Tech Tip of the Week: Finding a Stolen Phone, Tablet, or Computer
Have you set up your Apple or Android device with a locator app, so that if it’s stolen you can track it down, disable it, or erase it? Get it set up now.
If you lose your phone, tablet, or computer there are some features that are really handy to have:
- Find out exactly what address it’s at, in case you’re not sure if you lost it at the coffee shop or the pub–or if it’s been stolen and is someplace completely different.
- Lock it or erase it if it’s been stolen.
- Play a loud sound, even if the sound is turned off, so you can find it even if it’s slipped under your car seat or down to the bottom of your bottomless bag.
There’s an app for that, no matter whether it’s Apple or Android.
Apple’s Find iPhone and iCloud Find
iPad’s and iPhone’s come with an app called “Find iPhone”, and there’s a web interface for Mac computers running OS X 10.7 or 10.8. To set this up you have to have certain features enabled:
- You have to associate an iCloud account with each device. It’s easiest if you use the same iCould account for each device, since that gives you one central place to find any device.
- You have to have Location Services turned on.
For more information go to http://www.apple.com/icloud/ .
Where’s my Droid
There are a few apps out there for Android devices, and we particularly like Where’s My Droid because:
- The free version does a great job of locating your phone .
- There’s the option to remotely install a “lite” version remotely–which means if you neglected to install it before your phone was lost or stolen, you may still be able to do it after your phone goes missing.
- The paid version ($3.99) has the ability to wipe your phone remotely to protect your data, and it can also activate your camera to take a picture, potentially showing you the person who stole your phone.
We found that the locator feature worked most consistently if you manually turn on your GPS and wireless network location in the Settings/Security & Location screen.
For more information go to http://wheresmydroid.com .
Set it Up & Test Before You Need It
Before you actually need to use the service, get it set up on your phone, and test it–there are location services that have to be turned on it may take a little tweaking to get it to work just right. Of course, don’t ever test the device wipe unless you’re prepared to lose all of your data!