Shifting Focus (Just a Little)

For five years I’ve been writing about new communication technology, specifically social media (for business). Today, I’m shifting gears for a while to write about a different kind of new communication technology: smartphone apps. I call this series “Dave’s App of the Month.”

Most of us have Androids (usually Samsung) or iPhones (Apple) and we’re familiar with the find my phone feature. Just remember to turn it on when you first acquire your device. But how can you find your phone if the battery is dead? Well … there’s an app for that.

Dave’s App of the Month: Lookout

While Lookout (Android and iOS) has some nice backup and security features, the reason I love it is a feature called “Signal Flare.” Lookout monitors your phone’s battery life and if it’s about to die (aka 1%) it sends out an email with a map of your phone’s last known location. While this won’t help you pinpoint the location to the cushions of your couch in your house, it’s certainly useful if you leave your phone at a restaurant, theater, or even just at the office.

I’ve been asked whether Find My iPhone does essentially the same thing and ‘no’ it does not. Apple locates your device only when you access the find feature using When the battery is dead, you get no location data. I’ve tested it. So you need to add Lookout, which by the way, is free. Still, leave Find My iPhone turned on as it provides countless other benefits including Activation Lock. With that enabled, your phone is almost worthless to a thief, because without your Apple ID and password, the phone cannot be reactivated. That greatly reduces the motive for last year’s #1 property crime in the U.S., theft of roughly 4,000 smartphones per day.

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