If only smartphones weren’t so easy to lose. But they are, and it’s a growing problem. Around $2.5 billion worth of these devices are lost or stolen each year, and it’s not just the financial cost but also the increasingly vital data that we store on them that’s the real worry.
There’s no shortage of products out there which are designed to make it easy to protect and retrieve lost and stolen smartphones, but they mostly cover only a portion of the needs, and also most of them charge fees for the more valuable features.
Step up AndroidLost.com. This app and online service hybrid provides a powerful, and we mean powerful, set of tools you can use to take complete control of your phone should the unthinkable happen. It’s not a fancy service by any means, in fact Spartan is the word that first comes to mind, but you’ll soon forgive that when you see exactly what you can do with the control panel.
The first thing you need to do is sign up and install the app on your Android phone. Once that’s done you should activate admin rights so you can do all the cool things remotely. Now you’re ready to rock. Here’s a short list of the kind of things you can do with this superb system.
1. Locate. You can remotely trigger an alarm or sound an alarm message (e.g. ‘help me I am lost’) using the text to speech function, which will sound out loud and clear even if you have the phone switched to silent mode. You can also trigger a GPS or network signal location, which will be delivered in the form of a map.
2. Control via SMS. Even if no WiFi or 3G phone signal is available, you can still control the handset via SMS, with which you can sound the alarm, GPS locate, lock the phone, erase the SD card and completely wipe the phone. You’re in total command.
There’s more you can do on top of this, but this gives you an idea of just how powerful this tool is. The system also keeps a running log of all actions so you can keep track of everything that’s happening or happened on the system over 7 days.
3. Forward calls. Left your phone at home by mistake? Log on to the AndroidLost website dashboard and use the Mobile – Dial Phone command to forward all phone calls from your mobile to your present location. You can also check and respond to SMS messages on your phone remotely from the same web browser dashboard.
4. Phone stolen? As well as being able to erase and lock, you can also send a ‘Message Picture’ to your phone which will pop up a message on the screen. When the thief clicks OK to dismiss it (make it something benign like ‘Low on Memory’ or something) the phone will take a snap of his face with the front camera. Combine that with the GPS and network tracking and you’re half way to retrieving your handset in double quick time.
There’s more, but it’s probably best you take a look at this video to get a quick idea.
If you’re using your phone for any serious work or rely on it for more than just the occasional happy snap or satnav function, then this free app is definitely something you need to investigate. The power of the software comes from the use of Google account information, and according to the developer, it’s all very securely ring fenced to ensure nobody can access your details. By installing this app you could very well retrieve your phone or if not, at least ensure that the data is vaporized instantly, and what price that kind of peace of mind, eh?