In a perfect world, nobody would ever lose their phone and there wouldn’t be any mean-hearted villains around who pinch things that don’t belong to them. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in, but using an app to locate a lost or stolen cellphone makes things significantly rosier.
These are some of the apps you should have installed on your phone to help you out when you’re in a pickle because of theft or absent-mindedness.
1. Find My iPhone
If you own an Apple device, this feature is pre-installed on your iPhone – just remember to activate it! After installing Find my iPhone on another device and logging in with your Apple ID, this app allows you to locate a lost or stolen phone on a map, to remotely lock your screen, to play a sound at full volume, and even to get driving locations to where your phone is located. Should you be unable to find your phone again, you can also remotely wipe all the data from your device, giving you much needed peace of mind.
2. Google’s Find My Phone
Customised for Android devices, Google’s Find My Phone has very similar features to Find My iPhone. The app allows you to locate your phone within a certain distance, show a message (which can come in quite handy if you left your phone lying somewhere or would like to send a stern message to a thief), let it ring, or wipe it.
The ultimate in stealthy apps, Cerberus allows Android users to hide the app from the app drawer, should sneaky criminals want to disable it. Cerberus has the standard offering of sounding alarms, displaying messages, and locking or resetting your phone, but also has access to the front facing camera, so you can snap a picture of the face of someone with long fingers.
Lookout is a little more lightweight than the apps we have already discussed, although it still offers the option to plot your lost or stolen device on a map, or sounding an alarm. Remote phone locking or wiping is only available when you sign up for a premium subscription, though. The fact that the app backs up your contacts and has a “signal flare”, which automatically saves your location when the battery runs low, makes up for this. It is available for Android and iPhone.
5. Prey Anti Theft
Also available for iPhone and Android, Prey Anti Theft allows you to track a lost or stolen phone via WiFi or GPS, trigger an alarm sound, display a custom message on your screen, remotely take pictures with the front or rear camera, and, additionally, detect a SIM card change on an Android device.
The sad fact is that most people only realise the benefits of tracking apps for their phones when they need it. Don’t be caught unaware – protect your device before it’s too late.