Review: Where's My Phone

Where's My Phone? alert screen and app screen
By Joseph Holder on 1 Dec 2010 12:48 pm EST
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Whether lost in the bedsheets or lost at the movie theatre, Where's My Phone has you covered.

Where did I put my phone? It was right here. Maybe over… no. Okay, how ‘bout… no. Not there either. Has anybody seen my phone? Anybody? It’s black…

If you’re like me, you’ve misplaced your phone a time or two. My BlackBerry is almost glued to my hand. If it’s not there or in my holster, something’s wrong. That’s why I need an application like Wheres My Phone.

Wheres My Phone helps you find your phone in the case where you’ve simply misplaced it within your home or workplace. Wheres My Phone also protects you in that dreadful situation when you’ve lost your phone, providing a number of features for you to call, locate, and disable your device.

Where’s My Phone is available in both a free and paid version. Essentially, the free version allows you to find your phone when you’ve lost it nearby; and the Pro version allows you to call, find, and disable your BlackBerry in the event that it is lost or stolen.

How it all works

WMP options and setup screen

Where’s My Phone monitors your email accounts for certain password and code words. WMP can also monitor SMS (text) messages for these same words. The password you choose to use must be one that you don’t use anywhere else. Since you’ll send this password by email or text message, it will be viewable by anyone.

Using a combination of your password and code words, you’ll be able to control the application via email. Using the features of the free version, you’ll be able to start and stop an alert.

To find your phone when it is nearby, send an email to yourself. Using password START as the subject, send an email to an account monitored on your phone. It must be sent to an account you can access in the Messages app. If you don’t want to receive duplicate messages, the makers of WMP recommend sending the activation emails from an account that is not monitored by your BlackBerry.

Alert activation email and results

When your smartphone receives the email (and WMP is running, of course), the phone goes into alert mode. A loud alarm sounds and repeats, and a red (or blue, or orange…) screen appears on the device. The alarm cannot be permanently silenced and the screen cannot be dismissed until your password is entered. WMP will continue to send emails when the alert is started, stopped, quieted, a password entered incorrectly…

Alert and response from program

This works perfectly for me when I’ve set my phone down somewhere, but can’t remember where. I compose a message in gMail, set me as the receiver, type password START, and then send a blank message. Within moments, a loud beeping noise starts, even if your phone is on silent or in the holster. And by loud, I mean really loud. And annoying. Perfect.

I find my phone quickly, silence the alarm, and enter my password. It was in the kitchen this whole time. Balanced atop a 2 liter soda, would you believe. This app is perfect for those times when I lose track of my smartphone at home or at work. But what if I really did lose my BlackBerry? Or, worse yet, it’s stolen? That’s where the Pro features really come in handy.


  

Pro Features

Let’s say you’ve forgotten your phone at a friend’s house or the movie theatre. Using WMP Pro, you’d send an email just as before. Except this time, the person finding your phone (remember it’s a really loud alert sound), can silence the alert and call you at the number you set in the options menu. Hopefully, an honest person will call you, you’ll find out where the phone is, and you can send a STOP email to your phone to stop the alert noise.

Want to know where your phone is? Just send the LOCATE command and WMP will use your BlackBerry’s GPS functions to locate your phone. You’ll receive an email with links to view the location in Google Maps, Bing! Maps, and BlackBerry Maps. 

GPS found my phone in the woodsSo THAT'S where my phone is! Wait... why is it in the woods?

The final few Pro options are for when all is lost and the BlackBerry must be sent to that big recycle bin in the sky. Although you won’t be able to recover all of your data from the device, you can at least get your contacts. Sending the CONTACTS command will send back information about how to recover them.

Sending the DISABLE command, you soon receive an email with last-resort options for disabling your smartphone. Rather like missile launch codes, they must be sent within the next 10 minutes and are one-time use codes. 

  • PermAlert – Permanently sets the BlackBerry in alert mode. Even a battery pull won’t stop the alert. The password must be entered or the OS must be wiped. Those are the only two ways to stop it.
  • Erase Files – deletes files (music, video, pictures) and (as an added bonus for the thief who has your phone) turns PermAlert on.
  • ERASEDISABLE – this is the big one. Erases all files just like above, but also disables the device. The keyboard and screen become unresponsive and rebooting just leaves you with an error message.

