16 April 2009

Bad news for iPhone thieves

Over the past year, we have received thousands of emails asking when Undercover would make it to the iPhone. We can finally provide a definitive answer: today!

We have been working for over 9 months on the iPhone version. It's not just a port of our Mac version, but a brand new application and - even more important - a brand new backend. Undercove features a secure, web based system that you can use to view your iPhone's last locations or open them in Google Earth. You can also use the system to report your iPhone (or iPod touch) lost or stolen. More information about the product itself is available at the Undercover iPhone page, so I won't repeat this information here.

Instead, I would like to focus on the features that make Undercover truly innovative:

  • Undercover is built to manage multiple devices per user: it provides a beautiful interface to easily manage several iPhones and/or iPods. This could be very convenient for a family, a school or a company.

  • The web interface is really easy to use. You can view the last 10 locations at a glance, without having to navigate cumbersome screens or entering arcane hex strings.

  • There is no way to prevent any iPhone app from being uninstalled (Apple apps are an exception here). However, Undercover significantly increases the recovery chance by pretending to be a game. That's right: when Undercover is launched on a device that is flagged as stolen, it will pretend to be loading game. This will win some time, so that Undercover can obtain the most accurate location.

  • In order to increase the chance of recovery even more, we will be releasing additional iPhone apps. These apps know how to talk to the Undercover server. So even if Undercover is removed from your phone, its location can still be transmitted. More information on these helper apps will be available soon.

  • Although we provide a web-based system, we still offer full theft recovery assistance. So just like with our Mac version, you still have access to our world-class recovery center.

  • In addition to reporting an iPhone stolen, you can also report it lost. In that case, the finder will see a message that you can set when you reported the iPhone lost.

Make sure to have a look at the guided tour movie at the Undercover iPhone page. Winnie will guide you through the process of reporting an iPhone lost or stolen and she will show you what happens on your stolen device.

We hope you'll like Undercover iPhone. Keep in mind that this is just the first version. We have some great ideas in mind for the upcoming updates (which will be free, of course).


Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be cheeky or anything, but how exactly is Undercover for the iPhone any different from the software that you criticise in this post? http://www.orbicule.com/blog/2008/12/undercover-and-iphone.html

Quote: "Unfortunately, though, all these solutions rely on the fact that the thief himself should launch the theft-recovery application."

Isn't this exactly what Undercover for iPhone is based on or am I missing something...?

Peter Schols said...

The difference between Undercover and the other solutions is that Undercover does not need to be launched by the thief. We provide free helper apps, such as Found that can transmit the stolen phone's location to your Undercover account. So even if Undercover is removed by the thief, you can still track your stolen device.

In addition, Undercover disguises itself as a game, reducing chances that it will be removed.

These are the two most important differences between Undercover and other theft-recovery solutions on the iPhone.

Jonathan said...

Are there any planned updates for this to work under 3.0 with the pin security measure in place?

Peter Schols said...

Jonathan, there is no way to work around the passcode lock, unfortunately. However, we will update Undercover iPhone for OS 3.0

Jonathan said...

I was just wondering whether the notification system, which seems to work while a device is passcode locked, could enable Undercover to transmit information upon notification of theft. While I don't want to give anyone access to my data, I would like to attempt to recover it if lost/stolen as well.

Peter Schols said...

The push notification system will indeed work when the device is passcode locked. However, it won't be possible to start apps when the phone is passcode locked, so it won't be possible to transmit information.