Remote Data Wiping for iPhone and Android
Whether you've lost your smartphone or know that it has been stolen, the entire experience can be extremely disturbing. Just imagine how many things we store on our phones these days: emails, text messages, addresses, passwords, documents, private information, and the list goes on. A lost phone can be extremely troublesome for its owner when they need to go and change tons of account information and check for identity theft (read about ways to prevent ID theft). One way to help secure your phone is to install an application that can remotely wipe the phone of all its information in the case of loss or theft. These applications are extremely useful and can prove invaluable if your phone falls into the wrong hands.
The iPhone has its own remote data wiping application made by Apple. If you search in the App Store for an app made by Apple called "Find My iPhone," you can download and install it on your device. The application is free. There's only one problem: it requires a MobileMe account, which costs $99 a year. Unfortunately, data wiping is one of those things Apple thinks should be closed off to developers. So as far as we know, there are currently no third-party or free programs that can remotely wipe an iPhone. The big decision to make here is: is your data worth $99 a year? If so, I would certainly recommend the application.
So you have an Android phone? Well good news for you: unlike Apple who controls and locks down pretty much everything on the phone, you have more options for remotely wiping your phone.
One of the first things that I recommend doing when your Android phone is lost or stolen is to change your Google Account password. A huge number of Android services are linked to that password and account. Your calendar, email, etc. are all dependent upon a continuous connection to your Google Account. This won't "wipe" the data that is already there, but it will stop all future downloading of information.
The first app option is Mobile Defense. This application is installed on the phone and you can then manage your phone and remotely wipe the data from a web interface. Currently, the site has suspended downloads "in preparation for a new release." However, you can go and sign up to be notified as soon as it is available. https://www.mobiledefense.com/
The next app is called "WaveSecure." This company has recently been acquired by McAfee. However, you can still download and install the app. It does require a yearly subscription of $19.50. This is a lot cheaper than Apple's iPhone subscription, however. https://www.wavesecure.com/
Finally, there is another contender in the smartphone security world: Norton. Currently, they are developing an application that promises to secure your smartphone just like a computer. One of the features is a remote data wiping application. You can learn more about the app and download it from Norton's site here: http://www.symantec.com/norton/smartphone-security-android
As you can see, mainly because of the nature of Apple and Android, the Android phones have a lot more options. If you don't like this about Apple, read about switching to Android here. Android apps will continue to become more and more full-featured. In the future I wouldn't doubt if a completely free remote wiping application becomes available (currently, I was unable to locate a free program, mainly because these applications require web hosts, etc. to run them, which costs the developers money). Continue to check back in the market for more options.
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