Thanks to the technological progress, everyday our smartphones are becoming more functional and stylish, thinner and lighter. And, needless to say, especially newly-released flagship models are also rather expensive. So who wants to stay without his/her precious device that now can be used almost for everything, by losing it or, what is much worse, if somebody steals it? Unfortunately, nowadays it happens quite often, but there are some applications that will increase your chances to find your phone or, at least, to protect your content from viewing by villains. I will dwell on those for Android phones, however, there are plenty of analogs for iOS and Windows OS.
The main idea of all these apps is monitoring the device location (they all require GPS enabled for this purpose). In case something bad happens, you will be able to log in onto the app web page with the same account and check where your phone is now. Depending on the application you chose, it is also possible to make a call, take a picture of the surroundings, block the screen or erase all the data from the SD card. Surely, you should not fully rely on these apps: professional thieves are rather quick-witted people. One of the first things they can do is check whether such kind of application is installed and, if yes, remove it as soon as possible; in this case my advice is, at least, to hide the app icon from the main menu (all the devices allow it).
Android Device Manager
This one seems to be the most trustworthy because it is an official Google application. After registering with your Google account, you will be immediately shown that you are holding a phone in your hand and your location on the map will be also displayed. There are just two buttons, 'Ring' and 'Setup Lock & Erase'. The first point that made me confused after pressing the first button is that I do not understand quite well why my phone should ring in five minutes. However, after checking the Help page, it becomes clear: if I had two or more Android devices, then this feature could be applied to any of them to force them ring loudly. It can be useful, for example, if you cannot find your phone with silent mode turned on. What else you can do with Device Manager is to remotely lock or erase your device from the official Android page using the same Google account. Moreover, it is also possible to set a number that can be dialed from the lock screen of the lost device, so that the person who finds it will be able to call you and bring it back. If he or she is enough honest, of course.
The second app is in beta testing now and, for some reason, creates a 'Personal notes' shortcut in the menu (or maybe it is made in order to confuse the theft?) The first striking feature is that it cannot be uninstalled using traditional methods (I usually just drag the icon and the 'Uninstall' option appears). So the owner of the phone should scroll through the settings and find where to do it; thus, insidious thieves will spend more time trying to get rid of this nasty application. The list of its main features is impressive: on the app page, you can access the list of incoming and outgoing calls, take pictures with the front facing camera, browse the content on the phone directly from the web page, etc., not to mention the basic functions, such as that of Android Device Manager. Sounds cool, but there is one thing that discomforts me: the interface of the official page doesn't inspire confidence and its text sometimes contains elementary misprints. That's why it's up to you to decide whether to trust the absolute control of your phone to such developers.
Phone Locator - MobiUcare
This is another app designed not to be easily uninstalled in case the phone is stolen. The range of features is also wide, but the home page looks a bit more harmonious. There you can find a comparison with other three applications of this kind (WaveSecure, Lookout) and, naturally, the developers come to a conclusion that their app is the best. However, I can't find any outstanding advantages; Android Lost obviously has a poorer interface, but doesn't yield to MobiUcare in the respect of functionality. And now the bad news: you can access all MobiUcare features for $1.99 per year. The free version allows only sending notifications to lock the device and locating the phone using GPS. Of course, the price is negligibly cheap, but still, why should we pay if there are good free alternatives?
Mobile Security & Antivirus
Last but not least, there is an application by Avast that not only allows controlling the phone remotely, but also keeps it safe from viruses and malware. I won't get off the point and will only say that it is able to scan all your apps and storage, back up your files (this extention needs additional installation), and has handy tools like firewall or a network meter. Referring to the anti-theft protection, you can locate your phone, activate a siren (which is really hard not to hear) and get a notification of a SIM card change. You can activate extra options (for about $20 per year) like remote SMS and data recovery, or, for example, automatically take pictures of the thief when he/she tries to unlock the device. Notice, that you will also need to create a pin that is required to uninstall the anti-theft software after you don't need it anymore.
Picture credits: irishmirror.ie