Tracking The Android Phone
Let us face it. All of us have been there. The magnitude of the problem might differ, but the root is the same. What we are referring to, is the embarrassing and often scary sensation of losing a smartphone. It is common to keep a phone somewhere and forget about it. Sometimes, this might happen inside your house, the other times, you might not be as lucky if it happens outside. Whatever the circumstance might be, the loss of a smartphone is a serious matter in today’s world. It is almost as if we have lost a part of our existence. Technology has eased its way into our lives. We all appreciate the benefits of a smartphone. However, our dependency on it makes it an irreplaceable commodity if lost.
Tracking Applications 101 – Where’s my Android Device go?
We are all aware of the existence of several Cloud Based services which keep our data safe. However, it is impossible to regain 100% of the data present inside the physical body of a lost smartphone. Thus, it became essential for smartphone manufacturers to make the device trackable in instances of theft or misplacement. If you use an Android device, there are various ways to tackle the unforeseen circumstance of misplacing a smartphone. We will discuss some of them in this article.
The Way of the Location
The first way to locate an Android device is a solution that a leading multinational organization offers. This works best for situations when you need to locate your phone in your house or office. Basically, when you are aware of the general area where your phone might be. There are two prerequisites to this method. The first is that you need a Home Assistant device. The second is that your phone should be linked to that assistance. Under these desirable circumstances, you can simply call out to your Assistant and it will ring/vibrate your phone. But this method caters only to an extremely tailored scenario.
The same multinational offers another solution which offers to find, lock or erase data from the smartphone.
What Do you need?
The three major prerequisites for this method are –
- an account (logged in) with the same site,
- an active internet connection and
- current location sharing.
By logging on to the company’s website, we can see the status, location and several other details related to our smartphone. By using the find my phone link, we can find an approximate location of the mobile.
We can also generate an alarm which sounds for five minutes. Another thing we can do is flash an emergency message on the lock screen of our smartphone with necessary instructions. Furthermore, we can disable all current passwords and secure our phone from being hacked. If none of these methods can retrieve the device, there is an additional feature that enables us to erase the entire smartphone’s data. This is the last resort to prevent important files from falling into the wrong hands. Thus, a general piece of advice to all readers is to always create two backups of important files and documents. And always remember to store them on different devices. Keep a hard copy as well if you can.
Better than Stock? The third-party app question
What you can do, I can do better! This is the mantra for almost every app developer out there. Therefore, not surprisingly, there are myriad applications present on the App Store or as unique APK files, which claim to do an even better job than stock android applications as far as tracking is concerned. Thus, it is important to know how these third-party apps work. All applications are most effective when they are paired with an active Wifi connection, but they can be helpful in relatively imperfect scenarios as well.
Geographical Positioning System
Most of these third-part apps boast a real time Geographical Positioning System with Map tracking. This means that they can locate the exact location of the smartphone by pinpointing its exact geographical location using the ten-digit grid system. But more than that, the feature some app developers pride themselves on the most these days is the geofencing parameter. This enables the user to track the most probable area where the lost smartphone might be even if there is no active internet connection.
Tracking apps – A noteworthy feature
A noteworthy feature of tracking apps is that they run silently, or can be referred to as background apps. Hence, even if the case is of theft, the culprit will have no idea about the existence of such an app. Tracker apps also enable a Stealth Mode. This way, you can prevent any unwanted offender from receiving your messages or incoming mails. Since, most of these apps use the Maps feature; they also give us an idea of the distance that the device has travelled ever since you lost it. This might sound like useless information to most, but if you decide to get professional help in finding your device – this menial piece of information might actually prove to be quite useful.
A Humane Take on the Missing
A different take on tracking Android devices is when a family member or friend goes missing. It might be a case of ‘runaway guy/girl’ or something much more serious like kidnapping or stalking. Third-party tracker apps come equipped with features to help ease the tension and save the day. An important element is the Group or Emergency quick-contact list. Using this, you can immediately contact someone you trust or share your live location with them. This way, even if the device goes offline later, you can track possible locations based on its travel history. This can be helpful in finding the person and in extreme cases, possibly saving a life.
The group feature also works in a similar fashion
All the people who are a part of that group are visible on the map with their respective locations. There are built-in communication features in these apps as well. These enable us to stay in touch with other group members. Paired with user-friendly interfaces and regular updates to improve performance, these applications manage to deliver results beyond expectation. But, knowing is never enough. Application is the essential key to unlock results.
