Plan B is an Android locating app released by the mobile security company Lookout to find your lost Android mobile device. It says it’s the only mobile tracking app with which you do not need to download and install before you lose your handset.
If you own an Android Smartphone and it goes missing without any mobile security app installed, you do not have to be panic. Simply go to Android market and sign in using your Google account, then search for plan B. Then you can download and install it into your lost phone, and it will run automatically. Keep in mind that Android does not allow you to install any apps from the web by default, you need to enable it beforehand, otherwise it’s a misery and even Plan B could not help you locate your handset.
Once done, you can sign in to Gmail from PC or mobile device using the same account and you will find Emails sent from Lookout Plan B showing the location of your lost Android mobile phone on Google Maps. You can click on the link to load Google Maps to zoom in or zoom out so that you will see the more accurate location.
Plan B sends location Emails to you in the following 10 minutes updating the location of your handset. After 10 minutes or if you do not receive any Email from them, you can use another handset to send a SMS with the word locate to your missing Android device to activate it again, then you can check your Email inbox.
Plan B uses GPS and cell sites to determine the location of your handset, which means the it is not that accurate if GPS is not on. But at least you can view the rough location which may help you find your device. In general, the accuracy is about some twenty meters which is acceptable.
Unlike other mobile tracing apps, Plan B uses your Google account in stead of IMEI number to locate your Android handset. If the thief makes a factory restore, you will not be able to install Plan B into your phone as your Google account will be removed. Also if the SIM card is being taken out, or the battery is dead or there is no network coverage, you are unable to locate your missing device. Well Plan B is not to blame for this as other mobile locating apps have the same issues.
What’s missing in plan B is the capability of remote lock and wipe, which is vital and widely seen in other mobile locating services like Find My iPhone and BlackBerry protect. Furthermore, it does not allow you to view live location information on a map and you can not refresh the map. There is still a lot of room for improvements, however it does give us a new idea that mobile tracking app can be installed after your phone is missing.
Plan B is now available in USA with AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile, it requires Android 2.0+ (exclude 3.0+).
Update, remote lock and wipe are only available to paid version.