Most of us have experienced that feeling at some point, you reach for your phone but it’s not there. What follows is usually an increasingly rapid patting of all your pockets and a rising feeling of dread. Then you realize: the taxi, the restaurant, the man who bumped in to you earlier. Your phone could be anywhere now.
In situations like this, you have several options to choose from, many of us will go down the route of: retrace your steps, call your carrier, call your insurance, await a new phone and sim. But with the right app and a few minutes set up time you have a far greater chance of retrieving your device quickly. That’s where Cerberus Anti Theft comes in, free for a week and then a one time cost of just €4.99 ($5.65 or £3.70). If you use it just once, chances are you’ve already made your money back.
Available in a variety of forms, there is a version for everyone:
Alternatively they offer a disguised version which instead appears on your phone under the name of “System Framework” and features a stock Android icon.
For rooted users you have a few more choices, they offer a flashable zip for both standard and disguised versions to integrate it in your Rom. This means even if your device is factory reset by someone, you can still use the app.
Once set up, you can access the app via dialing a number of your choosing as if you were making a call. This will bring up the login page making the app inaccessible to anyone else. From here you can enable features you would like to run such as: secretly taking a photograph and emailing it to you, along with the location of the device if a wrong unlock code is entered in to your lock screen too many times, alerts if another sim is placed in your device and a Tasker like interface to set up rules for many different actions.
The web interface is where this app really comes in to its own. To access your devices remotely you can head to their website, after logging in you will be greeted by a simple display showing you where your devices currently are on a Google map, battery life and drop down menus to select a specific device and command.
The available commands cover you for pretty much any situation you might find yourself in when your phone goes missing. These are:
Get device info (such as sim card and Wi-Fi details)
Get location history
Lock the device
Set off an alarm with a message
Display a message
Get SMS and call logs
Make your phone call someone with or without speakerphone
Make your device send an SMS
Record audio, video and pictures
Start emergency mode (which gives you regular updates on ‘)
Wipe the device and/or Sd card
Reboot the device
Back up your data
Start an app
Start screen recording
With this arsenal of commands at your disposal, reclaiming you device should be a much easier task. The latest update to version 3+ also brings material design, the options to disable USB debugging and requiring a password if you want to uninstall. If you haven’t used this app before or in a while it is definitely worth a few minutes of your time.
We spoke to Jake Fletcher a resident of Monaco, who whilst in England was able to regain his device by providing police with photographs taken after it was stolen:
XDA: Could you tell us, how your phone went missing?
J, Fletcher: One evening on my journey home, I was mugged by a group who took everything I had on me.
XDA: That must have been terrible! Did you hold any hope for retrieving your phone?
J, Fletcher: No, I thought that was it, it was gone. I didn’t have insurance so I thought I would have to spend a lot buying another.
XDA: And how did you proceed from there? Were the police your first call?
J, Fletcher: Yes, I phoned the police straight away when I got home.
XDA: Did they give you any indication that you would get your device back?
J, fletcher: Well first they had to find the people who took it, they gave me no guarantee that my phone could be retrieved, even if they did catch the culprits. They told me the chances of getting it back were slim.
XDA: So just how did you get your phone back?
J, Fletcher: When the police left I went online to let people know that my phone had been stolen and that I would only be contactable there. It was then that I saw the photo taken on my phone. It was one of the criminals taken in a takeaway maybe 45 minutes after my phone was stolen.
XDA: And from these the police were able to identify the thieves?
J, Fletcher: No, but I recognized the location where the photo was taken, so the police went there to investigate further, they watched CCTV footage that they had. From there they were able to find the culprits, arrest them and return my belongings.
Like many things in life it is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. With no visible battery or memory usage, Cerberus is very much an app you can set up and then forget about for months at a time. Download it today and one day you may be very glad you took the time to, whether it is reclaim your phone from thieves or just to make your phone sound an alarm so you can find it down the back of the sofa.
Do you have a plan for if your phone goes missing? leave us a comment below!