Device Tracking

Apple lost mode vs Prey: How to find you lost iphone and other Apple devices

From iPhones to Macs, safeguarding these devices is not just about the hardware, but the sensitive data they contain. As businesses increasingly rely on mobile technology, the choice of a device tracking solution, such as Apple's Find My or even Prey device tracking solution

December 18, 2023

If we’re talking about B2B operations, device tracking is no longer a mere convenience but a critical aspect of cybersecurity, particularly when considering the alarming rise in data breaches linked to lost or stolen devices. A recent incident at OU Health, where a laptop theft exposed the data of approximately 3,000 patients, exemplifies the critical need for robust device tracking and management solutions.

From iPhones to Macs, safeguarding these devices is not just about the hardware, but the sensitive data they contain. As businesses increasingly rely on mobile technology, the choice of a device tracking solution, such as Apple's Find My or even Prey device tracking solution, becomes a cornerstone of comprehensive security strategies for protecting your Apple fleet. This article delves into the nuances of these tools, offering insights into how businesses can better protect their assets in an age where a lost device can lead to a major data breach.

Overview of Apple's Lost Mode

Apple's Lost Mode is an integral part of the "Find My" network, designed to offer a secure way to protect and potentially recover lost Apple devices. This feature is a safeguard for both the device and the sensitive data it contains, addressing the concerns of modern businesses regarding device security. It encompasses several functionalities aimed at minimizing the risks associated with lost or stolen devices.

Key Features of Apple's Lost Mode:

  • Confirmation Email: Automatically sends a confirmation to your registered Apple ID email when Lost Mode is activated.
  • Custom Message and Contact Info: Allows setting up a personalized message on the lost device's screen with contact details for potential recovery.
  • Silent Mode: Deactivates notifications, sounds from messages, notifications, and alarms, while still allowing phone and FaceTime calls.
  • Payment Cards and Services Suspension: Disables payment cards and other services linked to the device to prevent unauthorized use.
  • Location Tracking: Continuously tracks and updates the device's location, showing it on a map for easy tracking.
  • Passcode Management: Enables setting or changing the device's passcode remotely via iCloud.com.
  • Recovery Options for Macs: Provides different recovery methods for Intel and Apple Silicon Macs, including online code recovery or using Apple ID and password.

Overview of Prey for Device Tracking

Prey for Device Tracking solution emerges as a versatile and robust solution for managing and securing devices, especially in educational and large-scale business environments. Its multi-OS compatibility and comprehensive suite of features make it an ideal choice for institutions managing diverse device fleets.

Prey addresses the challenges of security, compliance, and efficient management, something very useful these days as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and one-to-one mobility programs are on the rise. This system not only ensures that devices are safe but also that they are used in compliance with organizational policies and legal requirements.

Key Features of Prey for Device Tracking:

  • Always-On Tracking: Offers continuous tracking of devices, crucial for real-time location updates.
  • Missing Report: Prey offers a log with the changes and actions that the lost devices have gone through, such as Wi-Fi connections, hardware changes, screenshots, camera photos, and last known locations.
  • Geofencing: Utilizes Control Zones to alert when devices enter or exit predefined geographic areas.
  • Lock and Wipe Functions: Provides the ability to remotely lock devices or wipe data, ensuring security in case of loss or theft.
  • Multi-OS and Device Compatibility: Supports various operating systems and devices, enabling management of a diverse range of devices under a single platform and account.
  • Cloud Communication: Uses cloud services like GCP, APNs (for Apple devices), and Google's messaging services for uninterrupted connectivity and command execution.

What else can Prey do?

Beyond its robust device tracking capabilities, Prey offers a comprehensive set of Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools that cater to the needs of businesses with extensive device fleets. These additional features enhance the overall efficiency and security of device management in various organizational settings.

  • Inventory Management: Features tools for device assignment, user management, and monitoring of technical attributes like IMEI and serial numbers.
  • User Roles and Permissions: Allows customization of user roles and permissions for different levels of access and control.
  • Device Management Solutions: Includes features for massive fleet organization, custom APK deployments, and integration with external platforms through a developer API.
  • Scheduled Security Automation: Enables IT managers to schedule specific actions based on device events, like hardware changes or charging status.

Comparison of Features

Choosing the right device tracking solution involves a careful comparison of features to meet specific needs. Whether for individual workers or entire fleets, the right choice can significantly enhance security and efficiency. Below is a comparison table highlighting the differences between Apple's Find My and Prey's tracking features, illustrating their suitability for various contexts.

FAQ about Device Tracking

Device tracking, even when it can be a simple subject, can raise numerous questions, especially when ensuring the safety and security of personal or business devices. From concerns about tracking devices when they're turned off to understanding capabilities in different connectivity scenarios, these FAQs aim to clarify common queries, providing peace of mind and informed decision-making.

Q: Can devices be tracked when location services are turned off or disabled?

A: Both Apple’s Find My and Prey offer solutions with different approaches for this scenario. With Apple's Find My, if Location Services are turned off, activating Lost Mode will temporarily re-enable them until the mode is deactivated. Prey, on the other hand, employs various tracking methods like GPS, Wi-Fi triangulation, and IP geolocation, allowing it to track devices even with GPS location services turned off.

Q: Can devices be tracked if they are not connected to the internet?

A: For both Apple’s Find My and Prey, devices need to be connected to the internet for the initial activation of their lost modes. However, iPhones running iOS 15 or later can be located offline using Apple's Find My network, even if the device’s battery is drained (up to 24 hours after it is powered off). Prey, in contrast, requires an internet connection to locate devices.

Q: How accurate is the tracking provided by these services?

A: The accuracy of tracking varies depending on several factors, including the environment and available technology. Apple's Find My service typically offers precise location tracking using GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks. Prey also uses GPS and Wi-Fi triangulation, along with IP geolocation, to offer reliable tracking. However, environments with weak signals or limited access to these technologies may affect the accuracy of the tracking results.

Q: Why is device tracking protection crucial for businesses?

A: The necessity for robust device tracking in business settings is highlighted by several high-profile incidents. For example, in 2010, an Apple software engineer once left a prototype iPhone at a bar, leaking Apple’s -back then- newest iPhone ahead of time.

In the healthcare sector, Coplin Health System suffered a data breach due to a stolen laptop, emphasizing the vulnerability of unsecured devices. Similarly, a stolen laptop led to a breach affecting 34,000 individuals in another healthcare-related incident. These examples underscore the critical importance of device tracking and security measures in protecting sensitive data and maintaining business integrity.

Matching Your Needs with the Right Tracker

In the comparison between Apple's Find My and Prey for device tracking, both platforms exhibit distinct strengths tailored to different user needs. Apple's Find My, with its intuitive interface and seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem, stands out for those dedicated to Apple products. It offers unique features like re-enabling location services in Lost Mode and offline tracking capabilities in newer iOS versions, making it a reliable choice for Apple device users. However, its limitation to Apple devices can be a constraint in diverse technological environments.

Prey, on the other hand, shines with its multi-OS compatibility, catering to a wider range of devices. This feature alone gives it an edge in environments where various operating systems coexist, such as in business and educational settings. Beyond just tracking, Prey's comprehensive fleet management tools are a game-changer. It allows for sophisticated device management, including user role assignments, device loans, and scheduled automation. The versatility and extensive functionality of Prey make it an invaluable asset for organizations seeking a robust, all-encompassing solution for managing and securing a diverse array of devices.

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