Your laptop is not just a device; it’s a vault filled with important files, sensitive information, and personal data. The mere idea of it being stolen is distressing. While backing up essential files to cloud storage and online backup services is possible, the loss of the physical device equipped with gadgets tracking is still a significant blow. Moreover, the data left on a stolen laptop can be misused.
Being prepared for such unfortunate scenarios is wise. In this article, we show you fice of the best apps out there designed to help you recover your stolen laptop. Remember, these apps are most effective when installed in advance, rather than after the theft has already happened.
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|App Name||Main Features||Is it Free?||Paid Plans (Starting Price)||Compatibility|
|Prey||Comprehensive device tracking (GPS, WiFi, GeoIP), Smart Tracking, Control Zones (Geofencing), Location History, Missing Reports||No||Yes ($1.1 per month per device slot)||Mac, Windows, Ubuntu, iOS, Android|
|Find My||Built-in Apple device tracking, Remote device locking, Remote data wipe||Yes||No||Mac, iOS|
|LockItTight||GPS-based location tracking, Zone alerts, Browsing history and app tracking, Screen captures, key logging (Windows)||Yes||Yes ($1.99 per device per month)||Windows, ChromeOS, Android, iOS|
|Absolute||Comprehensive device and data protection, GPS, Wi-Fi, and IP tracking, Remote device locking and data wipe, Device recovery feature with Investigations Team||No||Yes ($19.99 for one year)||Windows, macOS|
|Pombo||Encrypted tracking data, User-controlled client and server, Open-source, Minimal system footprint||Yes||No||GNU/Linux, Mac, Windows|
Prey is a robust app designed to track and secure various devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets. It employs multiple tracking methods like GPS, WiFi triangulation, and GeoIP to ensure precise location tracking. The app’s “Smart Tracking” feature is not only accurate but also battery-efficient. It updates the device’s location whenever it detects movement. A global view allows you to monitor the location of all your devices simultaneously.
Additionally, Prey lets you create “Control Zones,” which are geofenced areas that send alerts if a device enters or leaves them. You can also set automated security actions, such as device locking, based on these zones.
The “Location History” feature in Prey allows you to backtrack a device’s movements. This can help you spot any unusual activity. The data is organized by date and time and is visually represented through a heatmap. If a device is lost, the “Missing Reports” feature collects essential data like nearby WiFi networks and device photos to aid in its recovery.
Prey Tracking: At $1.1 per month per device slot, this plan offers basic tracking features. It includes location history, missing reports, activity logs, and geofencing. The plan also allows remote screen locking. NGOs and educational institutions are eligible for a 10% discount.
Prey Protection: Priced at $1.6 per month per device slot, this plan includes all the tracking features of the first plan, along with added security features. You can perform custom wipes, factory resets, and even use a kill switch on Windows devices. It also supports remote encryption for Windows and file retrieval. A 10% discount is available for NGOs and educational institutions.
Prey Full Suite: Costing $1.8 per month per device slot, this all-inclusive plan offers all the features from the previous plans and adds mass actions, audit logs, and device loan management. Automated actions based on specific events or time frames are also included. Any future features will be added to this plan at no extra charge.
Prey is compatible with Mac, Windows, Ubuntu, iOS, and Android.
2. Find My
If you’re a part of the Apple ecosystem, the Find My feature is a built-in solution for tracking your Apple devices. To enable this feature, go to System Preferences > iCloud and check the Find My box. This allows you to locate missing Apple devices like Apple Watch, AirPods, Macs, iPhones, and iPads through iCloud, or via your Mac.
Beyond just tracking, Find My also offers additional security features. You can remotely lock your device using a custom passcode. In more severe cases, you have the option to remotely wipe the device to safeguard your personal data.
The Find My app is free, it comes built-in with your iOS and iPadOS devices.
Find My is compatible with Mac and iOS.
LockItTight is a multifaceted tracking and monitoring app suitable for various users, including individuals, parents, and IT managers. For personal use, it provides GPS-based location tracking for all your computers and phones. Parents can utilize features like zone alerts, browsing history monitoring, and app tracking to ensure their children’s safety. IT managers in educational or corporate settings can manage multiple devices, generate reports, and apply universal settings with just one click.
