Phone theft was all the rage in the perp community a few years ago, but thanks to the meteoric improvements in anti-theft security on smartphones, business has been waning for these no-gooders in recent years. Android has plenty of options to make sure that your data is secure should your phone go missing and that it becomes essentially worthless to whomever may have stolen it. (With features like remote camera control, it may even help catch criminals!).
Here are our top picks for anti-theft apps and phone finders on Android.
1. Where’s My Droid
One of the longer-standing anti-theft apps on the market, Where’s My Droid has a robust feature set that seems to grow year-on-year. As well as the usual phone-finding functions like GPS tracking and phone-calling, it has plenty of other perks. You can easily find your phone using the free online service that will call your number and keep it completely confidential.
You can get it to send a GPS Flare when it’s low on battery, for example, as well as set up an “Attention Word” which you can text to your lost phone from another phone to immediately get information about its location. Pay for the Pro version, and you get a whole bunch of remote-wiping functionality and can take pictures remotely (giving the thief a selfie that you can then hand on to police), while the Elite version has its own extra features like Geofencing and Auto Theft Detection based on parameters you set.
2. Find My Device
Find My Device is Google’s in-house solution to tracking your lost phone and making sure no one can ever get into it if you’ve lost it forever. It’s completely free to use and covers the basics, including the ability to locate your lost phone on a map, lock it remotely, have it ring loudly to attract attention, or wipe it as a last ditch effort to keep your data private. It’s tied to your Google account and is capable of balancing multiple devices just fine. To use it when you don’t have your phone, just type ‘find my phone’ into Google when you’re signed in, and it will give you all the options you need.
Cerberus is perhaps the most feature-rich option on this list. With it installed on a lost device, you can pull up a list of calls sent or received. Users can hide the app’s icon so that the crook doesn’t realize you have it installed, and you can even turn on the microphone in hopes of hearing them speak. This app is free for a week; after that it requires a one-time fee of $2.99. Still, for the amount of functionality you get, this just may be the best bang for your buck. Yet, with great power comes great responsibility, and the app may not hold your hand quite like some others presented here.
Lookout is exclusively available for mobile devices, and it’s only gotten better over the years. A recent update to the app has introduced the ability to receive an email whenever your phone is turned off, the SIM card is changed, and other actions a thief may make after stealing your phone. Lookout will even attempt to take a picture of the perpetrator. Some of these features are free, but most require a premium subscription.
Prey is one of the few options that doesn’t cost money to use. The service is available for PCs, too, so it may be the way to go if you want a single solution across multiple devices and machines. Prey can activate a loud alarm, display a custom message on your phone’s screen, and try to prevent itself from being uninstalled. These features come along with the basic abilities to locate, lock, and wipe devices.
These anti-theft Android apps can be just what you need if the worst were to happen, and the act of installing them takes so little effort. If you have any other apps you would prefer others check out, share them with us below.