Sometimes disaster happens before we’ve prepared ourselves for it. iPhones can fall out of a pocket, slip through a hole in a backpack or purse, or be left on the counter at a store. The next time you go to make a call or text, you realize it’s missing and have no idea where you left it. Before you end up in that position, it’s a good idea to prepare for such an event.
There are many apps out there that are made just for that very situation, tracking a lost iPhone. Ironically, the one app made by Apple seems to do the least bit of good. Find my iPhone will find your phone, but you have to have the right situation. If you have an iPhone 4, iPad, or 4th generation iPod Touch, the app and service is free. If you have a different device, it’s only free through a paid MobileMe account. Additionally, the only way to track it is if you are looking for it on another iOS device, so unless you have an extra iPhone, an iPod Touch, or an iPad, you’re out of luck.
There’s one more free iPhone locator out there, and this one seems to do nearly everything you would want it to. Followmee GPS Tracker works through a website instead of a second device. This way you can log on through either another device or a computer to help locate your iPhone. It’s much more practical. Additionally, it works with older iPhones as well, yet to have it running in the background, it has to be a phone that runs multi-tasking.
After downloading the app, you will need to sign up for a free account with Followmee.com. Opening up the app asks you to either sign in or register for a free account. To create an account, it takes you to followmee.com on Safari where you only need to give a user name, password, and email. Once you’ve registered, the app is now running on your phone.
Now that you have an account with Followmee.com, you can sign in anywhere, from any browser on any computer or any device. If you click on the map, it will show you where your phone was located the last time it checked in. Yet you can also have it follow the phone’s path from the last hour, five hours, ten hours, or twenty-four hours. It will also show you the phone’s path on a specific date. You can see exactly everywhere your phone went. It can check in at different intervals or check every single move. The more often it checks in, though, the more of a memory hog it is. It should also be noted that when I used it, it did track me everywhere I went, but one of the locations was off by a few blocks. Yet when I had it due my present location, it was dead on.
The parents in the crowd are already realizing this would be a great way to track your kids. If you put this app on their iPhones and register for the account, you can track them everywhere they go. It doesn’t have to be as sinister as it sounds. You might need to find them one night, and if they aren’t checking in with you, it’s okay, as they are checking in with FollowMee, or at least their phones are.
There are several other apps out there as well that cost from $2.99 to $4.99, and another out there is a free app, but charges you a monthly service fee. Pleasefindmyphone works much the same way as FollowMee, but costs $4.99, so there doesn’t seem to be much of a point in spending that $4.99.
Fonehome also works much the same way as FollowMee, but has extra security functions. You can send a push message to your phone to alert whoever has it that it’s stolen. You can also have it activate a siren or take a picture of of the thief if it’s an iPhone 4. It costs $2.99. Device Locator does the same, but also allows you to lock the application from a website, meaning the thief can’t turn it off. This one runs for $4.99. Find My Phone can either send you the location of your phone by email or phone call. It also costs $4.99.
One particularly fun app is LocateMyPhone. Not only does it track your phone, but you can also trigger it to send messages using the GPS. It can send you your grocery list any time you enter a grocery store, or if you’re a parent, it can send you a message when your child reaches their destination, such as a friend’s party or school. It can also send you a message when a child leaves a certain designated area. This one has a lot of added benefits. While it’s a free app, it has a service fee after a thirty-day free trial, yet is only $0.99 a month.
Which iPhone locating app is the right one for you depends on your individual needs. If you’re only worried about losing your phone, FollowMee is your best bet being that it’s free. If you’re worried about it being stolen, one of the paid apps might be the better way to go. But if you’re a worried parent, the service fee of LocateMyPhone will be worth it, as you just can’t put a price on safety.