• Apps to keep your smartphone safe

    2013-10-23

    In this era of smartphone dependency, the best travel insurance is the kind that covers your mobile lifeline. While insurance can help with post-theft complications, it's still best to try and avoid the situation altogether.

    New apps are constantly being developed for every stage of phone loss, including theft prevention for smart thinkers, GPS tracking for the tenacious and remote data wiping for those ready to hedge their bets. Here's a guide to some of the apps designed to keep your phone in your pocket and away from prying eyes:

    In the know
    Lists of the top pickpocketing cities abound across the Internet, many of which seem derived from a TripAdvisor report back in 2010. These lists are problematic first and foremost in that they cultivate a false sense of security or paranoia depending on which supposed kind of city travelers are in. Secondly, they can be rather broad in their labeling of pickpocket havens. Yes, Paris and Barcelona have their fair share of pickpockets, but there are thieving hot spots, and there may be hot spots within those hot spots.

    The makers of BeSafe try to get more specific when it comes to criminal danger zones and popular thieving spots. Their app collates data from police resources and private research to determine a safety index of cities such as London, Paris and New York. Users can examine gang and pickpocket hot spots, see which subway stations are the most dangerous and base their traveling decisions on Risk-o-Meter.

    Where'd it go
    For those who have already lost their phone, some apps will aid in the recovery process. If a person suspects that he or she merely misplaced their phone during a night of reverie, many apps offer a GPS tracking app. Once downloaded, users can triangulate the position of their device with the help of another phone.

    When the phone is nearby but hidden in plain sight, there are more complex tracking apps that include a remote ringing feature. Activating this feature will make the phone ring at maximum volume, whether or not the phone is on silent.

    As an added bonus, some apps even have the ability to remotely lock your phone just in case any unsavory characters stumble upon it.

    Saying goodbye
    Sometimes phones will be lost through no fault of the user. If a person suspects a pickpocket has a hold of their phone, some apps such as the Android Device Manager, will remotely destroy all of the information on your phone. These data wipes are a sad affair, but it's a better alternative than having all of your personal information lifted.

    See also...  

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