No one wants their phone stolen, but the truth is it can happen to anyone. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have some kind of anti-theft app on your device.
Google offers a built-in option called Find My Device that can get rid of the phone, but there are also some great third-party options. Let’s see.
Find My Device
Find My Device is Google’s original anti-theft app, and a part of all Android phones. It lets you lock your phone remotely, sign out of your device, and erase its contents. You can also view your phone’s location on a map and call it through the accompanying app.
If you lock your phone remotely, you can write a lock screen message that your device will display permanently until you turn it off.
The Find My Device feature is on by default, but you should make sure that you don’t turn it off accidentally. To check the Find My Device status, go to Settings > Google > Security and tap Find My Device. Slide the switch at the top of the window to the On position if the feature is not active.
There are two ways to access the Find My Device feature via the Find My Device web app or the smartphone app.
Download: Find My Device (Free)
Cerberus is known as the leading third-party anti-theft app for Android. It has a rich feature set that its competitors strive for.
The three main ways that Cerberus protects your device are remote control via a web portal, remote control via text message, and automatic alerts.
This app can find and track your phone, lock your device, start an alarm on your phone, upload call logs, and clear internal and external memory.
Cerberus will also help ensure anyone who steals your phone ends up in trouble with the law. It can secretly take photos and record videos of anyone who has your device, then upload them to the cloud for you to view. You can even record audio from your phone’s microphone.
The app also supports automatic actions. For example, you can make the phone lock itself if the SIM card is changed, or receive a photo immediately if someone enters the wrong PIN.
You can enjoy a seven-day free trial. After that, you need to sign up for the pro version $5 per year.
Download: Cerberus (Dead Links Free trial, subscription required)
At the other end of the complexity scale is Anti-Theft Alarm. It is a theft deterrent; lacks post theft features like phone search and remote wipe.
As the name suggests, the app will sound a loud alarm under certain conditions. For example, you can turn it off if someone unplugs your phone while it’s charging, if someone moves your phone from where you left it, if you drop your phone, or if someone changes the SIM card. You can also activate the alarm remotely if you realize someone has stolen it.
An alarm can sound even when your device is idle. Once enabled, the noise will not stop without a password; changing the battery or SIM will have no effect.
Download: Anti-Theft Alarm (Free)
Avast Mobile Security
Avast Mobile Security is one of the best security suites for Android. We have recommended it in the past.
However, here we are only interested in the Avast Anti Theft feature. It used to be a standalone app, but since then Avast has bundled it into a holistic security package. The app has the usual array of alarms, maps, and remote controls, but there are some features that require special attention.
The first is listening remotely. You can make your stolen device call you on another number and listen to its surroundings. Your phone screen will stay black so the thief doesn’t know that there is an active call.
Second, you can receive low battery notifications. This notification serves two purposes: It will give you a hint about whether someone is charging and using your device. And it lets you reduce the number of alarms, sirens, and photos you request so you can save energy for as long as possible.
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While the Avast Android app is free, you must subscribe to get access to all the anti-theft features.
Download: Avast Mobile Security (Free, subscription available)
AppLock is another basic app. It lets you password protect any app on your phone. It won’t help you get your phone back if someone steals it, but at least the app will keep you safe knowing that your data is safe in the worst case.
AppLock can also hide videos and pictures and restrict calls. This means the thief will not be able to see your private life or charge multiple bills on your account. This app is ad supported.
Download: AppLock (Free, subscription available)
Prey is a cross-platform solution that can track phones, laptops, tablets and all kinds of other devices.
There are free and premium versions. The free version lets you set up a geo-fencing area (and receive alerts when a perimeter is breached), view your phone’s GPS location, take photos of the thief, and enable remote locking. This limits you to three devices per account.
The $10 premium version offers unlimited devices and adds remote data wipe and remote file retrieval.
Download: Prey (Free, premium version available)
Where’s My Droid
Wheres My Droid offers a free version along with two paid plans. In the free version, you can find your device, unmute it, set a passcode, and send alerts when someone changes SIM.
The Pro plan adds more features like taking photos, locking and wiping the device, and hiding app icons. It costs a one-time payment of $4.
Lastly, the Elite version ($1 per month or $9 per year) includes geofencing, location history, device statistics, and more.
Download: Wheres My Droid (Free, subscription version available)
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