WMP still has a few tricks up its sleeve to help you find your phone. Even if someone changes the SIM card in your phone, WMP can still send a text message. Sent to your designated phone number, this will let you know what the new phone number is. Arming yourself with this knowledge will help when you call your carrier to report your phone lost or stolen.


A few notes on setup

Once you’ve installed the application, you’ll need to setup a number of features, options, and permissions. Where’s My Phone will monitor the first line of every email coming into through your BlackBerry. It can also call telephone numbers, respond to SMS messages, and provide GPS location data. To do that, it needs to set a number of high-level permissions to do so. I recommend giving the app Trusted Application status and setting the permissions it requests. For more information, check out the help section in the app. I found it (amazingly) helpful.

WMP Help Screen

Final thoughts

Where’s My Phone can help you find your phone when it’s nearby. Where’s My Phone can help you find your phone when it’s far away. Where’s My Phone provides vital information in the case of a lost or stolen phone. Where’s My Phone can wipe and disable your phone remotely. And it does it all quite well.

Wheres My Phone Pro is a 2010 BlackBerry Super Apps Challenge: Regional Selections Winner

Rating: Five out of Five

More information and download: Wheres My Phone - Free Edition
More information and download: Wheres My Phone - Pro Edition

22 comments

DrewDT

Another one of these apps? How does this differentiate itself with Smart, Guard, Mobile Recovery, etc. Isn't Rim coming out with their own app that will be part of the OS that does this in the near future?

Hockeypuck55

Yea whatever happened to that. I thought it was going to be free too.

Devil

I think I'd like an app like this, but paramount to everything I need it to have a small memory footprint. I think SmrtGuard slowed down my Storm 2 a little.

Is there any other app like WMP that has a low footprint and also isn't going to take over the world for memory?

dxsanchez

I guess it doesn't work on the 9800

**I stand corrected. It does work. Just not listed as supported OS.

Joseph Holder

:)  I was just about to say that all the screenshots are from the Torch 9800.  I'm not sure about App World, but I had no trouble getting it from the CrackBerry App Store.

ErnieH

Perhaps it's deliberate that they don't list the Torch as a supported device. After I installed Where's My Phone, my Torch (OS v.337) was constantly trying to make bluetooth connections. I had to uninstall it.

osutuba

Lookout is available, but this once has a MUCH smaller footprint (250K vs. 1.1MB)

The_Adventist

The 9700 running the leaked OS6 cannot download the BB beta version from Beta Zone.

misskalunji

I'm going to have to try this one out...My bb is glued to me as well but at work theft is really bad!

1812dave

very cool. I tried it on my Storm2 and it works fine. I hope it doesn't affect battery life. :)

MaryBeth#AC

I love the idea of this app. I will definitely try it.

depnerg

Is the Pro version worth paying or is the free version sufficient?

db1561

These types off apps are FREE on the Android market! I love coming here! its like the the jetsons visiting the flintstones! RIM is so far behind! OS-6 was supposed to be something special! What a flop...

ha ha ha! so long losers!

Matthew P R

Is or should I say are the Andriod's as safe as a Blackberry? I would like to access my AKO acount and know we are all safe. Thanks for your help.

vulfadli

Meh..nobody would steal an android anyways..android phones and android people always trying too hard to prove 'how cool' they are and how 'yall can suck our balls' stop coming here man. Perish already.

CrackedAngel

Anymore useless applications? If I lose my cell phone in my house, all I do is dial the number from my landline and I will hear it. If I lose it AWAY from my house, I can kiss it goodbye. I have a few friends that lost their cells, and None of them ever got it back. Now, on to more useful applications PLEASE?

Fifi22

If you're on vzw & have insurance mobile recovery does the sme as where's my phone pro but for free and no battery drain

Gisabun

I generally don't put my phone on mute. so if I left it near by, I'd call it with a landline phone. As for the losing it elsewhere, waiting for RIm to release that utility that will allow my to "control" the phone remotely like BES does.

MiamiCurve

Ok. I see a problem!!! Yes, this app makes my phone ring loud, HOWEVER, since i use password protection, the person who finds it will not be able to see the screen that tells them that the phone is lost (because the Blackberry OS will demand that its own password is entered)...
Can someone respond or personal message me?

mewbacca

I could have used this two weeks ago when I thought I had left my new BB in the food court of a shopping mall. I was panicking.

I bought the pro version of Where's My Phone last night and tested it out. Works like a charm on my 9780. $4 for peace of mind is fantastic.

Piink

another software not compatible with 9800!