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You can't always be vigilant about your smartphone. It might get misplaced, forgotten or even stolen. But don't worry, there are tools to help you get it back, or at least salvage your personal data.
For AndroidLookout is a nifty app that backs up your device data (contacts, photos, call history) and it even helps you recover your handset in case you lose or misplace it.
Install the app, create an account, and you're set. After that, if you lose your phone or if it's been stolen, simply head to www.lookout.com.
In the Backup tab, one click will copy and store all your contacts from your lost handset. When you first install the app, you can backup your device at that point itself, and even set intervals for automatic backups. If you have upgraded to the Premium version (for Android only, costing $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year), you can also backup your pictures and call history.
The Missing Device tab has a 'Locate' button to show the phone's current GPS coordinates on a map. There is also a 'Scream' button to emit a high-pitched alarm tone from the handset. Premium users can also choose to lock the phone with a password, or wipe all the data on it remotely. Backed up data can be restored to the phone when you recover it, or to a new phone if you have the Premium version.
Note: Also works on iPhone
* If you lost your Android phone and didn't have Lookout installed on it, there's still hope. Go to the Play Store, login with your account and remotely install Plan B (also by Lookout) on your registered handset. This app gives you all the options of Lookout.
* It is still in beta, so we can't recommend it for everyone, but Android Lost (www.androidlost.com) has the track and wipe features of Lookout and many additional tools - all for free. The app requires administrative rights, but comes with add-ons like clicking and emailing a photo of the thief who has your phone; setting a custom alarm or making it ring loudly at intervals; hiding Android Lost so the thief can't stop it; making your phone 'speak' a distress message; and displaying popup messages in case a good Samaritan chances upon the device.
For the iPhone, iPad
Set up an iCloud account, and download Find My iPhone from the app store. Turn it on in Settings > iCloud. You can then visit icloud.com at any time to get a GPS lock on your lost handset, send a message to it, play a sound, or remotely wipe the device.
If the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch you want to locate is running iOS 6, Find My iPhone also includes Lost Mode, which locks your missing device with a 4-digit passcode. It then displays a contact phone number right on the lock screen. And while in Lost Mode, your device will keep track of where it has been and display its recent location history when you check in with the Find My iPhone app.
Download BlackBerry Protect from the App World and set it up. It can wirelessly backup contacts, calendar entries, memos, tasks, text messages, browser bookmarks, Password Keeper entries and Wi-Fi profiles.
The Options menu will let you stop the app from being deleted through Deletion Protection, and you can even activate its location tracking from there.
If your device is lost, head to protect.blackberry.com to view its current location, make a sound or display a custom message on the home screen. You can also remotely lock the handset, change your password or delete all data from it.
For Windows Phone
Just log on to the website www.windowsphone.com and in the dropdown menu of 'My Phone', sign in and click 'Find My Phone'. Through the web-based menu, you can find the GPS coordinates of your handset, wipe all the data, lock the phone, and have it ring loudly.
Also, this feature, by default, saves the GPS location of your device every few hours, thus helping save battery to track your phone for a longer time.