Lost and found - 5 alternatives to Apple's Find My iPhone service

   
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Apple users are probably well familiar with the Find My iPhone service. It is designed to help you locate and protect your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch if they get lost and stolen (which still happens at an alarming rate). To accomplish this endeavour, FMI has a device locator (finds the item on a map), plays a sound on your device to help you find it, uses Lost Mode to lock and track devices, and lets you remotely erase all your personal information from the device.

As an app/service combo that comes stock with iOS, Find My iPhone goes reaches pretty far and wide, but if you are looking for an alternative (and there's an alternative to everything and anything these days), we have lined up five quality, free applications that you can consider. In addition to covering Find My iPhone's basic functionality, they extend it with special tricks of their own, such as reports, location sharing, photo taking, and back-up facilities. Do check them out, you might find something that's right up your alley!

1.Lookout

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Lookout is a solid alternative that's able to:

- Locate your lost iPhone or iPad from any Internet-connected device

- Automatically save your device's location before it's ran out of battery

- Automatically back up your contacts

- Notify you about an out-of-date or insecure version of iOS In addition to the native iOS app,

Lookout lets you log into a web service from any computer, tablet or phone and:

- Locate your lost or missing iOS device on a map -

Sound a loud alarm to find your lost device if you believe it’s nearby (works even if it's left on silent!)

- Show a personalized ‘lost’ message on your device screen, complete with contact details

- Access your backed-up contacts

- Call your missing device over the web from any web browser (only available if you don't have a pass-code on your device).

- Download your contacts to transfer to a new device

2. Prey

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Prey lets you control your iPhone and iPad remotely. Once you log in, it can do the following:

- Find your iPhone or iPad on a map through geolocation via GPS and WiFi triangulation

- Take photos using the built-in front and back camera

- Trigger a loud alarm remotely (even if your phone is put on silent)

- Display a personalized alert message on the screen

- Gather information about the network that your device is connected to For even more control and phone security

, you can upgrade to a Prey Pro account. This will unlock:

- On-demand reports for full real-time control

- SSL encryption for all information transmitted

- Active mode, to let you see when your devices have last checked in

- Store up to 100 reports per device

- Email support to help you with problems

3. Soluto

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Soluto aims to be an "it just works" solution for phone and tablet discovery. It provides support and protection for your devices from any Internet-connected spot. Now, the app does have a locating facility that lets you find and secure a lost phone, as well as remotely lock it to keep your important information secure. But that's not all there's to it. You can also get support for connectivity issues and email set-up, back up your data on 250MB of free space, and improve device performance with tips for optimizing storage and battery life. Soluto is pretty darn complete, overall!

4. Device Locator

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You can probably tell by the name that this app is a dedicated phone finder. Every time your phone changes cell towers, this app will turn on the GPS for 15 seconds and record the best location that your phone can determine at the moment. This location will be made available online and can be viewed by logging in your account from any computer or phone with an internet browser. The functionality might seem basic, but we're merely travelling the surface here! With no monthly or yearly feels, it's able to track an unlimited number of devices for you. It can also sound an alarm on your device from any computer, or send a message with sound to the device. You can also take a photo of the current user and request location updates with a push message. Location can be recorded from every cell phone tower switch, sent to you even when the application isn't running in the background, or forwarded to a location service of your choice. You can keep track of your device's battery life, complete with a graph. And then there's also the ability to make and receive VOIP calls between devices and from the Device Locator website.

5. GPS Location Tracker

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GPS Location Tracker by developer FollowMee tracks the location of an iOS device by silently recording its locations (GPS, WiFi, or Cellular) periodically and uploading the data to a secure server. To monitor the location of your tracked device, you simply open the app's web site on your computer or mobile device.

Among the app's feature set, you'll find the aforementioned location monitor (there are no subscription fees), the ability to track multiple devices on one account, real-time location data updates, sharing of your device's "tracks" through URLs or downloadable KML files. You can even embed the tracks in your own web site or Facebook. Reports generated by the app can be downloaded in HTML or Excel formats, complete with mileage calculation. There's also a "panic button" that instantly emails your current location and calls a designated phone number through the cellular network (for iPhones) or VOIP (for iPad and iPod Touch users)

Once the app starts, it runs quietly in the background, without the need for interaction. It continues to run even after the tracked phone reboots. It will restart itself if terminated by a user, and only stops when a specific 'stop' button is pressed. That could be made hard to happen, as the application screen can be locked by password.

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