Did you know that if you lose your iPhone, you can easily track down its location using an app and the phone’s GPS system? There are several apps available that can help. These apps use your phone’s GPS to pinpoint its location, in some cases to within a few meters. Some of them let you remotely erase the data on a missing phone and even take a photo of a person using the phone, if it has a front-facing camera.
Find My iPhone is a free app that can locate a missing iPhone. It can be used by anyone with an iPhone 4, iPad, or 4th generation iPod touch (iOS 4.2 or later required).
If you lose your Apple (AAPL) iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch while on the go, simply install the Find My iPhone app on another iOS device, launch it, and sign in with your Apple ID (Find My iPhone must already be configured on the missing device).
You’ll see your device’s location on a map and you can choose to have it display a message or play a sound, remotely lock the device, or wipe it to permanently delete all of your data if you think that it won’t be returned. For added security, the app will automatically sign you out after 15 minutes, or you can manually sign out at any time.
Just sign in with your Apple ID on your qualifying device and turn on Find My iPhone to allow you to locate it. Then use the same Apple ID to turn on Find My iPhone on your other iOS 4.2 (or later) devices including iPhone 3G, 3GS, or iPod touch (2nd generation or later). Find My iPhone is also included with a MobileMe subscription.
For Google (GOOG) Android phones, a good choice is Lookout.
The price of a replacement isn’t the only cost of a lost or stolen mobile device. Your personal information is irreplaceable. Lookout helps you find your phone if it’s lost or stolen, quickly and easily, even if it is out of your hands.
Your phone can run, but it can’t hide. Locate your missing phone on a map from your PC or another smartphone.
Sound the alarm! Even if your phone is on silent, activate a loud alarm to find it nearby.
Make sure your data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. If your phone is gone for good, wipe your data including contacts, text messages, photos, email, browser history, user accounts (like facebook, twitter and google), sync Lookout Premium for Android.
A couple of apps, GadgetTrak and iHound, are available for both iPhones and Android phones. Not all of these apps are free, so check them out online before you buy.