While I was at CES last week, I quickly wrote up my success in locating, tracking, and retrieving my cell phone from one of a company’s 400 taxis in Las Vegas. (The article is here). Although it cost me $100 in reward money to get my Windows Phone back, the money it took was nothing compared to the $550 it would have cost to replace the phone. At the end of that post, I promised to revisit this topic and let users know how to locate, track, and recover their iOS and Android devices. While the tracking in iOS and Android takes a little more work (you have to use iCloud on iOS/MacOS X, and it requires a third party app on Android), it is possible to locate your device on these popular operating systems.
Disclaimer: Do NOT use these tools to track your employees or significant other, as it’s extremely creepy, and tracking employees may be illegal and/or a violation of your terms of service with the carrier and/or manufacturer.
Apple Devices (iOS and MacOS)
While the previous post was focused on locating your Windows Phone, it is relatively simple to implement location tracking on Apple devices. To track the location of your device requires you to do the following:
1. You must register your device in iCloud.
2. You can then track your device when it connects online in iCloud when you go online. An example of me tracking my MacBook Air is in the image below.
3. If required, the device can be locked, wiped, and reset from the iCloud console.
Note: It is a violation of the End User License Agreement to track business devices with iCloud. Don’t do it – it’s creepy, and you WILL be found out by the target.
Android Devices (Prey Project)
There are a number of different tools for tracking Android devices; some of the more popular tools include The Prey Project , LookOut Mobile Security (requires a subscription), and Where’s My Droid (Lifehacker 2010 post here).
Tracking your device using the Prey Project is shown in the image below, which is a location report from my Nexus 10 tablet. I have a personal subscription to this tool. which is $5/month for device tracking on up to three devices. Lifehacker has a good article on how to use this tool.