There is room for debate on this topic, but while “there is more than one way to skin a cat” (so to speak) you can also take multiple methods to recover your missing iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac.
There a free apps from the app store like Find My iPhone. Which allows you to do many things to find it if were lost like…
• Locate your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac on a map
• Send a message and optionally play a sound for two minutes at full volume (even if your device is set to silent)
• Remotely set a passcode lock on your device, or lock it using your existing passcode
• Remotely wipe your device to permanently erase all of your personal data
If you would like to get up this free app here is what you need to do…
Download from the app store using the link above then sign in using your apple id.
Make sure “Find My iPhone” is turned on in the Settings app. Settings>Location Services then scroll to the bottom and turn the service ON.
Another app is Device Locator which is $3.99
* NO MONTHLY OR YEARLY FEES!
* Ability to sound an alarm on your device from any computer.
* Ability to send a message with sound to the device.
* Ability to TAKE A PHOTO of the user and ask location update with a push message.
* Ability to cache locations when network is not available to retransmit later. Great for camping or traveling around the world.
* Ability to record location every 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours or every cell phone tower switch.
* Ability to send location even when the application is not running or in the background!
* Ability to send your location information to Google Latitude or your own service.
* Ability to lock the application from a website.
* Ability to keep track of and graph your phone’s battery life.
* Hosted on the Google App Engine. Provides unmatched stability, scalability and reliability. Other location services cannot match!
* Can show your locations on top of openstreetmap.org map tiles.
And Gadget Track also for $3.99
If your device has GPS capability it will be used by GadgetTrak to get the most accurate location possible. Even without GPS, GadgetTrak can use cell towers and/or advanced Wi-Fi positioning technology to pinpoint the location of your device usually within a few meters.
GadgetTrak automatically sends a discrete message to your device, enticing the thief to initiate a tracking report.
Snap a photo with the built in camera(s) to collect crucial evidence to help Police catch the thief.
(available for iOS devices with at least one built-in camera, additional in-app purchase required of .99)
• Locate your device using GPS, cell tower triangulation, and/or WiFi positioning
• Location reports posted to the web control panel at http://trak.me
• Location history to know where your phone has been
• Automatic push notifications
• Camera support for the front and rear-facing camera (in-app purchase required)
• Secure SSL connection for transmitting location data & photos
• Cross Platform: GadgetTrak has apps to protect your laptop (Mac & Windows) as well as Android and BlackBerry phones and tablets.
The last one I will show you is TekTrak Pro $4.99
• Locate your phone in real-time using A-GPS technology
• Remotely set off your ringer
• View the location history of your phone’s previous locations
• Remotely change the frequency your phone sends it’s location
• Fully adjustable history setting (keep your history for up to 2 weeks, or do not keep any history)
• Minimal battery consumption
• Runs in the background, and automatically restarts when the phone is restarted
• Remote wipe your contacts, if you lost your phone and want to make sure no one has unauthorized access to them
• Send a text message to your phone via push notification
• New and enhanced user interface
• Encrypted and secure servers
Now all of these have a number of benefits as you can see from the list of features. Out of these which are all available from the App store I like Gadget Track the best.
What if you wanted to take it a little beyond this, what of you wanted a little extra security… iGotYa can get you just that. The only catch is that you must jailbreak your device to use it. Don’t write it off just yet if your uneasy about jailbreaking. This app has many of the features of any app from the app store and more. Not only can you set a custom message to appear on the screen, If someone tries to power off the device it will just reset itself and stay on. The device will also be unable to sync to any desk top application. These two features are great so the device will alway be on so you can track its location. Secure mode can also be enabled, if the password is entered wrong on the second try it will unlock with very limited access and only basic apps are available. This will also hide your contacts, text messages, pictures and call history until the correct lock code is entered. When the unlock code is entered incorrectly it will snap a pic of the thief and send an email with the location of the device and the picture to your email.
Some of these features are not available in the app store apps but you can also use this app with any one of the app store apps if you choose to do so. iGotYa is paid app on Cydia $4.99 and you pay for these apps by using your Google ID and Pay pal. If any of these apps where to help you recover your iDevice it would be well worth the price of the app. By using any of these methods you at least can have some evidence of the person that has your device and where it is.