Lost Your Phone? Resort To “Plan B”

In today’s market there are a ton of “find my phone” apps available for you to choose from.  However, what happens when you lose your device and you haven’t installed an app yet?  Plan B, by Plan B Labs wants to be there for you.  I know it sounds weird at the moment, but believe me, there is a method to the madness.  Yep, that’s right, you don’t download Plan B until after your device has been lost or stolen.   Once your device has veered off the beaten path unbeknown to you, just head on over to the online Android Market and download the app by pushing it to your device.  Once you push the app to your phone, Plan B kicks in, utilizing the nearest cell tower and activates your GPS, sending the device’s current location directly to your Gmail inbox. Convenient enough for you? The developer notes that if the app doesn’t initially kick in, all one has to do is borrow a friends phone and text the word “locate” to your device.  Also, per the developer, your location will continue to update for 10 minutes, shooting you an email with each update.  If you still haven’t found the device just repeat the process until you do.

It’s nice to finally have some hope, after your several hundred dollar investment gets unexpectedly snatched from you.  I can’t help but appreciate modern advances with what Google and Android are doing.  I mean, where would this app be if Google didn’t implement the new push technology in the online market?  And who can deny the fact that if this was just a few years ago, our devices would have been lost for good since we’ve never heard of a phone’s GPS system being activated remotely?  Ahh, modern technology is great for consumers and hardly fair for thieves.  I just feel bad for the phone thief who one day jacks Anderson Silva’s Droid after he installs Plan B.  Once you’re reunited with your trusty handheld, don’t forget to download Lookout, a trusty application that can assist in cleaning up your device and ridding it of any viruses or Malware.   If you don’t feel like waiting until your device is stolen, no problem, you can download Plan B from our apps database here.  Don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments below.  

From the developer:

Technical Details
* The location email messages are sent via SMS, so they are short and to the point.
* You’ll get one email message when Plan B starts, and up to 5 other messages as it refines your phone’s location or tracks it as it moves.
* Each location email will include an accuracy rating in meters.
* Plan B will attempt to launch as soon as it downloads, but in some cases you will need to send an SMS to get it started.
* Note that your location is only sent to the Gmail address that is already associated with your phone; nobody else can access your location using Plan B.
* Plan B is currently only available on select carriers in the United States.

About Lookout Labs
This is a project of the Labs division of Lookout Mobile Security. The goal of Lookout Labs is to explore new ideas and push the boundaries of mobile apps. Labs projects are experimental by nature, and may only be available for a limited time.

This app is not a replacement for Lookout Mobile Security. Downloading the full version of Lookout is the best way to keep your phone safe from malware and spyware, back up your data, and locate, scream, lock, or wipe a lost or stolen phone

About the Author: Joe Sirianni

Joe was born in New Jersey and spent most of his childhood moving around from state to state. He eventually made his way to Pennsylvania where he met his Portuguese beauty and made her his wife. He now has three great kids and full access to all of the Portuguese food he can eat. Joe's love for mobile technology began when he bought his first Palm Pilot, a Palm M130 and left it on top of his car, driving off, causing it to smash into a thousand pieces. Forced to buy a new device, he quickly discovered that specs were changing so rapidly he was buying a new device every six months just to keep up. Since then, he has constantly felt the need to have the latest and greatest. When the "smartphone" revolution began and integrating cell phones and PDA's was the norm, he quickly jumped to Windows Mobile for several years until the first Android device was launched, the T-Mobile G1. Joe began appreciating all of the free utilities Google provided and sold his soul (his precious data) to Google long before they got into the mobile OS business. So, there was no hesitation at all for him to jump on board and ride the Android train as an early adopter. And boy has it been a blast. Joe now works in the Engineering & Operations dept for a major mobile carrier where he remotely troubleshoots cell sites and loves being an Editor for TalkAndroid.

  • Gerilyn V

    Does Plan B work on a stolen phone that has been turned off by the theif??

    • Joe Sirianni

      I don’t think so Gerilyn, but the thief has got to turn the device on sometime, in which the android market will then push the app to your device and run its course.

  • Aidan

    I just installed this app remotely, and have been waiting for two hours for an email without success. The phone is definitely on and in range of signal because I’ve been ringing it. Any tips?

  • Stephen

    I have the same problem i downloaded plan B on my stolen device it worked and apprently they were on a road so it wasnt their house this was at 6:31pm. Ever since then i would send my phone putting locate only and reinstalling the App. I would not get a second message =/ and i tried calling the phone it is on. they aren’t answering..

  • Stephen

    i would send my phone a message saying locate only on diffierent friends phones i mean

  • Peter Kunde

    Hello, I just discovered your site. Perfect timing! My phone (Samsung  Infuse 4G) was stolen yesterday. This leads to a question for you… I had ATT disable the stolen phone’s sim or whatewver they do when a phone is reported stolen. I got a GO Phone for use until I get another smart phone. The temp phone has my same telephone number (the one associated with the Samsung Infuse). Does Plan B (or any other app that you have) work in my case? Can it use the IMEI as a reference?

    Please let me know what I can do. 

    Sincere thanks,
    Pierre (Peter) Kunde

  • olive

    its telling me that its has already been installed but it hasnt sent the email back to me and i know my phone is on and im starting to think that this doesnt work and im worried. and i sent locate and still nothing… help?!?!?!?!!?

  • yap

    its there any other version i can download? My device is not compatible with the current version.

  • Rachel

    Will it work if the battery is dead?

  • Will

    Is there anything other than Plan B to download if it’s not compatible?

  • Micheal Phips

    Same problem with downloading and then not receiving an email for one hour so far. Have installed it several times (you can tell I am panicking!) . Am assuming that you just need to keep on waiting?