We have covered a number of apps for device tracking and security, but I wanted to throw another one into the ring. It’s appropriately named 3CX Mobile Device Manager, and it will not only track mobile phones and tablets, but it will also track notebook computers. It’s catered to businesses for managing a fleet of devices, but it’s simple enough for personal use as well. Normally products such as these carry a cost per device, but 3CX has made it free for the first 5 devices, which makes it perfect for families. You start out by creating an account at the Mobile Device Manager website. In order for the service to work, the target devices need to have the app installed. There are apps available for both Android (see below) and iOS devices and you can get the software for notebook computers on the site. The app is pretty simple. It’s just a matter of installing it and signing in with the account information. Once that is done, the administrator needs to approve the device via the desktop site. From this point forward, the administrator can get information or control things through the desktop website, which looks like this:
You will get a list of all the devices you are tracking at the top and when clicking on either one of them, you will get a series of options via tabs halfway down the page.
Map – Shows you the current location of the device
Info – Will give you a vast amount of information on the device such as if it’s connected to WiFi or not and what IP address. It will also tell you the IMEI number as well as the SIM serial number. You will also be able to see how much battery life is left, what the CPU percentage is, and how much RAM is allocated.
Applications – This will show all the apps installed on the device. You can install not only apps from the Google Play Store, but you can also install APKs as well. If you want to uninstall an app, it’s as simple as clicking it and clicking uninstall.
Location History – You will be able to see the location history based on address and longitude/latitude as well as if it was connected to mobile networks or WiFi.
Call History – Every call whether outgoing or incoming is listed along with how long the call was.
Policy – This is where you can change various settings such as how often the tracking will be updated and notifications. This screen will also give you the option to allow the user to make changes on their own and/or to exit the app if they wish. Users won’t be able to disable or uninstall the app unless you allow them to.
WiFi – This will show what WiFi SSIDs are in the device’s memory. You can also manually add a network as well as edit any of the networks. This is good if you don’t want the user to know what the password is on a particular WiFi.
Email – This only works with AquaMail and is something I didn’t test. You will be able to see emails incoming and outgoing, but only if AquaMail is used. If the user doesn’t have it installed, you will be prompted to install it from the desktop.
Remote Control – This gives you access to the file library of the device. You can upload from your desktop to the device or you can download files from the device to your desktop. You will also be able to see what is currently in the clipboard as well as the complete list of contacts. You can even see the system logs.
On top of all this, you also have the ability to assign groups, send messages to all devices or groups, wipe devices, and even lock or unlock the device. Locking the device is pretty slick as it allows you to not only quickly lock it, but you can also quickly change the passcode. You can even email the user the new code. Messaging works via Mobile Device Manager’s own network, and all users will get a notification that a message has come through.
Administrators can also blacklist or whitelist apps although this didn’t work too well for me. Whitelist are approved apps and blacklist are apps that aren’t approved. I entered Angry Birds into the blacklist, but I was able to install it. I was told that users are able to install blacklisted apps, but they will get constant reminders to uninstall them. I never received any reminders however. Still, administrators will be able to see any apps installed and can uninstall them at whim.
As you can see, Mobile Device Manager is perfect for businesses, but I think it’s also great for families. The fact that there is no cost for the first 5 devices makes this very appealing. The only downside is that you won’t get any technical support for free accounts. On the flipside, there is plenty of documentation on their site, including a full manual, forums, and a blog. If you are a larger company in need of tracking more than five devices, you can do so by signing up at various levels. For example, they offer 10 devices for $95 for 6 months or $150 for 12 months. You can sign up for as many as 500 devices for $1,495 for 6 months or $2,495 for 12 months.
If you have been looking for a tracking service, you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. Just head over to their site to sign up and be sure to grab the download links for your phone and/or tablet below. Let me know what you think.
- Device Tracking – Simple, precise tracking of connected mobile devices using Google Maps
- Deploy Applications – Manage apps to groups of Android phones
- Security – Remotely lock or wipe corporate data from abused, lost or stolen devices
- Administration Portal – Receive alerts, send messages to your mobile devices and audit your users