If you’ve not heard of it, Prey is a great little security tool, that’s designed to help you retrieve lost computer equipment. It runs on a variety of platforms, and is designed so that you can mark a device as missing on their website, and then receive reports when it connects to the net.
Those reports can include location information and, depending on the platform, even a photograph taken by the devices camera. It’s free for up to three devices, too, so well worth a try.
I’ve had it installed on my laptop for a while, but been unable to get it to work on my iPod touch. I’ve marked the iPod as missing, moved it around, and still not received any reports. The Prey web site explains that you need to make sure ‘Location Services’ are enabled on the iOS device, so that the software knows when your gadget has been moved.
On the face of it, this is a simple thing to do. But the instructions on the Prey website omit to mention on important thing, which turned out to be the stumbling block.
If you simply install the app on your iOS device, and then mark it as missing on the Prey website, nothing’s going to happen. You can check the Location Services settings in iOS as many times as you like, but you won’t see an entry for Prey in there. It’s never asked for a location, so it’s never going to be able to send one – I even moved it between home and office, until I realised this.
What you have to do to make Prey work on iOS, it seems, is to mark the device as missing using the Prey app itself, at least once, rather than on the website. Do that, and then you’ll be prompted on the iPod or iPhone as to whether or not you want Prey to know your location.
Tap to allow it and then, hey presto, Prey appears in the ‘Location Services’ section of the Settings app, and everything works as it should.
This might seem obvious to some folk, but I bet there are quite a few who simply wonder why on earth Prey just doesn’t appear in the Location Services list, and it never seems to send any reports.