GadgetTrak is a $0.99 app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad that uses geolocation information to help users track their lost, stolen, or misplaced iOS device with the end goal of being able to recover it.
The latest update to GadgetTrak brings the app up to version 2.5 and adds support for push notifications, camera support, and email reports–the latter two features require an additional $0.99 in-app purchase to enable; camera support requires an iOS device with a camera, which means that the iPad is excluded for this feature.
Essentially, GadgetTrak is a small application that the user can install. If the iOS device is lost or stolen, a user can log in securely to GadgetTrak to find where the device is. GadgetTrak uses WiFi triangulation and GPS signals to determine the location of the device. With the latest GadgetTrak 2.5, users can enable push notifications to “send a discrete message to your device enticing the thief to initiate a tracking report.” If your device was stolen, you can initiate the camera and take a photo of the user.
According to the app-maker, GadgetTrak is tamper proof: “Once tracking is activated the software settings cannot be modified unless deactivated.” You can learn more about the app through the GadgetTrak webpage.
Additionally, once tracking is enabled, you can have the app send you a detailed report with location and camera-captured images.
As smartphones become more powerful, GadgetTrak, like Apple’s Find my iPhone feature from MobileMe, will become increasingly important as losing a smartphone is not just about losing the hardware, but losing the content–photos, files, documents, videos–that are stored on the device. Even if the content isn’t confidential, losing your phone, if it’s not backed up, may mean that you have just lost your photos from yesterday’s event. Phone trackers such as GadgetTrak may be the mobile security equivalent of installing a firewall or anti-virus client on the PC–it’s a cheap investment if you need it, but hopefully you won’t.