Why doesn’t Android have a built in “find lost phone” function? What are some alternatives?

June 12, 2013

Android Security

 You love your smartphone and the convenience it brings to your daily life, but having the latest and greatest comes at a cost: you are a potential target for phone theft. Luckily, there are plenty of mobile security solutions out there to help protect you and your data.

For iPhone owners, there are two measures of protection easily available from Apple. The first of these is the “Find my iPhone” app and service. This app/service allows you to put a lock on a lost/stolen phone, or even erase all data and settings to protect sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands.The second measure is the new Activation Lock coming to iOS 7 devices. This feature makes an iPhone unusable after a wipe, unless the original owner reactivates it with their Apple ID and password.

Enough about Apple though, this is Android Authority after all! So what does Google provide to help users find their phones? Unfortunately, there is no free “find my phone service”, though users who pay for Google Apps for Business, Education, or Government do have access to these types of features.

In other words, if you are just an ordinary user looking for a cheap or free solution, you are left fending for yourself. Luckily there are quite a few great security app choices already out there on Google Play.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular solutions available right now:

Lookout

This security app comes with free basic functionality that can locate your lost/stolen device. There is also an anti-virus scanning feature and a way to backup your contacts online for restoring them to your new device.

The real magic happens for premium users. For $3 a month, you get access to safe browsing and remote locking/wiping functions. There are also privacy reports on apps and an advanced backup feature.

Avast Mobile Security & Anti-Virus

Arguably one of the best parts about Avast is that it is completely free, yet still offers a wide range of features.

Not only do you get virus protection, but there are quite a few anti-theft features as well. With Avast you can remote lock or wipe your phone, sound an alarm, or even locate the device. You can also lock your SIM card or prevent USB debugging mode on the phone.

Cerberus

Cerberus is quickly becoming one of the most popular Android security solutions on the market. The app is also very affordable at around $4 for a lifetime license.

Some of the features offered with Cerberus include an alarm function, the ability to place a message on your phone screen, and remote wipe your phone/SD card.  You can also retrieve your SMS and phone log, or you can even start audio or video recording remotely.

TrustGo Antivirus & Mobile Security

Like Avast, TrustGo is a free security solution with plenty of great features.

The TrustGo app brings with it a security scanner, secure browser, remote wiping and locking features. You’ll also find a system manager that claims to help with your device’s overall performance.

Comments

  • Kwadwo Firempong-Boakye

    AirDroid is another cool alternative too

    • Andrew Grush

      Page 2 talks about the possible reasons why. :)

  • MasterMuffin

    KLP (or JB 4.3)!

  • guest

    What about Prey project?

    • Dtect

      Expensive.

  • rasty++

    Cerberus is the app! :D

  • Guest
  • RarestName

    Is there a Find My Friends alternative?

    • Alex Golubev

      Google Latitude, try that.

  • Me

    Yes, Android has an app to remote location your device, calls Google Maps / Latitude.

    By the way, a guest here previously posted a link to Google Apps Policy, but that is only for subscriptions Google Apps for Business and so on…

  • Alex Crouse

    Wheres my droid. perfect app.

  • Tony

    Hey, why not check this out it is free and can do much more than some of the other stuff out there.

  • Tony
  • Leonardo Baez

    i think it should be in manufacturers hands, not OS.

    In case of samsung, they offer a recovery app to retrieve lost or stolen phones.

    http://findmymobile.samsung.com/

  • Recud

    samsung do provide one standard with all their devices called Samsung dive.
    http://findmymobile.samsung.com/login.do
    log in with your samsung account ( which you should have on your phone ) and away you go.

  • joser116

    There’s no reason for Google not to implement such a feature. If costs are the problem, why would Google bother building Play Game Services? I’m sure that would have cost more than a Find my Android service. If Apple can do it, then so can Google. There’s even independent developers that offer such services and much more for free and for the majority of Android devices, for example Android Lost.

  • Raymond Marx

    So what’s AVG’s free antivirus?!? Last I checked I could do all that for free, So can Google and it’s easy if you actually use Google’s software instead of your scamware you’re trying to convince everyone they need to buy so you can get your kick back

  • Chris Boots

    ? Samsung galaxy s2 & above does have that you can locate your phone, wipe it and lock it remotely??

  • yimatong

    tinyurl.com/l3cselt fghfghf

  • Paulo

    Many users are not aware of this possibility. Google should offer, at least to Nexus devices.