Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Where is your phone just now?

A couple of recent incidents have raised mobile security or being able to easily locate your phone to the forefront for me.

One of the girls who works in our office lost her phone at the weekend. She was walking back from an evenings entertainment and dropped it on route. It being a white phone which was lost, on a snowy night, in the dark didn't give her much chance of finding it. Luckily a trip out the next day to retrace her route did the trick and she managed to find it before someone else did.

Something that would have helped in this situation would be a mobile security/finder app. These apps let you locate your phone on a website using the phones GPS or mobile signal. Handy if your trying to narrow down a search area or check if its even near where you think it might be.

I use an app called Android Lost. It has a range of features including phone location tools, enable ringer if phone was on silent. You can even use it to make the phone speak "I'm over here" or have the camera take a photo so you can see what's nearby.

Of course there is a more serious side to these type of apps. They can be used to lock or even reset your handset and delete personal data. Alert you if the SIM has changed and tell you the new number. You can even send a fake warning message to the phone which will then send you back a photo of the person reading the alert.

I started using this as a result of a colleague having his phone stolen. He had managed to track it with the police using his Google latitude account but alas the handset wasn't recovered. This caused us to look at a few of these apps before settling on one that seemed had the best mix of features at that point.

Some manufactures have their own apps which provide some of these functions. HTC Sense has a find my phone tool a few years ago. Apple have a locate my device function. As I said however most of these tools will do some basic functions, whereas a dedicated app offers a lot more, and may be less obvious if your phone is stolen, so have less chance of being turned off if it ends up in the wrong hands.

Everyone knows the saying about "shutting the door after the horse has bolted", but this is one instance where "better late than never" can also apply. One great feature of Google's Play Store and iTunes is the ability to push apps to your device. So if you do loose your phone you can push one of these apps on to it and hopefully still track it down.

That said however it is worth installing one of these apps now. Not only for the piece of mind it gives you but also because you may have to do some configuration once its installed to ensure you can use all the features and obviously you couldn't do this if you can't get your hands on your phone.

So do you know where your phone is right now? If you do, pick it up head to its app store and get one of these apps installed and hopefully then you will always be able to find it.


A burglar was recently captured after stealing a couples car and phone using their Find my iPhone App. See T3 for more details.