written by: Daniel Kolobaric•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/31/2011
Android devices are gadgets that often cost quite a bit to purchase. It goes without saying that it would be highly unfortunate to lose your device. Find out what the best phone locator apps are and if they are indeed of any use in a case of loss or theft.
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Phone Locator Apps on Android
The Android Market is swamped with Android phone locator apps that all promise you a solution when losing your phone. All of these apps have their various ways of being useful, and most of the apps are free as well. Read on for an overview of the five best phone locator apps on Android.
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Where's My Droid
Where's my Droid is perhaps the best-known Android phone locator app in the Android Market. Many praise Where's My Droid for its range of options although they are not uncommon for this type of application. The application first started simple, with an option to text the phone a code word to make it ring. With the latest version the Where's My Droid app can be triggered through text and email, to either make it ring or to retrieve its coordinates. These are nifty options and pretty much all you need in an Android phone locator app, especially if you don't want to get involved with online accounts for your phone locating needs.
To make the app usable, code words for either a loud ring or GPS coordinates need to be configured. When this code word is texted the phone will either start ringing or send back GPS coordinates. The email concept works with the same principle, although only a certain number of carriers are supported. The Where's My Droid app is well thought out and relatively simple to use. It does what a phone locator app needs to do and is essential for those that do not want to find their phone through an online account as many other apps do.
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Lookout Mobile Security
The Lookout Mobile Security application is more than just an Android phone locator application. In this ‘suite’ a virus scanner, backup solution and phone locator service are bundled. All these features are free to use. Interesting in this context is obviously the phone locator functionality, which boasts the following features:
Phone location my map, through GPS or cell towers.
Siren activation to find a nearby located phone.
Setting and feature management through a secure website.
The siren and locator settings are to be activated through the web interface. The entire experience is well thought-out and the location report is accurate. As such, the application does exactly what it promises. Lookout Mobile Security is a good app for what it does, and essential for those that need a sense of security. With a virus scanner and backup tool as a ‘bonus’, you can’t really go wrong with this application.
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Prey Phone Tracker
In order for the Prey Phone Tracker to work, an account has to be created on preyproject.com. Once this is done, the prey account can be managed from the online control panel. The Android phone that is linked to the prey account sends a report every so often to the control panel to tell it of its whereabouts. In the application itself the main options are:
SMS activation message. This is a phrase that will wake up the Prey Phone Tracker application once sent to the phone.
SMS deactivation message. Does the opposite of the activation message.
Lock to current SIM. This will activate Prey once the SIM card is replaced.
SIM replaced alert. This option alerts the mobile of a new phone number.
As the application is active, it reports to the control panel its exact location. The concept of this application is promising, however, a few aspects are still too beta to really be useful. For instance, the map on which the location is shown is not always correct, and cannot be interacted with. When the app matures a bit it is sure to be a good contender.
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Android phones are expensive gadgets that need to be protected for theft. Surely, an extensive insurance will do the trick, but this will not get your personal data or precious photographs back. Luckily there is a solution for this, and it doesn't have to cost much; Android Phone Locator Apps. The Android market is flooded with apps that use the Android device's GPS module to locate the phone. Discover which five apps do the job and which ones go the extra mile to protect all that is dear to you on your Android phone.
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Kor.im Phone Locator
Kor.im Phone Locator combines the features of Where's My Droid with the account based locator apps, sort of. The application works with SMS commands, just like with Where's My Droid, but has an option to register an account to retrieve GPS coordinates on a map. The application's options are truly extensive, as the phone can even be located based on nearby Bluetooth devices. This is a unique feature, not seen in other apps.
However extensive it appears to be, the kor.im Phone Locator keeps things really simple. This is evident when the register button is pressed. Instead of extensive login options, the application will give the user a numeric username and password that can be used immediately to login online. Additionally, the app can be used to instantly send people an email or text with your current whereabouts. Seemingly simple, this application has a wide array of features up its sleeve that all work effectively enough to make it an excellent Android phone locator application.
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WaveSecure Mobile Security
Like Lookout Mobile Security, WaveSecure is a full suite, instead of just a single feature Android application. As such, registration is also needed in order to use the app. However, what is different is that the system works with a buddy list, which will be notified when a different SIM is added to the phone. This is a nifty feature, not seen in any of the other apps.
Naturally, WaveSecure can be controlled online through a web interface. Through the web, users are able to track the location of the phone, backup and restore the handset and remotely lock and wipe the device. As such the app is the most extensive of the bunch and it provides the most control. The app does everything as advertised and may just be the definitive security app for Android; unless, of course, you are not keen on registering for an app
The WaveSecure app is free to try for 7 days, after which it costs $19.90 per year to use.
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The Android mobile platform has a wide array of phone locator options, that all have their methods and features that make them worthwhile. Technically speaking, there is an application for all kinds of needs. However, it is pretty hard to get around WaveSecure in terms of a complete security package. As WaveSecure is also the only app that will expire and can only be used after an unlock key is bought, the other options discussed will do just fine, and generally live up to their promise. With any of the apps installed, a stolen or lost Android phone is not the end of the world anymore!