The app boasts a wide range of core features compatible with different devices. These include location tracking and zone alerts, which notify you when a device enters or leaves a specified area. Android users can benefit from app tracking, while Windows users have access to features like screen captures, camera shots, key logging, clipboard logging, browsing history, and website blocking. This makes LockItTight a comprehensive solution for monitoring your devices, whether you’re an individual, a parent, or an IT manager.
Free Plan: This no-cost plan allows tracking of up to 5 devices and includes 25 saved reports with updates every 5 minutes. All reports are encrypted for security.
Standard Plan: Costs $1.99 per device per month for monthly billing or $0.99 per device per month for annual billing. It includes 100 saved reports, 5-minute updates, and encrypted reports.
Premium Plan: Priced at $4.99 per device per month for monthly billing or $2.99 per device per month for annual billing. It offers 500 saved reports, updates every 2 minutes, and encrypted reports.
Ultimate Plan: Costs $9.99 per device per month for monthly billing or $7.99 per device per month for annual billing. It provides 1000 saved reports, updates every minute, and maximum security with encrypted reports.
All plans offer on-demand report requests and feature encrypted reports for enhanced security.
LockItTight is compatible with Windows, ChromeOS, Android, and iOS.
Absolute is a comprehensive security app designed to protect both your home and personal devices. It offers a variety of features focused on safeguarding your sensitive information and hardware. With enterprise-level data and device protection capabilities, Absolute is particularly well-suited for securing laptops and personal computers.
If a device goes missing, you can track it using GPS, Wi-Fi, and IP address data. Additionally, you can remotely lock the device to prevent unauthorized use and even remotely wipe all sensitive data to protect against fraud.
What sets Absolute apart is its unique device recovery feature, supported by a dedicated Investigations Team. This team assists in the retrieval of stolen devices. Moreover, the app offers a guarantee: if your stolen device is not recovered within 60 days, you may be eligible for up to $1,000, subject to specific conditions. This adds an extra layer of assurance, giving you both control and a safety net in unfortunate situations.
Basic Plan: Priced at $19.99 for one year, this plan offers three core features:
- Locate your device
- Lock your device
- Delete data from your device
Standard Plan: Costs $39.99 for one year and includes all the features of the Basic Plan, plus:
- Recover your stolen device
Premium Plan: Priced at $59.99 for one year, this plan includes all the features of the Standard Plan and adds an additional guarantee:
- Receive up to $1,000 if your stolen device is not recovered within 60 days (conditions apply).
Each plan is available for either a one-year or a three-year subscription period.
Absolute is compatible with Windows and macOS.
Pombo is a security software designed to assist in the recovery of stolen computers. Compatible with Windows, GNU/Linux, and macOS, it runs unobtrusively in the background, sending encrypted tracking data to a web server of your choosing. If your computer gets stolen, you can log into your web server to retrieve the most recent file uploaded by Pombo.
Once decrypted, this file can be handed over to law enforcement, providing them with vital information like the thief’s IP address, timestamps, nearby routers, and even a photo if your computer has a webcam.
With a focus on user privacy and security, Pombo encrypts all tracking data using GnuPG, ensuring that only you can decrypt it. Unlike other solutions, Pombo doesn’t depend on third-party services, giving you full control over both the client and server. Being open-source, it allows for customization and further development.
Additional features include the flexibility to switch servers, no software fees or subscriptions, and minimal impact on system resources. The collected data includes system details, network interfaces, current connections, and nearby Wi-Fi access points.
Pombo is open-source and free to use.
Pombo is compatible with GNU/Linux, Mac, and Windows.
The adage “prevention is better than cure” holds true, especially when it comes to safeguarding your laptop. The most effective way to recover a stolen laptop is to ensure that it doesn’t get stolen in the first place. While it’s true that unfortunate events can’t always be avoided, taking proactive measures can significantly reduce the risk.
Always be vigilant when you’re away from your laptop or other belongings. Keep an extra eye out to ensure their safety. Additionally, it’s advisable not to leave your devices unattended for extended periods. By taking these precautionary steps, you not only minimize the chances of theft but also save yourself the hassle and stress of dealing with a stolen laptop.