Track and find stolen devices

Most of us carry a smartphone or laptop everywhere we go: the office, the coffee shop, the library. And more often than not, we don’t pay enough attention to our valuable gadgets – or we just leave them unattended for a moment. While keeping an eye on your belongings at all times is the best way to prevent anyone from stealing them, having an extra layer of security is not a bad idea either. There are apps to track stolen laptops and mobile phones with which you can find your missing gadgets, and also erase their content if necessary. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Track stolen laptops.

The most popular tracking app for stolen or misplaced computers is Prey. Prey is an open-source utility that uses WiFi spots and geolocation to find your laptop. All you need to use it is install the client on the computer and create a user account on the Prey website. If your computer disappears, log in to your Prey user account and mark it as “missing”. The program will start sending highly detailed reports with loads of information: active apps, network connections and desktop snapshots – you may even catch the burglar’s face with the laptop’s built-in camera!


For iPhone

Find My iPhone is the obvious choice when looking for an app that can help us find our stolen or misplaced iPhone. This service, which was available only as part of the me.com pack before, was released as a free iPhone app in June 2010. You can use it with your Apple ID or your me.com email address, if you have one. The good thing about Find My iPhone is that it also works with iPad and iPod Touch, as long as they run iOS 4.2 or higher and have the Find My iPhone feature enabled and properly configured.

For Android

An interesting Android app to track and find your lost smartphone is Wave Secure. Though not free, I had the opportunity to test it on my old HTC Magic and I can say it’s worth every penny. Wave Secure saves a backup of all your data on their online server, so that you can easily retrieve it in case your phone goes missing. And if someone steals it, Wave Secure lets you lock your phone (and therefore render it useless), wipe off all your data from it, locate its current position based on network connections and even send a message to whoever has robbed it.

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