5 Tools for Finding Missing Mobile Devices

Most of us would feel lost without our mobile devices. In fact, a recent study in Mail Online showed that users check their smartphones an average of 150 times a day! So if you are among the 56% of Americans that lose their cell phones each month, rest assured that a plethora of tools and apps are available to assist you in finding your lost, misplaced, or stolen devices.

The original and best known tool is Apple’s FindMyiPhone service, which allows you to locate your missing iPhone or iPad using another iOS device or any computer with a modern browser through iCloud.com. The app includes a “lost” mode that locks your missing device with a pass code that will display a contact phone number right on the lock screen.  Once in lost mode, it keeps track of where your device has been and can email you when your device has been located and display the location data on the Find My iPhone service. It can also play a sound to help you find your device in your home, even if the device is in silent mode. And, should your device be stolen, you can remotely wipe all of the data from the device. (In Apple’s forthcoming iOS 7, FindMyiPhone will even prevent thieves from re-activating a stolen iOS device on any mobile network.) Apple laptop users have similar protection through the “Find My Mac” feature.

Android Device Manager lets you locate your lost device in two ways via its website: if in close proximity by making the phone ring, even if the ringer is on silent or, if you have no idea where it is, using Google’s location service to find its location on a map.

Mobiwee also lets you locate your device via a web browser and it works on Apple and Android devices. The service is free but requires account set-up.

Phone on Map utilizes an app to locate your lost device but only offers finding it by pinpointing it on a map. A free account set-up is required via the website.

Lookout is a free app available for Android, Apple, and Kindle and goes beyond simply locating a lost or misplaced device. Its signal flare feature records the last known location of your phone before the battery died. The lock cam feature notes the location and snaps a picture of the last person who unsuccessfully tried your device pass code 3 times and then emails you the information. Lastly, you can even remotely lock your device and wipe all data from your phone if it is permanently lost.

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About Cheryl Niemeier

Cheryl Niemeier is Director of Knowledge & Research Services at Bose McKinney & Evans LLP. Ms. Niemeier received her Master of Science in Library Science from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1986 and her Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana in 1981. Ms. Niemeier has held multiple professional leadership positions in local, regional and national library associations. She frequently speaks at professional association conferences and continuing legal education seminars. Ms. Niemeier has authored multiple articles and seminar publications.
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