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What is Prey?

Prey is an anti-theft tracking software for your laptop, phone and tablet that lets you remotely locate, lock, wipe and recover it if ever stolen, or simply missing. You do this by logging into an web platform where you can also trigger actions like sounding an alarm or show an onscreen message to let the thief know you’re after him.

How does it work?

Basically you install a tiny agent on your laptop, tablet or phone, which silently waits for a remote signal to wake up and work its magic. This signal is sent from our hosted web service whenever you wish to gather information or trigger an action, like locking down the device. That’s pretty much it.

I’m a tech guy, just give me the details.

Ok, sure. On laptops, the agent checks in regularly by sending an HTTP request to see whether it should gather information, perform any actions or stay asleep. On mobiles, the process stays off and waits for a push notification in order to perform this check. The laptop client is written in Node.js and both the Android and iOS in their native tongues.

For more information, check our code repository.

Why is it different from X or Y?

Good question! First and foremost, Prey runs on laptops as well as phones and tablets, meaning you can keep track of all of your devices on a single place, whether handheld or laptop. Secondly, Prey focuses on recovery of stolen devices — in contrast to letting you find it only when misplaced — meaning it provides the information that police departments need to do their job. And thirdly, the software that runs on your device is 100% open, transparent, and free from sinister spying from big brother.

Oh, and one last thing: it works.

What platforms are supported?

Any of the following platforms or newer: Android 2.2, iOS 4.3, Mac OS X Lion, Windows XP, and most flavors of Linux.

On which countries does it work?

All of them. As long as you live on Earth, Prey will work for you. We’re pretty sure it could also work in outer space, but mapping your position out there wouldn’t be particularly easy.

How much does it cost?

We offer a free plan with a limited (but pretty wide) set of features, and paid plans that start from 5 USD a month.

Ok, great. How do I get it?

Head on to our downloads page and run the installer either from your device’s app store (phones & tablets) or by downloading the package (Windows, Mac, Linux). From there on you’ll just need to follow instructions.

I don’t have an account. Can I download Prey?

Sure you can. You can create an account on our Sign Up page or directly using Prey’s installer.

One of my devices is missing, but Prey wasn’t installed on it. Is there something I can do?

Unless you have some kind of remote access — which is unlikely — there’s not much you can do. Prey needs to be installed on the device before it goes missing.

Does it work for desktop computers as well as laptops?

Yes, Prey works just fine on laptops, desktops as well as tablet computers. Remember though that if the desktop PC doesn’t have Wi-Fi capabilities, Prey won’t be able to get a fix on the device’s location.

So no Windows Mobile support?

Nope, not yet.

Will Prey spy on me?

No. As long as you don’t send the activation signal to your PC or phone, Prey will sleep calmly without doing a thing. And when you do, it will only gather the information you request and send it. Not a bit of data is gathered without your consent.

Does (or will) Prey include a keylogger?

That’s a big NO. If you want to install a keylogger on your PC you can always ask Google.

What about my privacy? What do you guys do with my data?

Nothing — trust us. And even if you don’t, you can always check the source code to make sure Prey isn’t doing anything weird while running on your device. No information or reports are collected unless you request it, and no trace is left whether you decide to delete them.

And what about database backups?

Good point. We do keep database backups for the past week, but we don’t keep any copies of the images contained in reports, which are usually the sensitive pieces of data.

Once a report is deleted, all images are completely removed from our system.

What about running Prey on a device someone else uses? Is that a violation of privacy?

Good question. First of all, if the device doesn’t belong to you, you should immediately remove Prey as that is not only a violation of privacy but also a violation of our Terms of Service. Now, if the device is indeed yours (i.e. company, school, university, etc) then the answer really depends on the privacy laws in your country.

However, we do have the ability to completely remove modules from being used on devices under an account. So if you’re concerned about privacy issues please contact us. We can permanently disable any module you want (i.e. the webcam module for taking pictures), so you can rest assured that you won’t get into any kind of trouble.

What does reports per device mean?

Reports per device is the maximum number of reports that can be stored for each of your devices on your Prey account. Whenever you activate Prey—marking your device as missing—you will begin to receive reports with all the information you requested (such as the screenshot, webcam picture, geolocation, etc).

Free accounts can store up to 10 reports per device, which means that when the eleventh arrives, the oldest one will be deleted since the maximum capacity has been reached. You can always delete old reports to make room for the most important ones.

Will Prey affect my device’s performance?

In Linux, Mac and Android, Prey doesn’t use any memory-resident agents so the answer is zero, until the program is actually run. In Windows we do use an agent but it only requires around 5 megs of RAM. In iOS, Prey will use some minimum power, but nothing you’ll really notice.

Why does my antivirus warn me about Prey?

First of all, relax — it’s not a virus. It’s just a false positive and it’s actually not that uncommon.

You can add an exception on your antivirus or you can also let Prey be quarantined, however in that case some stuff may not work. Please let us know if you get a false positive so we can get in contact with the antivirus vendor and get those files whitelisted.

How does Prey communicate with your servers?

Only using secure, encrypted connections. This was previously a feature for paid accounts only, but we decided that privacy and security come first so we gave it away for all users.

Can Prey trace a computer connected via Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi?

Yes, it will, since Prey only needs to get a list of the nearby Wi-Fi access points to get a location, it doesn’t really require for the PC to be connected to any of those networks.

I’m using another anti-theft application, can I use Prey too?

Yes, both applications are independent from one another so there shouldn’t be any problem. We recommend you test Prey to see if everything is working fine, and if it isn’t, then you may consider uninstalling the other one.

Can Prey be removed by thieves?

Not while your device is password-protected. Guest accounts can’t install or uninstall software.

And what if they format the computer?

That’s a different story. We encourage you to add a BIOS password and disable booting from removable devices on your PC, so that the thief will be forced to boot into the previous installation and thus, not be able to format your hard disk easily.

If you have a Mac, there’s a firmware password utility on your Tiger/Leopard OSX installation DVD (look for it in in Applications/Utilities). On newer OS X versions you’ll find the utility by booting from the recovery partition.

Prey sucks!

If you really think so then great! It means there’s work to be done. Please don’t miss the opportunity to share your opinion or ideas with us. There’s no single email we don’t respond to.

Prey rocks!

Thanks! That doesn’t look like a question though. :)