Doing it Right?
Now that we are aware of the general methods, stock apps, and third-party apps, it is time to address an unavoidable facet of tracking – its use. Although most of us would want to avoid the moral lecture which surrounds the need for tracking, it is important for us to know the appropriate and inappropriate uses of tracking. This mainly refers to being informed about the inappropriate uses of tracking and to not indulge in such practices.
Tracking is an amazing tool
It can be irreplaceably helpful in numerous unfortunate circumstances. Be it losing your android device to theft or carelessness, tracking a loved one, keeping an eye on your child/ward, or reaching a new location. Live location and GPS tracking are the frontrunning favourites to be of help. But as mischief would have its way, some people tend to use tracking apps to fulfil inapt desires and wants. These include stalking the location of other people, disturbing the parent-child dynamics, invasion of privacy and a lot more. What we need to understand, as concerned individuals is that these apps have been created for crisis management. These are not platforms to stalk or sneak up on other people, even if it is done with positive intentions. Moreover, frequent indulgence in another’s life might ultimately end up backfiring. The person might stop trusting you and then it simply worsens the situation.
You may proceed – but with caution
Another important facet that needs to be addressed is that of permission granting. Some android tracking applications can be used in an even more advanced and secretive way than most people can imagine. Thus, if you grant the app permission to shoot pictures and record videos, then you might be able to instantly click the photograph of wherever the phone is or whoever has it. These high-profile apps are the Swiss Army Knife of all tracking apps, owing to the plethora of useful possibilities they provide. Another feature related to permissions is the installation of ZIP files, rather than play store downloads.
Installation of ZIP files
A ZIP file is an extremely helpful tool because even if the perpetrator manages to somehow factory reset your device, a root ZIP file would remain installed. This is a difficult concept to grasp, so humour me for a bit. It has been observed that in 70% of cases of all planned thefts, the thief first factory resets the mobile. The main aim of this is to log out of all online accounts so that the previously mentioned techniques of finding an android device would render useless. A factory reset is basically converting a device to its operational self – straight out of its factory or place of manufacture.
See How to use Root Zip File on Android:
What does a Root ZIP file do?
But what a root ZIP file does, is that it makes its way into the factory database and gets installed over there. It becomes a part of the system configuration which occupies some space of the Random Access Memory. Thus, by doing so, it becomes increasingly convenient to catch the culprit quickly. Also, because he thinks he erased everything but is unaware this sly trick you had up your sleeve.
Preparedness is the KEY
We have discussed how tracking apps are useful, how they should be used and also included a little bit of trickery to gain the upper hand in case of thievery. But the main weapon that wins us the war is timeliness. None of the tips or tricks will help you if there is a delay in your response to the situation. It is important to understand that these apps are here to keep us safe. What we overlook as humans are the fact that something as such could happen to us. We think about these scenarios as anomalies and impossibilities. But that is not the right way to approach situations and even life in general.
A Take at our situations
It is human nature to not foresee the negative possibilities. But what we should ponder upon is that it does not take a lot of effort to gradually prepare for a situation. General preparedness sucks all the fear out of any negative situation. And when there is no fear, the stress levels decrease, and clarity of thought prevails. Thus, timely preparation is key.
A Final Attempt
There is a final way to salvage something out of the situation. In this, you need to block your phone’s unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. You can find this number on a bar code, on the back of the device (no help) and on the packaging box of your device. You can also find the IMEI number for your device by contacting a specific number. By blocking this, you can at least ensure that no one can register your mobile on any mobile network. After doing so, an especially important step one should follow is to report the missing device to your nearest Police Station.
Unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number
You will be surprised to find out the percentage of devices which are returned to police stations or other authorities (humanity does exist). Also, IMEI databases exist so you can check whether your device has been reported as lost. There is an international database in existence as well – IMEI24. Using this final resort, you can at least make sure that no one misuses a device you once owned. Most stolen devices are further used for criminal activities or are sold in black markets. You saved yourself from becoming an accomplice in a potential crime.
A small victory despite facing an overwhelming defeat
Conclusively, it is smart to exercise caution if at all you end up losing an android device. But what’s more important is to prepare yourself beforehand. Set up a tracking system and enable yourself to be in a better place to handle any situation. It might feel like some extra logistical worth, but trust me, it’ll be worth it.