For many of us, our laptops carry important documents, sensitive data and incredibly valuable personal data. One of the worst nightmares to befall us would be to have our laptops stolen. While these days, we keep a backup of our important data in cloud storage and online backup tools, it still sucks to lose hardware we had invested in. Worst still, who knows what these thieves will do to the data that is still inside that stolen laptop.
It helps to take precaution early on, to ensure that if ever your laptop falls into the wrong hands, there is a way to locate it. Below we present 5 of the best apps to help you find your stolen laptop. Do note you have to install these apps before your laptop gets stolen, not after.
Recommended Reading: 10+ Apps To Track Lost / Stolen Android Devices
Price: Free for 3 devices. Paid plans start at $5/month
Prey gives you the tools needed to help you find your devices easily via a web control panel. From there, Prey gives you a timestamp report on the current location of your laptop. You can lock and prevent access to your laptop and also take a candid picture of the thief and what his current session is on the screen.
It also lets you remote wipe your stored pass450-550ords so that the thief can’t abuse your online accounts or banking credentials. Prey is a multiplatform tracking tool that contains many useful features and is available for free for the first 3 devices. For more features, you can consider the paid personal version, available for $5 a month. Prey also offers protection for up to 500 devices in a variety of protection plans.
2. Find My Mac
Find My Mac offers a few more services that Prey doesn’t. If you are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, you might want to take a look into the free app, Find My Mac. In order to enable this feature, go to System Preference > iCloud and ensure that the checkbox for Find My Mac is ticked. This is a free service that allows you track your missing devices using iCloud.
Along with tracking your Mac’s location, the app lets you remotely lock your Mac hardware to make sure no one will be able to use it unless they know a passcode which you set. In very extreme cases, you can remotely wipe your Mac, ensuring the safety of your data. Unlike the other apps on this list, you can use this on as many Apple devices as you want.
Available on: Windows
Price: Free for 5 devices. Paid plans at $1.99/mth to $9.99/mth.
The advantage of LockItTight is that it provides tools for you to spy on your would-be thief. With it, you can find their location, screen capture all of their activities (all’s fair when your laptop is stolen), take a picture using the webcam and see his browsing history.
Whatever the thief is doing on your laptop, you will know it. And the more information you get from his activities, the higher chances they will be caught and you can get your laptop back. The app also provides a way to retrieve and/or delete files from your stolen computer, in case you need to get hold of important files that you didn’t create a backup of.
4. Lojack For Laptop
Available on: Windows, Mac OS X
Price: Plans start at USD 14.99/year [30-Day Free Trial]
If your laptop is C-level important, you might want to consider Lojack’s form of laptop retrieval. Lojack is a service that helps you track and retrieve stolen cars; now it has extended its services to laptops, smartphones and tablets as well. Once you have it installed, the software will be locked in the BIOS itself (in compatible laptops) and will not be removed even if the hard drive is wiped out.
In addition to locking and locating your laptop, the company will send out a team of investigators to retrieve your laptop. If they can’t do so in the next 60 days, they will pay reimburse you of up to $1000. How much does this sort of security cost? Plans range from $14.99/year to $39.99/year for two protection options (device or just data), and depending on the type of device you want protected.
Available on: Mac OS X
Price: Starts at $49.00
Undercover is a Mac-only tracking software, similar to Find My Mac, but with extra features added for extra security. Unlike the other paid options here, this one is not a subscription. You only need to pay once for the license, set it up and your device is protected. It includes the standard features from a paid tracking software such as photo shots and keyloggers. You can also see what the thief is doing on your laptop in real-time.
The software also includes a "Plan B" if all else fails in tracking your Mac. "Plan B" is where Undercover will simulate a hardware failure, rendering it useless and forcing the thief to either take it to repairs or sell it off, increasing the chances that you can track down your laptop. The app starts at $49.00 for a single user license.