Wednesday, December 1, 2010

IPhone Security Apps - Recommendations

A blogger that I read regularly recently had her iphone stolen. Not only does this create a lack of iphone-age but more importantly is a huge security blunder. This thief now has not only her phone but every single piece of data that she had in it. It got me thinking about what if that happened to me. Now I tend not to put anything on it that could be a huge security vulnerability (you wont find credit card numbers or social security numbers on my iphone - maybe just a task list or recipe or two). However - I wouldn't want a thief to be able to gain access to my email account or anything else. So I took action. (thanks gs)

My first action was to create a pin to protect my iphone if it ever did end up in someone else's hands. At first I had also set it to wipe the device if anyone tried ten times, but I removed this when I realized it would be counter productive in adding any tracking apps. So the next thing I did was go hunting on the app store for a good security/tracking app.

I read up on all the apps, the costs, features, etc and decided on two for which to test out and choose from. I have been using both of these apps for a week now and will share with you what I have decided on. First of all I decided that I would leave both of these apps on my phone for now. it doesnt hurt to have some backup but if I were to start over I would have only purchased FoneHome.

Both apps run in the background on the IPhone 4. They are meant to run constantly and update their significant servers with your gps location.

Undercover - $4.99
by Orbicule BVBA
If I were honest with myself, I would say a big part of why I picked this app was the cool logo they have. I mean come on! How could you not award Bonus Points for that? While this app seems to work I keep finding it has turned itself off. Maybe I am missing something but it seems as if the app only creates a log of its location when the app is opened. This doesnt seem like it would help me 1 - if the phone was lost instead of stolen or 2 - if the person who stole it did not open the app (which they shouldnt be able to with my protection pin)

While the logo is honestly pretty professional, the app looks promising, I can't honestly recommend it seeing as I haven't seen it work very consistently since I purchased it. On closer inspection of the app description it appears that there is also a way to remotely launch the app if it were lost or stolen. See this excerpt from their site:
Undercover has to be launched by the thief in order to track the stolen phone's location?
No! When theft occurs, you may send push notifications to your stolen iPhone. When a thief views these notifications, Undercover will be launched automatically and the device's location will be transmitted

Overall the app seems to work like they say it will, but I am just not as impressed as I am with FoneHome. There is a very informative help center on their website. But even the app on the phone has no settings or options which leaves a bit to be desired.

Screenshot of tracking website:

FoneHome - $1.99
by Appmosys
This app has impressed me hugely. If I were to start over I would have saved my $5 and just bought this. There are a slew of features and I havent had the slightest issue with the app. After I purchased it, registered it, and logged in I have not done a single additional thing on my iphone and it has worked flawlessly. I can log into the website and see where I have been on the hour for the past week. Its beautiful. It opens up in maps and interestingly since I went across four states last week I can watch our travels via this security app. Its actually pretty dang awesome. One of the other neat features of this app is you can activate a siren. I think this would be super handy if you lost the phone in your house or your car, or if you think someone stole it and you want to call them out. You can also change the settings on the app for instance at what time interval you want it to log its coordinates. I highly recommend this app and thinks its worth far more than the 1.99 it costs!

Screenshot of tracking website:

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