2 January 2012

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What To Do If Your Android Is Lost

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Image by Getty Images via @daylife
You’ve made a purchase of a smart phone and done your best to protect it. But despite all your efforts, something has gone wrong and it’s now lost. If you’ve ever found yourself in this scenario, you know the creeping dread that rises quickly upon the realization that the device you’ve come to depend on like an old friend is somewhere it’s not supposed to be.

Distress grows into panic as you come to grips with the fact that you’re not only facing the loss of a considerable investment and vital communication link, but the very real possibility that personal information may be gone too – or worse.

In this situation, everything from emails and text messages to contact’s phone numbers, pictures, videos and maybe even passwords for other devices and accounts could be compromised and perhaps even used for nefarious purposes.

Android owners; however, can relax. There are options that may bring your phone home; or, if that’s not possible, at least lessen the negative impact. Here’s what to do if your Android is lost:

Go to “Plan B.” This free application that can be remotely accessed by computer at the Android Marketplace (market.android.com) is literally capable of saving the day. Once the app is downloaded, it will send GPS-based location updates to the Gmail account you linked to the phone during activation. Plan B’s developers tout the application – that received nearly 1,000 “5 star” reviews on the marketplace website – as the only tracking software that can be installed after the phone is already lost.

If you’re fortunate enough to get your phone back with the use of Plan B, make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice. Next time, you might not be as lucky.

Once you’ve recovered your device, go to the Android Market and download “Android Lost.” This application – which will only work if you register the phone beforehand – allows you to remotely control your Android phone to locate it, forward calls, sound the phone’s alarm (helpful if you know it’s somewhere close), lock the phone and erase the SD card or all of the phone’s data.

Another good precaution that can help thwart unwanted eyes from accessing your Android phone’s data is to set up a pass code that must be entered before the phone is usable. It won’t help find the phone if once it’s lost, but it can buy valuable time in the event of such an emergency.

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