Lose Your Phone, Apps to Get it Back, Maybe

I’m too paranoid to store anything vaguely sensitive on my iPhone. Where I draw the line is, “If I can’t afford to lose it, it does not live on my device.” It’s a bit irrational I know, when you consider that I could just as easily lose my wallet. Let’s just say, I have my quirks and you have yours.

One thing we’ll agree on, however, is that it sucks to lose your iPhone or iPod touch. I was all set to stick a gold star to my forehead for being such a deep thinker but then I found out that a bunch of developers had the idea before me.

A number of companies market apps that are designed to keep a bad guy’s hands off your data, either by protecting, destroying or by retrieving it.

The one thing all these app have in common is that someone — whether a thief or a good Samaritan — has to launch the app on your missing iPhone or iPod. These apps don’t work automatically (yet).

There are dozens of apps that will passcode protect your data and some are even capable of doing remote wipes for particularly sensitive financial data.

I’ve been a long time security nut and I’ve tried out several security apps for the iPhone. Recently, I’ve been looking at apps that use your iPhone’s GPS and/or Wi-Fi features to determine its location.

I’ll have to investigate further before I can post reviews but in the meantime, I’ve rounded up a list of security-related apps that look interesting and a few that might even help you get your iPhone back.

iHound: Locates Your Lost or Stolen iPhone, Davesworld — Install and sign up for a free iHound Software account. iHound uses GPS and Wi-Fi to determine the device’s location and plots it on a map for you.

Stolen Phone Tracker, TechReply — The app installs a yummy-looking Passwords icon, and when the app is launched, it will display a scrolling list of contrived passwords. The idea is to keep the thief busy long enough to pinpoint his location via GPS. The app triggers emails to you.

Look at it this way. If your iPhone or iPod gets out of hand and you manage to get it back, then it’s a great app. If you don’t get it back, it’s a piece of crap. But, you won’t know until the unthinkable becomes reality.

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