If your phone is lost underneath your couch or the low battery has forced it to turn off while it’s sitting on your kitchen counter, that’s one thing. That just means your phone is out of sight, and that’s completely different than being lost. A good app will force your phone to emit loud noises, whether or not it’s on vibrate, and it’ll be easy to find. You can even install applications that track the last spot the phone was located on a GPS and email the coordinates before the phone dies (hint – it was in your daughter’s room).
Sometimes things get a little more serious than that, though. If a phone has been legitimately lost or stolen, it’s time to pull out the big guns. Often there is more than just your Facebook and some phone numbers on a personal device, especially if you own a business or have a Bring Your Own Device policy at your place of employment. Below are a couple of iOS and Android compatible apps that can not only locate your phone, but completely wipe it before anything gets into the wrong hands.
Find My iPhone/Find and Ring
Find my iPhone is exclusively for iPhones, and Find and Ring is the Android version that was released not too long ago. If you can’t find where your cellphone has wandered off to, or your phone is on silent, just log into your Apple or Google account. Both apps do pretty much the same thing, and you can instruct either program to make your phone ring. It will override your set ringtone volume.
If your phone has fallen into the wrong hands, however, Find and Ring will allow you to delete all the data on your device in one fell swoop. If you want this feature to be enabled, you have to enable the option in your settings on the phone before you lose it. Both versions of this app are free.
Lookout Security and Antivirus
This app is free to a point, and it’s compatible with both popular smartphone operating systems. Using a browser on your computer, you can find your phone via GPS map, make it “scream”, and send texts or call the device in question. If the phone battery is dying, then Lookout will send you a last-ditch email with the location of the phone so you can try and find it before or even after it dies. In addition, the phone will go into lock down if someone fails at your lock screen more than three times. If you pay for the program, you get access to remote data wipe and lock down, plus complete system backup before you wipe your data. It comes to about $3 a month if you decide to purchase it.
Prey for More than Just Phones
Do you have tablets and computers that you carry around as well? With Prey, you can just track them all. There are apps for iPhone, Android, iPad, Mac laptops, Windows laptops, and even Linux laptops. All devices do require an installation of the software before stolen, and then the gadget is filed away in your Prey account. Once there, you can simply check the device that has gone missing, and it will be found via GPS. You can also grab your photos remotely, make messages appear on the screen, and make an alarm go off without any way of turning it off. The coverage starts at $5 a month for three devices and goes up from there for better, more custom protection.
Don’t think your device is forever lost if it is stolen – there are plenty of ways to retrieve the data, if not the entire device.