Monday, October 23, 2017

miFon will find and protect lost Android phones


Gizmo Editor Review

Considering how much we love our mobile phones, you’d think we would take better care of them. One report I found said 3 million Americans lose their phones in a year’s time and 2 million more have their phones stolen. The numbers were higher in many other countries.

New phone-tracking apps are helping reduce phone losses, but no app that I’ve encountered takes tracking, security and recovery farther than miFon does for Androids. Developed by a group of Indian professionals working in the UAE, miFon is a collection of utilities and mini-applications designed to keep your Android phone secure, healthy and in your possession.

An example of the miFon features is an option called miVac that scans all of the apps installed on your phone looking for evidence of viruses, malware or other malicious code. Another called xFit weeds out unused and extraneous files to keep the phone working smoothly.

The app will automatically run backups on your contacts and media files and it places an SOS button on the miFon home screen so a user in danger can discreetly send a message to a trusted phone number. That’s four very useful programs, each of which typically requires a separate app, that miFon has packaged under one umbrella.

But I installed miFon because I was especially interested in the security and tracking features that it offers. Like other tracking apps, it located my phone as soon as I installed the program and it tags that location, with a timestamp, on a Google map on the miFon home screen.

I wanted to see what tools I could use if I left my phone on a park bench, in the back seat of an Uber, or if it got stolen. I logged into my account on the miFon website and used the miFon Genie to get its “last seen” location with GPS coordinates, directions from my location, and the option to see a satellite view.

Now, let’s say someone is messing with the phone. Using the Genie, I activated the seeKie feature, which caused the access screen on my phone to go black and display a stern notice: “This is a LOST PHONE” with a phone number to call to “contact the rightful owner.”  That’s not exactly accusing anyone of stealing the phone, but they’ll get the picture.

And if you want add some extra punch to that notice, you can deliver it with an accompanying siren. I tried that feature and it spooked the dogs and startled my wife, who was two rooms away from me. It will thoroughly get their attention.

miFon has other weapons in its security arsenal. The Genie will let you remotely change your screen lock code, for example. And a feature called thEfie will snap a photo of someone while they are trying to get past your lock screen. When I entered a few random numbers, thEfie silently activated the phone’s front-facing camera, snapped a photo, and immediately emailed it to me along with a location map. I was impressed by that trick, though not by my unexpected selfie.

All of the tools offered in the miFon app are listed on the miFon website and on the app’s download page in the Google Play Store. The listings are short on details and I had to learn the program using more experimentation and trial and error than I would have liked. But once I got comfortable with miFon, I was convinced that it would be a valuable addition to any Android phone.

Users who download the app for free can use the app’s advanced features such as thEfie for 30 days and can keep them after that period by paying an annual subscription fee.  


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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