Find My Phone App
Losing your phone or having it stolen is a frustrating experience. We use our phones for so many things that a day without a phone can derail our personal and professional lives. Of course, there is more than frustration at stake.
The first thing that comes to mind for most people is financial loss. However, with the right mobile theft insurance coverage, you can get the money to replace your phone in no time. More significant is the security risk involved.
A thief who can get into your phone has access to a ton of your most personal data. And while a strong PIN code should keep out prying eyes, there’s no guarantee that they won’t be able to break in. This is one of the biggest incentives to use a ‘find my phone app.
When you use one of these apps, you get more than a way of tracking your phone. You get capabilities to erase it remotely, preventing a thief from having any chance of stealing your data.
But ‘find my phone apps come with a certain amount of risk as well. If you keep the app on, you are essentially letting your phone track your every movement. If the provider of the app or a hacker gets access to that data, your privacy is at stake. Is it safe to use a ‘find my phone app or should you leave location services off?
The most widely-used ‘find my phone apps are those provided by Apple and Google. They come with an operating system and offer an advanced array of features. Because they are integrated into your OS, they are best placed to help you find or erase your phone.
However, it is for this very reason that some people do not use the ‘find my’ app that comes with their OS. While many people love the products provided by companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google, we don’t fully trust them. Why would we? They have access to so much of our data and have traditionally sold it to advertisers.
When using a phone, you are placing a certain level of trust in the manufacturer. There’s no other way of using a smartphone. But you may want to limit their access as much as possible. This could be a strong reason not to use the local ‘find my phone app.
There are alternatives. Third-party developers have created several different apps which essentially serve the same purpose. The difference is that they claim to provide better security features to encrypt your data. They also provide extra features, including the ability to capture a photo of the thief’s face.
But are they more secure? The reality is that if you are using a ‘find my phone app, you are necessarily entrusting one or more companies with your location data. It cannot work unless you’re keeping your location data turned on. The manufacturer of your phone is as likely to have access to that data whether you use the native app or a third-party app.
Using a third-party app potentially provides another company with access to your data. They may claim to use all the highest safety standards, but Apple and Google make the same claims. If you’re going to trust a third-party app, you may as well trust the company behind your phone’s hardware and software.
The extra features that come with third-party apps can be a double-edged sword as well. For an app to take a photo of a thief, for example, you need to grant it access to your camera. Once it has access to your camera, it could capture visual data at all times.
Ultimately, if you are going to use a ‘find my phone app, it is probably wisest to use the app that comes with your OS. If you’re not going to use the app out of privacy concerns, you should turn off location services in your settings as well. That’s the only way to truly keep companies from tracking where you go.
Unfortunately, we have gotten to a point where the only way to maintain privacy on a fundamental level is by not using a smartphone. Since that is not a plausible reality for most people, we have to do what we can with the tools we’ve got. Your phone’s ‘find my’ app can provide an important service. If you have location services turned on anyway, you may as well use it.
Mustafa Al Mahmud is the founder and owner of Gizmo Concept, a leading technology news and review site. With over 10 years of experience in the tech industry, Mustafa started Gizmo Concept in 2017 to provide honest, in-depth analysis and insights on the latest gadgets, apps, and tech trends. A self-proclaimed “tech geek,” Mustafa first developed a passion for technology as a computer science student at the Hi-Tech Institute of Engineering & Technology. After graduation, he worked at several top tech firms leading product development teams and honing his skills as both an engineer and innovator. However, he always dreamed of having his own platform to share his perspectives on the tech world. With the launch of Gizmo Concept, Mustafa has built an engaged community of tech enthusiasts who look to the site for trusted, informed takes on everything from smartphones to smart homes. Under his leadership, Gizmo Concept has become a top destination for tech reviews, news, and expert commentary. Outside of running Gizmo Concept, Mustafa is an avid traveler who enjoys experiencing new cultures and tech scenes worldwide. He also serves as a tech advisor and angel investor for several startups. Mustafa holds a B.S. in Computer Science from HIET.