Tech Check: How to find a lost smart phone - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Tech Check: How to find a lost smart phone

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Some smart phone apps allow you to locate your phone from your laptop or home computer. Some smart phone apps allow you to locate your phone from your laptop or home computer.

You've searched for it everywhere: in your kitchen, the bathroom, in between the couch cushions, under you bed, and even in your car. Did you leave it at work? How do you find your smart phone? You grab another phone and call it in hopes of hearing it ring.

That might work in some cases, but it could leaving you feel not so smart if you left it outside the home. This is where your smart phone has gotten a little smarter. Tracking down your phone is as simple as an app.

iPhone users have benefited for the past couple of years from the Find My iPhone app, but as popular as Apple is, most smart phones users are now running an Android platform and that is a bit trickier.

If you have an iPhone, you can just sign up for it when you first register the phone. Then you can go online to find your phone or even wipe the memory clean if you are ever afraid it will never be found.

At FOX 5, we use Android phones and so the search for an app to find if ever it was lost began.

In the android app store, there's "Where's My Droid." It is free and has the highest number of downloads and the highest rating in the android app market. A cross-platform user will notice similarities to the Apple version.

You can go online and the program will locate your phone on a map. For an additional fee you can wipe the memory or lock the phone.

Now, these apps are also useful if your device is ever stolen. It is called iCrime and cities across the country are seeing a huge spike in the theft of electronic devices, especially smart phones.

In New York, 81 percent of electronic thefts involved a cell phone. Washington reports a 50-percent increase in the number of smart phone thefts.

Meanwhile, here in Atlanta, Atlanta police say iCrime is also on the rise. In fact, students at Atlanta's downtown college campuses have been warned not to use their electronic devices on the street.

Surveillance video obtained by FOX 5 shows one of those robberies. It shows a man stalking a student on the Georgia State University campus. The man snatches the woman's iPad and runs away.

Police warn that you should never use an app like this to go and retrieve your device yourself. But you should know that not every police department will investigate and retrieve it for you.

If you lose your smart phone, get to these programs quickly. The tracking will work only as long as the battery has power.

Here are a few tips to avoid smart phone theft and protect your data on your smart phone:

  • Use your device discreetly whenever possible
  • Never leave your device unattended in public places (i.e. coffee shops, restaurants, etc.)
  • Make sure you have your device's make, model, and serial number written down at home
  • Establish a password to restrict access to your device
  • Install anti-theft software to lock your device
  • Make your lock screen display include your email address in case it's found
  • Be careful of financial information stored on your phone
  • Immediately report a theft to your cell phone provider/carrier
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