One of the downsides of smart phones like Apple’s iPhone with iOS 4 is that they’re pretty attractive targets for thieves, especially when you’re traveling. They’re small, easily concealed and worth a pretty penny.
But for iPhone users, there’s an easy way to make sure that you don’t make life easier on any thief, stateside or abroad. The new operating system comes with a “Find My Phone” feature that, according to Wired, allows you to lock and/or wipe your phone if you think someone else has it and are worried about your pictures or contacts being used. It does cost $100 per year, but the set-up process is relatively simple and painless. Use the ID you’re already inputting for iTunes or other services, and add a MobileMe account under Mail, Maps and Calendars. When it’s done loading, you slide the MobileMe account to “activated” and you’re good to go.
If you’re one of those people who prefers Android-based options, then iTag is a pretty good option. Lifehacker notes that it’s free, can access GPS data, backup your information and even remotely wipe the phone.
Keep in mind two things. One, when you wipe either phone, you will not be able to track it anymore (the wipe also deletes these programs). Two, if you have a GSM-style phone with a SIM card, simply swapping it out can allow a thief to bypass these methods. But they still work in a number of situations, and are worth checking out for the peace of mind aspect.