but aren't comfortable with your iPhone tweeting directly to it, then creating a second account is an easy way to keep things separate. You can do this directly on your iPhone by going into iPhone settings, select Twitter, then tap Add Account and then Create New Account. Alternatively, you can do this on the web or in the Twitter for iPhone app. If doing this on the web, you will need to add the Twitter account in your iPhone Settings, Twitter section afterwards for it to appear as an option in Unhand Me! 

A Private Account

If you are not so comfortable with the whole world being able to see where your self aware iPhone is, you can set its Twitter account as private. To do this you need to sign into Twitter, go into your account settings, then security and privacy and check the Protect my Tweets option. You learn about this here.

Notifying Others when your iPhone tweets

A benefit of having a Twitter account just for your iPhone is that others that follow your iPhone's twitter account are able to get notifications whenever it tweets. This lets you create an early warning system if your iPhone has been removed from its perimeter. Perhaps to your partner or some close friends. This will let them take action, perhaps use Find My iPhone or Find My Friends to track where it is and notify the authorities. 

To do this, they need to go into Twitter (example above is in the Twitter for iPhone app), view your iPhone's twitter profile, press settings and then select "Turn on notifications". They will then be alerted when your self aware iPhone starts tweeting. For other notification methods including SMS, see here.

Here's an example of what a Twitter notification from your self aware iPhone looks like on a friend's Apple Watch.

Other Options

You can use If This Then That to perform all manner of actions based on your self aware iPhone's tweets. Check it out!