The smartphone makers could easily double their sales figures if they could only get their phones into the hands of 10- and 12-year-olds. The tween market could be massive. It’s not that young children are impervious to the charms of smartphones. It’s just that their parents are wary, often, of how difficult it could be for a young child to take good care of these small, expensive devices. Thankfully, for the smartphone makers, things seem to be improving here. It isn’t as difficult to find a lost phone these days as it used to be. Not if you have a phone locating app loaded on your phone.
How does this work?
A look at Prey, one of the more popular apps that you could get to help you find a lost phone, could be pretty representative. This app works on more than just cellphones. It works on laptops, too. The idea, basically, is that you install the app and it stays there, quite invisible, waiting for the time that the phone is reported missing (whether due to theft or a simple misplacing).
Whatever the reason may be that your phone went missing, you can report your loss to Prey. Right away, they try to get in touch with your phone. Your phone will respond in whatever way it can – through Wi-Fi or a regular data connection. It can send all kinds of location reports from its GPS.
You can get your phone to respond in a number of different ways depending on what you feel has happened. You can get it to sound an alarm or just display a message that it’s lost. You can also control it in stealth mode and get it to send back pictures from its camera.
Of course, much of this can be difficult to do when it’s a laptop that you’ve installed your Prey app on (considering that laptops don’t have GPS). But you can get a laptop to respond over WiFi to pretty much do everything the phone app is capable of.
Prey installs on Android, iOS and BlackBerry. The service comes in a free version and a paid version (that costs $5 a month). With the paid version you get quicker access to the control of your phone, should you lose it.
Actually, you don’t need to install an app
Most smartphone operating systems come with their own built-in methods to help you find a lost phone. For instance, if it’s an iPhone that you have, iOS allows you to turn its Find My Phone function on under Location Services in Settings. Should you misplace your phone, you could go to iCloud and take a look. You can learn about your phone’s location once there and do a few things to control your phone as well. Windows Phones have a similar Find My Phone option, too.
Android phones have something called Google Latitude under Google Maps. You need to first enable Location Sharing and then turn on Report this Device. You should right away be able to see where your phone is. If you need more robust phone tracking abilities, you’ll need to install a free app called Lookout Security and Antivirus.
Certainly, these don’t actually guarantee that you’ll find a lost phone. These do go some way towards helping with such a situation though.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Laura wished she had known about Prey before her iPhone was stolen. Unfortunately she ended up having to buy a new phone and sorting out a PAC code to regain access to her phonebook.