Google’s new locator feature for Android devices called Android Device Manager, helps owners find their lost or stolen phones and tablets. It was supposed to roll out later this month, but Google has announced its immediate availability, reports C/Net.
Android Device Manager lets you quickly ring your phone so you can find it, even if it’s been silenced. And if your phone or tablet is out of earshot, you can locate it on a map in real time.
This service is now available for free on devices running Android 2.2 or above; to use it, you also will need to be signed into your Google Account. There will also be an Android app to allow you to easily find and manage your devices.
The feature works similarly to other locator services, like Lookout and Samsung’s Find My Mobile, but now you get the feature natively on your Android device. Microsoft’s My Windows Phone service also offers a free “Find my Phone” service for phones running the Windows Phone OS.
Apple’s Find My iPhone app will let you use another iOS device to find your missing iPhone and protect your data. Install the free app on another iOS device, open it, and sign in with your Apple ID. It will help you locate your missing device on a map, play a sound, display a message, remotely lock your device, or erase all the data on it.
The cellphone market is hugely lucrative, reports the NY Times, with the sale of handsets bringing in $69 billion in the United States last year, according to research firm IDC. Yet, thefts of smartphones keep increasing, and victims keep replacing them.
In San Francisco last year, nearly half of all robberies involved a cellphone, up from 36 percent the year before; in Washington, cellphones were taken in 42 percent of robberies, a record. In New York, theft of iPhones and iPads last year accounted for 14 percent of all crimes.
Most of us agree to the terms of service and allow companies like Apple and Google as well as our mobile providers to track our locations, notes Buzz Feed. What’s less known, though, is what this data actually looks like.
For iOS 7 (expected to be released to the public in September), that information will become much more accessible. Using iOS 7 Beta 5, one user noticed that anyone with enabled “location services” can easily access their “frequent locations,” in iOS 7’s privacy settings. The result is a mapped history of the places you’ve been since installing the operating system.
A woman whose smartphone was stolen has kept a blog of images made by the thief on her Tumblr account, ‘Life of a Stranger who Stole my Phone‘.