PhoneSCREAM (“iTunes Link”:http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=303078448&mt=8) is the “first”:http://bak2u.com/phonebak.php of hopefully more anti-theft app from Singapore company “BAK2U”:http://bak2u.com/. The company develops anti-theft software for many mobile phones and laptops that can help increase your chances of retrieving your missing gadgets if you have their software installed.
Bak2U’s PhoneBAK software, currently available for most mobile phone platform, has some sophisticated features that will alert you when your phone is stolen, report the unauthorised SIM card’s information and also track the phone’s location via the mobile cell location.
BUT, for PhoneBAK to run on the iPhone, it probably requires the app to be running in the background for it to be able to detect and then send out the SMS without the thief’s knowledge, which was why the app never got the stamp of approval from Apple. That’s where PhoneSCREAM comes in.
h4. What is PhoneSCREAM
PhoneSCREAM is like the sad little cousin of PhoneBAK which might deter some clueless thief for a short while. What it does is when activated, should anyone lift the iPhone, the in-built accelerometer will detect the movement and scream – by default, a siren will be heard. To deactivate it, you just need to press the Home button. You can also custom record a warning via the mic and use that as the siren. To change to that or to two other siren sounds, just go to the Settings and select PScream and make your choices there. Pretty simple and easy to use.
See it in action here:
h4. How loud can it scream?
Therein lies the problems for this app. Its simplicity also makes it a less than effective way to deter theft of your iPhone. It’s main objective of alerting you when the iPhone is shifted, is easily thwarted if you had previously set the volume to low or silent. It will be more effective when the accelerometer detects the movement, when the siren goes, the app should also push the volume up to maximum for it to be effective. However, anyone who plugged their earphones to the iPhone, the PhoneSCREAM is rendered useless as the alert sounds comes out through the earphones.
h4. Press HOME and be home free
Furthermore, it’s too easy to deactivate the alarm. Like an alarm clock, most people’s first reaction to shut the alarm is to press the biggest button on the clock. For the iPhone, it is the Home button. When PhoneSCREAM is running and screaming its head off, by pressing the Home button, the alarm is switched off and voila, instant peace. A better option would be to set a numeric key lock that will only silent the siren if the right key combination is keyed in.
According to the app’s description in the App Store, PhoneSCREAM disables the auto lock so that it will always detect motion but will lock the iPhone when the siren is triggered. However, this doesn’t seem to work for the iPod Touch as when the siren goes off, after the Home button is pressed, the auto-lock did not lock the iPod Touch and just returns to the Springboard. Anyone with iPhone can verify that it will display the number pad for unlocking?
Another thing to add is that the app will keep your iPhone awake if it is activated. Forgot about it and your battery will probably go flat before it can start screaming.
h4. i-PhoneSCREAM – Give me PhoneBAK soon!
That said, it is unfortunate that due to Apple’s strict restriction over the SDK prevented Bak2U to offer PhoneBAK for the iPhone. Though PhoneSCREAM can serve as a _first line of defense, its limitations are apparent and makes it far less effective as an anti-theft software. Hopefully the guys at Bak2U will persevere and hopefully we’ll see a closer copy of PhoneBAK for the iPhone in the near future, or at least a beefed up PhoneSCREAM soon.
PhoneSCREAM (“iTunes Link”:http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=303078448&mt=8) is available at the App Store for US$0.99. Also check out other iPhone apps from “Bak2U”:http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewArtist?id=289735051 at the App Store.
h4. Screen shots