There are lots of ways to keep tabs on your smartphone. Google recently launched a new feature to help find a lost android phone just by typing ‘find my phone’ into google search. You’ll need to be using a browser logged in to the google account that your phone is linked to then it works even if you haven’t activated a tracking app on your handset. As well as showing the phone’s location on a map you can ask it to ring at full volume to help you find it if it’s slipped down the back of the sofa… Now, this is actually nothing new, Google just made it easier to use, even if you haven’t activated it. If you go to the device manager page on the google website you can also lock and erase your phone’s data in case it’s fallen into thieving hands.
Apple devices can be tracked by logging into iCloud, where you can find all the devices linked to your account. Be warned though, unlike the Google tracker, this will only work if you’ve logged into iCloud on your device ahead of losing it. Activating ‘Lost mode’ will lock the device and you can ring it and erase all data as with android. There’s also a handy battery indicator so you know how long you have to track it before it dies.
Exactly the same service exists for Windows Phone, and again make sure you’ve logged in to it on your handset or it won’t work.
All these methods require your phone to be turned on and connected to the internet, so if you’re out and about and the battery has gone flat you’re pretty much stuffed. Lookout app solves this on android devices only with signal flare, which pinpoints your phone’s last known location. If you’re paranoid about theft you can activate the premium feature that snaps a photo of anyone tampering with your phone in a suspicious way. It will then email you that photo and the phone’s location so you can pass the details on to the police.