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Where’s My Droid? can help find that lost Android phone

by Caitlin M. Foyt

Where's My Droid? is an app that allows you to send text messages directly to your phone, which activates two different methods that help you locate your expensive smartphone.

If you know your phone is somewhere close, maybe it's tangled up in a long blanket or you left it in your coat pocket, you can send a text message to your phone that will crank up your ringer volume (even if it's set to vibrate) and then ring for either 30 seconds, one minute or five minutes so you can locate it by ear.

If you're like me and constantly misplace your phone (and then prematurely panic), you can rejoice knowing that this app is very effective. Just be aware that it is going to make you jump very high. More often than not, my phone ends up being right under my nose. Before installing this app, I'd never even heard my phone on maximum volume. Trust me, at close range it's extremely loud.

If your phone isn't simply across the room, you can send another kind of text message, which will give you the device's latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates. There will also be a link to Google Maps, so you can get turn-by-turn directions to your phone's location.

The secret to these mysterious test messages are code words, which are actually quite easy to set up. Launch the app, and click on "Attention Word," which is the option that will disable silent/vibrate mode and ring. The suggested phrase is "Where's My Droid?", but you can change this phrase to whatever you want. Just make sure it's something you'll remember. Then, scroll down, click "Ring When Lost," and then select how much time you think you'll need to find your ringing phone.

To set the word that the app will respond to in order to give the phone's GPS, click "Attention Word" for GPS from the menu choices. Again, the suggested phrase is pretty generic: "GPS My Droid," and you can personalize it if you like. Then, you're done.

One potential flaw with this app, though it's not really the developer's fault, is that the GPS feature will not work if the phone's GPS function isn't turned on. Because people don't plan to lose their phones, I guess I'm just going to have to get into the habit of leaving that feature turned on all the time.

The next time you can't find your Droid, use your friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, roommate, whomever's phone to text the code word that corresponds to your panic situation. Make sure you use a smartphone or else you obviously won't be able to click on the Google Maps link. This is a must-have application for even the most responsible person. It can save you at least a minor headache, and, more seriously, the cost of a brand new Android phone.