[quick note before we start: this applies to Apple and Android too and I included links to the various software apps]
Today I got the fright of my life…I called my wife but she did not answer. That is pretty normal. I then sent her a BBM. No Answer. I then SMSed her and no answer.
The “what does she have a cell phone for anyways” thinking turned to worried and then panic when 2 hours later I couldn’t get a hold of her.
Before really loosing my mind and on the verge of calling the police I remembered that I was smart enough to enable Blackberry Protect on her phone !
I logged on to the Blackberry Protect website, entered her userID and pulled up a map of where she was. Now that I know she was in a safe area (and not in some dodgy part of town), I figured her phone must be on silent. I clicked the option that changed it from silent to LOUD and then let her phone start playing sound effects. She instantly grabbed her phone and saw the missed calles and called me – whew – all is well that ends well…
Since a lot of families have Blackberries and especially a lot of kids have them, here is what I strongly suggest you do so that you too can have some piece of mind.
Step 1: What is Blackberry Protect ?
If you ever lost your phone or had it stolen you know that sinking feeling that all your personal information is floating out there with who knows what doing who knows what.
Blackberry Protect is software from Blackberry that allows you to :
- Find your phone – you can get the location of the phone displayed on a map
- Backup your phone – Your contacts, text messages, calendar and bookmarks can be backed up wirelessly. It’s done automatically, and as often as you choose (daily, weekly or monthly).
- Protect your information- You’ve lost your phone you can remotely LOCK it. If you are pretty sure you’re not going to see it again, you can delete the information on your phone and microSD card
Step 2: How do I set up a phone (or multiple phones) to be protected ?
You will first need the Blackberry Protect software which you can download from the App World. In some cases it will come preinstalled on your phone already.
Once you click on it, you will need to enter your Blackberry ID and Password.
Once you set up the option of how often and what you would like backed up, you are pretty much done.
How to Locate the phone/ Remotely Wipe it etc. ?
In order to access the various services, head over to protect.blackberry.com and sign in with your Blackberry ID:
You will see this control panel screen:
Now all you need to do is go through these options to preform the action you want.
- View Location – maps the current location of the phone
- Play Sound – changed the device profile to loud even if sound is set to off and the plays a combination of sounds effects so that it draws attention to the phone.
- Display Message – even if the device is locked you can set a message on the screen such as: “Call me on XXXXXXXX and I will reward you for finding my phone”
- Lock Device – lock you device and even set a password so no one can access your info
- Wipe Device – permanently delete all data in your phone.
So in summary:
Whilst this service is intended to protect your phone in case it is lost, I strongly advise everyone to access it and set up the entire family on it.
It cost nothing and has such amazing features – especially the Map option.
Well done Blackberry for such a great service !
Make sure you read the article How to protect your mobile child if you have kids.
If you are corporate or manage multiple devices, you can use the Blackberry Management Center to look after mulitple devices from one location. You do need some technical skills though and this system does not have the Map feature.
update 30 March 2012: I have been asked if other phone’s have the same features as Blackberry Protect which of course they do.
iPhone, iPad, Mac user : you can install the Find my iPhone App that will allow you to track your phone, remotely wipe it, and lock it.
Android user: I use the app called Plan B – which also allows to map the location of the phone.
There are lots of apps which are a combination of Free, Trial, Paid for and each offer more or less feautres depanding on what option you want.