Ho can I remotely take a photo if my Macbook is stolen?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mikebike125, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Mikebike125 macrumors 6502

    Mikebike125

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    #1
    I will be taking my macbook Pro (2008 model) on vacation and want to know how to do some of the security things that I hear about people doing with their Macbooks. I have iPods and can use the "Where's my iPod" locator and see where it is on a map. Can I locate my Macbook like this if it gets stolen? Also, I here that people can remotely have their MB take a picture of the thief and mail it to them. How can I do this??

    Thanks.
     
  2. Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Location:
    Illinois
    #2


    your going on vacation....if ur laptop gets stolen I doubt you are going to get it back regardless if you take a picture of the thief....don't mean to bring you hope down but I have been on MRumors for almost a year now and I have yet to read a successful story of a recovered MBP/MBAir with the help of Find my iPhone (it does work on Macbook's but I don't know if yours has iCloud setup and all or if its even supported on a 2008) or even elsewhere.....

    I do however wish you good luck on your trip and hope you come back safely with all your belongings:)
     
  3. Acorn macrumors 68020

    Acorn

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    #3
    dont leave it in sight in your room. we have had the people who clean the room and come in to refresh towels and stuff steal a phone off the nightstand before. they are ninjas.
     
  4. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    #4
    Check out Prey. It's a great free application that does everything Find My Mac does and more (including taking a webcam image of the user and screenshot of what he's doing if you mark the computer as stolen).

    http://preyproject.com
     
  5. pauliewa macrumors newbie

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    Jul 8, 2012
  6. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

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    May 9, 2008
    #6
    I've heard good things about it too, but it's not as cheap as Prey and the only major feature of that from what I can tell is the simulated hardware failure mode. It's up to you to decide whether or not that's worth $49.
     
  7. Mikebike125 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mikebike125

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    #7
    Thanks guys and yes I will be hiding it out of sight and taking all the precautions I can. Are these programs the only way to have the MacBook take a picture of the thief or is there some way to do it with OSX?
     
  8. stuaz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    #8
    There is the find my mac feature in OSX but its iCloud related (Similar to find my iPhone).

    It does depend on your model of laptop though - only the later version really i think.
     
  9. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #9
    There is no way to do what you want via OS X.

    Orbicule's Witness turns the MBP's iSight camera into a motion detector that sends an instant alert to your iPhone along with still images. It can be configured to automatically arm and disarm itself using Location Services via a free iPhone app. I pair Witness with Undercover (buy both apps and you receive a 15% discount).

    I recommend using a PacSafe to secure valuables in a hotel room and other vulnerable locations. The PacSafe that I use is tiny when stashed in my bag but it holds my carry-on bag. There are larger PacSafes too. I connect the PacSafe to a radiator or plumbing in the bathroom.

    It makes no sense to me to spend $$$ to travel and then skimp on relatively insignificant expenditures to secure your belongings.
     
  10. themumu macrumors 6502a

    themumu

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sunnyvale
    #10
    What you have to consider is what would you actually do with that information if you do manage to get the thief's photo and location. Depending where you travel, law enforcement may not be very eager to help. Actually, it's likely that regardless of where you travel, they will not jump to help, unless you're some kind of special person with diplomatic privileges or something.

    Since your laptop is quite old, I think what you really want to make sure to preserve is data, not hardware. Do a full backup before you leave, and if you use it to offload any photos or videos, make sure to save them outside of the laptop. That means either upload them somewhere or burn CDs and mail them to yourself. The cost of that laptop is not high enough to justify playing a detective and dealing with questionable characters trying to get it back.
     
  11. iRyu macrumors regular

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    May 22, 2010
    #11

    from ur experience, which better? witness or undercover?
     
  12. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

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    May 9, 2008
    #12
    A 2008 MacBook Pro is still worth considerable money, certainly more than the $0 that Prey costs or $50 that Undercover costs.

    There's no need to deal with questionable characters- just report the theft to the police. They might not help, but there's always the chance that they will, especially when you can provide photographs and a location.

    I'm not him, but I can tell you that they're two different products. Undercover is supposed to help you recover the computer in case it's stolen, while Witness is supposed to help you catch the person who's broken into your house. They're not replacements for each other.
     
  13. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 26, 2011
    #13
    Well, they do different things... Undercover is a recovery app. Witness is basically a burglar alarm. The hope is that Witness makes it possible to prevent the theft from occurring; Undercover is available if the thief gets away.

    Witness doesn't just protect computer hardware. Since it turns the iSight camera into a motion detection system, it is a low-cost home/dorm room burglar alarm.

    Orbicule works with law enforcement to recover stolen gear. Undercover also has some nice tweaks that Prey lacks. If the stolen item is not recovered you can obtain a refund from Orbicule.

    The lifetime cost of Undercover/Witness is very reasonable. Coverage is transferable when you get a new Mac. The family license that I originally purchased for $40 (now $59) covers up to 5 Macs and there are no upgrade fees when the software is updated. Single user/student licenses are $49/$39 respectively. Witness costs $39/$29 students and the license is good for every Mac that you own.
     
