Losing or having your phone stolen is one of the most common fears we have for our smartphones, but do you know what to do if the worst happens?
With over a million mobile phones being stolen each year in the UK, more technology is being developed to help track your stolen tech and we're here to look into what apps are available to track your smartphones if they are lost or stolen. .
AnApple based app cleverly entitled, Find My iPhone, which aims to do exactly what is says on the tin.
The app is free to download from Apple, and uses GPS in order to track down the exact location of your iPhone.
You simply log into your iCloud account, or use the Find My iPhone app on another Apple device, and the location of your phone will appear on a street map.
Further to this, the iOS operating system used in the iPhone is installed with a Lost Mode option, which allows you to immediately lock your iPhone with a password, and sends a message to the phone displaying your contact details for either the thief or good-doer who has found the handset to call you on.
The Lost Mode on your iPhone even carries on tracking the whereabouts of your device even after you have locked it, meaning that if the subtle plea to the thief to call you, you can always track them down to an exact location.
Furthermore, apple has kept updating the Find My iPhone app, allowing you to select a car icon on the map displaying your phone’s location in order to receive driving instructions on how to get there.
The Locate My Droid app provides a service for those of you with Android operated phones, and works much the same as Apple’s Find My iPhone app.
If your phone is lost or stolen, Locate My Droid allows you to log into your account (using your Google account) from any other Android device in order to track your phone using GPS.
The app then returns an up-to-date street map to you, displaying the exact location of your handset.
Because the tracking feature doesn’t run until you activate it, the battery levels of your mobile phone are not affected, meaning that your phone won’t turn itself off because of your efforts to track it down!
Like the iOS version of Find My iPhone, Locate My Droid also allows you to lock your handset remotely, stopping a thief from accessing your private details, or from using the phone for their own devices.
The iGotYa app is another app to track your stolen tech, but one that goes that step further than Find My iPhone.
iGotYa doesn’t just use GPS to track the location of your stolen phone, but it also takes a photograph of the culprit when the wrong passcode is inserted when trying to unlock the device.
The app is made by Cyndia, and has been responsible for many owners being able to track down their stolen devices.
In fact, stories criminals who inadvertently took photographs of themselves while trying to unlock phones have been rife since the app has been made available. Photographs are automatically emailed to the owner, who are then able to contact the police with the evidence.
After the passcode to unlock the device has been wrongly entered, similarly to the iPhone’s Find My iPhone app, a message appears on the home screen asking for the thief to return the phone to its owner.
Also, while taking a photograph of the thief does not necessarily guarantee your phone being returned to you, it has helped to name and shame many culprits whose photographs have been released on websites and in newspapers as a result.
GadgetTrakis available on all smartphones and also offers security cover for all of your tech, including laptops and tablets, and was awarded the Mobile Star Awards’ ‘Best Security App’.
The app, which costs around £2.50, tracks the stolen device using a combination of GPS and Wi-Fi positioning, making its predicted location even more exact.
The user has the option of remotely wiping all of the personal details from the phone, stopping a thief from accessing important information from the stolen phone, such as contact details, bank account numbers or passwords, the type of things many mobile phone insurance do not cover.
Yet another feature which makes this app stand out from the other, free, apps available is that GadgetTrak can alert you when it detects that a new phone number has been assigned to the phone.
By passing on the handset’s new phone number, you can continue to track your stolen device even after the new owner has changed the SIM.
If GadgetTrak is downloaded to an Apple device, a camera support feature will be activated, which takes a photograph of the culprit, increasing your ability to name and shame any thieves into giving themselves in.
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