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I'm looking for an app like Where's My Droid to help locate a lost device.

Ideally I'm hoping there is one that might have two specific features:

  1. The ability to display a message to the screen to help people return it, like Windows Phone 7 will have, as illustrated here.

  2. The ability to turn the GPS on remotely to aid in the physical location of the phone. I do not want to have to keep GPS on all the time, to avoid the battery drain.

Running on a non-rooted Galaxy S Captivate.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Try Prey for Android.

Some features:

  • To trigger it, you send an SMS with specific text (default: GO PREY)
  • Once triggered, starts recording its location to display on your Prey dashboard
  • If "missing" you can put text messages on the screen or cause a loud alarm to be played

Here's a recent review: http://www.downloadsquad.com/2010/10/28/prey-for-android-is-an-open-source-anti-theft-service/

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Looks perfect! The only thing I'd say better would be if it would actually LOCK the phone so it could not be logged in and would just show the configured message and not let the user do anything else. Otherwise, excellent. –  eidylon Oct 29 '10 at 15:23

Mobile Defense is great, though in closed beta at the time of posting. It lets you see the current status of your phone, its location (with greater accuracy if within GPS range) and lets you sound an alarm with a message. I am not sure when they will re-open the beta, but I love the product.

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Note that having the GPS enabled doesn't (unlike with Bluetooth) drain the battery. The GPS only uses battery when it's active, which only happens when something is trying to use it.

I don't know of any app that can enable GPS if it's disabled. For the message however your best solution currently is probably WaveSecure.

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Very cool to know! I've left it on for a while now and yeah, it doesn't seem to generally affect the battery life. All those articles about extending batter life always mention turning off GPS and WiFi, (although I know WiFi doesn't really affect it either :) ) –  eidylon Oct 29 '10 at 15:22
    
@eidylon: WiFi may affect battery life if it's actively scanning for open network; if you turn off network notification and set a reasonable sleep policy, then WiFi might have less effect on battery. –  Lie Ryan Nov 12 '10 at 13:16
    
I'm admittedly ignorant, but it seems that a lot of apps now want GPS access and they happen to auto-start; so, if GPS is enabled, it can lead to battery consumption, whether or not the user is making use of the GPS. –  Iterator Nov 18 '11 at 22:19
    
androidlost.com can turn on gps from an sms messega, it's very difficult to understand how it's work's, but very poweful –  Enrique San Martín Sep 4 at 19:06

Another option: I like Lookout.

In addition to tracking/finding your phone, also does virus scanning and backs up data. It doesn't display a message though.

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Very nice looking app –  Mondain Oct 13 '10 at 20:52
2  
Best get it now, too, because they just announced a premium version. Current users get their features grandfathered in. –  Al E. Oct 13 '10 at 21:01

I suggest you get Theft Aware instead. Unlike all the others mentioned this one once installed is totally invisible. You get back to the UI through the call out keypad with a code of your choice. Will send you details on command of whoever has their chip in your phone plus loads of other things. Give it a look, its free. Used in combination with some other security app this is absolutely priceless.

http://www.androidpit.com/en/android/tests/test/391607/Theft-Aware-Trial

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At least for #2 check out Samsung Dive, if it's supported in your country (it isn't in mine). It should do the trick. Also has remote lock and remote wipe functionality.

EDIT: Just realized that Captivate is a US device, so this is not supported yet (UK and Germany only). Sorry, my brain hasn't completely woken up yet :)

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