  14. themumu macrumors 6502a

    themumu

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    #14
    I'd like someone to go and try that. I think the chances that cops will do anything more than just take your statement and issue a report are less than 1%. That's why I say that the money and effort spent is useless, unless you're willing to take matters into your own hands, and I know I wouldn't, not for a laptop.
     
  15. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #15
    Orbicule staff will take an active role with the police to get your computer back. Prey Project won't.
     
  16. James Craner, Jul 14, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2012

    James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #16
    Well, it was not stolen, but earlier this year I accidentally left my iPad in a shop in a busy shopping centre in Bristol, England. I used find my iPhone to locate the iPad and sent a message for someone to call me if they found it. I was lucky and the person that found it called me 10 mins later. I got my iPad back and gave them a small reward for calling me.

    It is worth noting that you have to enable find my iPhone on the device, before it goes out of your hands, in order to locate it.

    In the UK there has been stories in the media of people recovering iPads using photo stream. This is where the person takes pictures with their iDevice and photo stream then syncs them back to their other apple devices.
     
  17. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

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    May 9, 2008
    #17
    Money and effort are basically zero. Prey is free and all you need to do is set the status of your computer to stolen to get a report emailed to you.

    The chances of the police doing more than just issuing a report may be less than 1% (may I know where you got that statistic from?) but if using a free application brings the possibility of recovery up (even if it's only by very little) I'd still say it's worth installing.

    After all, it can't possibly make the computer harder to track down.

    What can Orbicule's staff tell the police other than what the police can already see by logging into your account?

    I'm guessing if the police aren't interested in helping you out even if you provide your recovery program login details, they're not going to help out even if there's someone on the telephone telling them the same thing. I could be wrong though.
     
  18. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #18
    Perhaps Orbicule's staff may not be able to tell law enforcement anything more than I would be able to, but one significant plus is that Orbicule will be handling the details instead of me.

    Prey is actually more expensive than Undercover if you upgrade to a Pro plan. You don't receive one-on-one support unless you upgrade; support for the free plan is via an online forum.

    Undercover also has some features that Prey does not:

    "The nice extra features come in the form of their "Plan B." Basically, if recovery is proving difficult and it's not logging in, it can simulate a serious screen failure. The screen will get progressively darker in the hope that the thief will just try to sell it or bring it to a Mac store to repair it.

    Once the IP address changes and it appears to be in new hands, it can play and show a recorded message explaining that the laptop has been bricked due to theft and that there's a finders fee for its safe return."

    I signed up for Undercover soon after it was introduced over six years ago; Prey wasn't available at the time. I understand that many people will opt for free over a paid service any time it's available, but based on what I know I would still go with Undercover.

    I think that Witness is more exciting than Undercover since it offers the possibility of preventing the hardware from being stolen in the first place.
     
  19. TheMacBookPro, Jul 14, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2012

    TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    #19
    You'd still have to go to the police station to get a police report. Not exactly difficult to leave your login details with them when you're there, or change the email which receives the reports to the officer's (or temporary) email address.

    Depends how you look at it. Undercover is a one-time $50 charge, while Prey is a monthly $5 charge. You can stick with the free plan and get the paid version if your computer gets stolen. Then revert back to the free plan if the computer is found or if you decide that it's gone for good.

    Prey is only more expensive once you get your computer stolen more than 10 times.

    If you really want to get technical, Prey's basic $5/month plan covers 3 devices (including phones and tablets), while Undercover's $50 one-time fee only covers 1 computer. $60 for 5 devices I think?

    I am aware that Orbicule will give you a refund if they can't get your computer back though, which is something that Prey do not offer.

    Yes, that's what I said- the only major feature I can find that Prey doesn't have is the faux hardware failure feature.

    I'm not sure why you found it necessary to bold the finders fee part- Orbicule is not paying that finders fee, it's just telling you that you have the choice of adding that part as an incentive for the computer to be returned.

    With Prey, you can show a message of your choice on the computer's screen, and yes, you can use text-to-speech to make your message get spoken too.

    [​IMG]

    (the text in the box is editable to whatever you desire- that's just the sample text they put in there as a guideline)

    Of course you're free to choose whatever program suits you the best. There's no need to justify it to me or anything like that.

    Sorry if I'm missing something, but I don't see how Witness would prevent your computer from being stolen. It's basically a CCTV system with motion detection from what I can tell.

    It would definitely help with thief identification though.
     
  20. iRyu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    #20

    So if my rmbp installed undercover and one day my house broke it, i couldnt track it or what. I can get a full rmbp refund from orbicule?
     
  21. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    #21
    Of course not. You get a refund of the $50 you paid for Undercover. They'd be out of business in two days if they refunded thousands of dollars to everyone who lost their Mac- they're not an insurance company.
     
  22. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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  23. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #24
    When I had mine stolen in Switzerland they provided a French-speaking liaison to the local law enforcement.

    Why? Orbicule doesn't require a police report to start tracking your machine.
     
  24. Hippocrates macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #25
    I tried Prey on the iMac and marked it as missing to test it out. I managed to get all the information for "Geo" and "Network", but webcam and screenshot weren't reported at all (both were ON). Not too sure what went wrong though, any idea?

     

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