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
151 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
151 months ago
A firmware password.

Does that protect against someone removing the HDD?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
inlinevolvo Avatar
151 months ago
How do you setup a firmware password?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macnerd93 Avatar
151 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
151 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
151 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

Apple car wheel icon feature yellow

Apple Cancels Electric Car Project

Tuesday February 27, 2024 11:05 am PST by
Apple has canceled all plans to release an autonomous, electric vehicle, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been working on an Apple Car for more than a decade and invested millions of dollars into development before deciding it was not a viable project. Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams today told approximately 2,000 employees working on the Apple Car that the project was canceled,...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
General Apps Messages

iOS 17.4 to Add This 'Groundbreaking' New Messaging Feature

Friday February 23, 2024 5:05 am PST by
With iOS 17.4, set to arrive in March 2024, Apple is bringing a new cryptographic security feature to iMessage called PQ3. This "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks," according to Apple. Let's break down what that means. Apple's iMessage service already supports end-to-end encryption, but security...
iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

iOS 18 Rumored to Be Compatible With These iPhone Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:31 am PST by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and thereby also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. The post was spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris, and it has since been deleted. However, this was likely because the...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Coming Soon With These New Features for Your iPhone

Monday February 26, 2024 6:08 am PST by
In a press release last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU, Apple Podcasts transcripts, and an iMessage security upgrade. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay...
applearcade

Game Developers Describe 'Smell of Death' Around Apple Arcade

Monday February 26, 2024 7:24 am PST by
Some game developers are dissatisfied with Apple Arcade amid concerns about the subscription service's future, a new report claims. Sources speaking to mobilegamer.biz described a "smell of death" around Apple's games subscription service and noted the difference between the company's investment in TV and music, and its interest in games. "At the very top of the company there needs to be a ...