In the wake of recent stories focusing on iCloud's Find My Mac/iPhone feature -- one positive and one negative -- it's worth noting that there are a number of different services to help locate or erase a lost Mac.

NewImage
TUAW profiles Undercover 5, a $49 service that uses GPS, a new keylogging feature in version 5, the FaceTime camera and a clever "Plan B" to fool technologically inept criminals:

After you've collected FaceTime pics, geolocations, screenshots, and keylog files (all shown automatically in your "Thief Report" section of the Undercover HQ center) you can quickly and simply submit all this information to the local police. But what's even cooler -- and a bit out of a Hollywood movie -- is that if the police can't recover the stolen Mac, you can always resort to Undercover's aptly named "Plan B."

Plan B allows you to launch a simulated hardware failure on your Mac so the thief has no choice but to take it into an Apple Store for repair. Once you track it to the Apple Store (or Best Buy or wherever) you then activate part two of plan B -- you tell the Mac to display a message on the screen saying the Mac has been stolen and the repair shop should hold onto it and call the police.

There's also Prey, an open source computer tracking service that offers both free and paid plans, though for users with a single device, the free plan may be sufficient.

Apple recommends and sells Computrace LoJack in its retail stores and online. The product promises to locate or erase a tracked computer or they'll pay $1,000. LoJack comes in 1-year and 3-year plans for $49 or $99 respectively.

Top Rated Comments

67952 Avatar
137 months ago
What's to stop someone from stealing a Mac, and on the first boot putting an install disc in and completely wiping the operating system?

If someone did that it would have no ties to anyone's iCloud and wouldn't be trackable or controllable.

Just saying, none of these services really protect you.

A firmware password. You can't wipe and reinstall the OS if you have a firmware password set.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Repo Avatar
137 months ago
A firmware password.

Does that protect against someone removing the HDD?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
inlinevolvo Avatar
137 months ago
How do you setup a firmware password?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macnerd93 Avatar
137 months ago
A firmware password. You can't wipe and reinstall the OS if you have a firmware password set.

you can quite easily bypass the master password. I had to do it on my old Power Mac G4 tower after the previous owner set one and forgot it as I wanted to upgrade from Jaguar to Tiger.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
noodlelegs Avatar
137 months ago
firmware password, boot camp questions

I have a couple questions:
Can someone explain more about this firmware password thing? Also, I usually run boot camp Windows 7 on my macbook pro. How do I protect that part of the computer? Will Undercover 5 work with both windows and os x?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brdeveloper Avatar
137 months ago
My Undercover license was eligible for the free upgrade. I'm glad I've only used Undercover in tests (not in a real stealing event).

The keylogger is a nice new feature in the version 5.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

Gurman: Apple Considering New High-End iPhone Alongside Pro and Pro Max

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:07 am PST by
Apple has discussed selling a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside the Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 at the earliest, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this timeframe, the device would be part of the iPhone 16 lineup or later. In a September 2022 edition of his weekly "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said there was "potential" for an iPhone 15 Ultra to replace the iPhone 15 Pro...
ipad air purple

Deals: M1 iPad Air Hits Record-Low Prices at TigerDirect, Starting at $313.99 (48% Off) [Updated]

Saturday February 4, 2023 10:05 am PST by
Online retailer TigerDirect has slashed pricing on the M1 iPad Air in several colors, offering the base 64GB configuration for just $313.99 in Purple and Pink. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with TigerDirect. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. That's a savings of 48% compared to Apple's normal $599.00...
mac studio pink

Apple May Not Launch Updated Mac Studio With M2 Ultra Chip Due to Similarity With Upcoming Mac Pro

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:06 am PST by
A new version of the Mac Studio with the "M2 Ultra" chip is unlikely to arrive in the near future, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explained that since the upcoming Apple silicon Mac Pro is "very similar in functionality to the Mac Studio," Apple may wait until the release of M3- or M4-series chips to update the machine, or...
webkit vs chromium feature

Google Working on Browser for iOS That Would Break Apple's App Store Rules

Saturday February 4, 2023 1:30 am PST by
Google's Chromium developers are working on an experimental web browser for iOS that would break Apple's browser engine restrictions, The Register reports. The experimental browser, which is being actively pursued by developers, uses Google's Blink engine. Yet if Google attempted to release it on the App Store, it would not pass Apple's App Review process. Apple's App Store rules dictate...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
top stories 4feb2023

Top Stories: New HomePod Launches, iOS 16.3.1 Coming Soon, and More

Saturday February 4, 2023 6:00 am PST by
This week saw the launch of the final product from Apple's January hardware announcements, with the second-generation HomePod making its way into customers' hands. Other news and rumors this week included signs of an interim iOS 16.3.1 bug fix update in the works as we await a fresh round of beta testing for a more significant iOS 16.4 update, a report on the potential dangers of using...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Apple's Second-Generation HomePod

Friday February 3, 2023 1:28 pm PST by
Today is the official launch day for the second-generation HomePod that was introduced in January, and we picked one up to compare it to the original HomePod that Apple discontinued in 2021. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, the second-generation HomePod looks a lot like the first-generation model, featuring the same rounded design and acoustic mesh...