There are a number of anti-theft apps for the iPhone. Some of them – like iGotYa from Cydia – are quite smart but you'll need a jailbroken iPhone for that. Some others, from the App Store, are smart enough but they're costly. We've been reviewing our security policies here and find that other than Find My iPhone, there's nothing much we've got on board that can protect our iPhones better.
An anti-theft app is designed to help you track your iPhone when it gets misplaced or lost. In essence, Find My iPhone does the job just fine but a recent article about a woman with a misplaced/stolen iPhone taking a picture of herself (and sending it to the owner) made the headlines: and that shows that apps can be far more feature-rich and powerful than Apple's legendary Find my iPhone.
So a little digging led us to Prey – a powerful, open-source (and free) software that allows you to track your iPhone better. The software lets you track PCs, laptops, iPhones, Android smartphones and more but we tested it out on our iPhone and were kind of impressed with the results.
- Seamless and wonderful interface
- Simple and easy setup procedure
- A clear task-oriented approach towards securing your iPhone
- Reports generated in pre-defined intervals
- Easy to use
- A good set of features for tracking location, sending alerts and sounding the alarm
- No feature to lock the iPhone out
- Limitations in the free version
How Prey Works to Secure Your Stolen iPhone:
Step 1: Download the Prey client to your desktop/laptop (optionally, you can download the iPhone app too)
Step 2: Create a new account from within the software; enable custom installation and you will have your account set up.
Step 3: Head over to your email to verify your account. You can get started only after this step is complete.
Step 4: Login to your account on the web interface of Prey.
Step 5: Download the iPhone app and install it on your smartphone.
Step 6: Tap ‘Already a Prey user' and enter your account details
Step 7: Once done, head back to the web interface and use the settings to configure your device.
Step 8: When your device goes missing or is misplaced, just toggle the switch to MISSING and setup the alerts, alarms and other settings you find beneath it.
Step 9: Alert messages will be automatically flashed on the iPhone and hopefully, whoever is using the iPhone will contact you/return it to you.
Although Prey doesn't provide instant alerts and tracking reports, it does report on the location and status of your iPhone at regular intervals. You can set the time of this interval in the control panel. Reports help you find out the last known location of your iPhone, or the photo of who's using the device and other information.