Good news everyone! You can now use Prey On-Demand on your iPhone, iPad or your Android phone or tablet whether you have a Pro account or not. This means more juice for your iPhone and iPad, and more love for Android tablet owners.
Keep on reading if you don’t know what the hell we’re talking about.
[Before we continue, if you don't know what On-Demand is, please take a look at this article]
There are two main reasons why we decided to allow everyone (well, almost everyone) to use On-Demand:
a) To allow activation on Android tablets with no SMS support
If you’re an Android user, you know exactly what to do when your phone goes missing: pick up another phone and text “GO PREY” —or whatever trigger phrase you defined— to yours, so that Prey starts working its magic.
But what happens when if it’s a tablet that doesn’t have a phone number or SMS support? Until now, the only other way was to upgrade to a Pro account so that you could use On-Demand, which instead of SMS relies on Google’s Push Notification service.
Well, not any more.
We want Prey to work exactly on every device, no matter if free or Pro. So, since On-Demand did the trick for SIM-less devices — allowing silent, remote activation — we decided that it was better to let everyone use On-Demand, rather than forcing them to switch to Pro.
b) To drastically reduce battery consumption on iPhones & iPads
As you know, the iOS version does not support activation via SMS. Because of this — and given than free users didn’t have On-Demand as a way of sending the activation signal — Prey defaults to an iOS Location Listener to be able to perform regular checks via HTTP to the Control Panel, in order to determine if it should send reports or not. Very much like the way the desktop client works.
Problem is, even if the Location Listener Prey uses (the SLC) consumes the least possible amount of battery, it still uses some of it. So by giving free users the possibility of using On-Demand on iOS devices, this means the Location Listener can be now fully disabled, to ensure that no battery will be drained when Prey is not working its magic.
Now, it’s important to note that if the Location Listener is disabled, when activated remotely using On-Demand, Prey’s “awakening” will not go unnoticed since iOS push messages always require that a message is shown onscreen. You might have already seen the tempting “Your PIN code has been reset” message that is shown when the On-Demand button is pushed.
That said, one of the things we’ll add in the following weeks is the ability to modify that message so you’re not forced to use the regular “PIN reset” one. If you think of a good idea of a message to show, don’t be shy and send it over!
If you want to try On-Demand now, log into the Control Panel and you should see a “Awaiting instructions On-Demand” status message right beside your devices. If you don’t then try opening the app on your iPhone, iPad or Android so that it re-syncs with the Control Panel and you’re able to send push messages.
Well, that’s it for now. Have fun playing around with On-Demand and let us know what you think. And please note that this change only applies for mobile devices. Laptops and desktops running Prey are still available for Pro users only :)