How Do I Find My Lost Phone?

Anyone who has pulled the cushions off the couch or reached under the car seats hunting for a lost phone knows how frustrating it is to try to find the thing. Calling your phone can sometimes reveal its whereabouts, but if the ringer is off, the volume is too low, or the battery is dead, it can be difficult to track down. And what if you lost the phone outside of your home, or worse, it was stolen? Developers have created applications for both iPhones and Android phones that help provide security and peace of mind when a smartphone goes missing.

1. Open the application store on your iPhone or Android device and search for the mobile security and recovery applications that will help you retrieve it if lost. Some of the most popular applications include Apple's Find My iPhone, iHound, Where's My Droid, WaveSecure, and Mobile Defense.

2. Compare the prices and features of the applications to see which product best matches your needs. Find My iPhone is free to download but requires a paid subscription to Apple's MobileMe service. For $99 per year, MobileMe subscribers can manage their iPhones remotely and obtain an exact map of their lost phone's location. You can also remotely lock or wipe your iPhone's memory by entering a secure password either on your computer or another mobile device. Android's Where's My Droid relies on a user-configured text phrase to lock the phone or generate an alarm. Once the specific phrase is texted to the lost phone, the application activates the appropriate response. Make sure you also consider any potential limitations of these applications. The Where's My Droid app, for example, depends on your ability to text your lost phone. This can be difficult if you don't have immediate access to another mobile phone or SMS messaging service.

3. Purchase a mobile application and configure it on your iPhone or Android. Depending on the application you choose, you may need to configure the app on your phone and on your computer. Users of Android's WaveSecure application will need to create an account on the WaveSecure website and configure it with their mobile phone. If you've set unique passcodes that are essential for activating your lost phone features, make sure you write them down and keep them in a secure location.

4. Understand exactly how to use your smartphone's recovery application before it goes missing by test-driving the software. Put your phone on vibrate, bury it in your clothes hamper, and activate the application's override alarm. Testing the accuracy of the GPS feature will ensure that an exact location of your phone can be obtained if necessary.

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