I learned the hard way: do this now and save some time
Here’s a quick and practical post as I get back into gear after vacation. Maybe I am the last person in the modern world to have learned this, but my intent is to help someone out there save some time in the event of a stolen or lost smartphone. Is everyone on your team prepared?
Before your iPhone/iPod is gone: use “find my iThing” by activating iCloud. From the research I’ve done, this feature is not turned on by default. Maybe I’m wrong, but if anyone from Apple is reading this, please figure out which lawyers made this decision and take them behind the woodshed. To see if your device is on the iCloud, go to http://www.icloud.com
After your iPhone/iPod is gone: not much to do, according to Apple. From iCloud, you can lock and wipe your device remotely. Deactivate the device with your service provider, give the serial number to the police, and replace the anger in your heart with forgiveness for the desperate person who needs that piece of plastic more than you.
Before your Droid is gone: install Where’s My Droid. This app lets you use text messages to make your phone “scream” even when the volume is muted, additionally it will send you back the current GPS coordinates of the device. There is also a way to use Google Latitude to share your location with other Google users, which means you could track your phone from a friend’s account. Of course, both of these solutions require keeping your GPS switched on!
After your Droid is gone: push the app Plan B to your phone. This will send you an email of the phone’s location using GPS and cell signals. McAfee also offers a remote wipe with WaveSecure. See above for the same additional steps of deactivating, reporting, and forgiving.
Any other gear: Stuffbak is a registration service that makes it easy for the nice person that finds your stuff to get in touch with you. You can stick a label to anything, electronic or not (if you check behind my kids’ ears…)