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'Marco Polo' App for Finding Misplaced iOS Devices Updated With Custom Responses and More

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Apr 12, 2001
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Developer Matt Wiechec today released a major update to his Marco Polo iOS app that helps users recover misplaced iPhones and iPads with the sound of their voice. The new update brings custom responses and a new Notification Center widget that allows users to find other iOS devices also running the app.

Addressing a different use case than Apple's Find My iPhone service, Marco Polo is intended to allow users to easily find an iOS device located in close proximity to the user. The app's core functionality requires the app to be running in the background, with the device's microphone listening for the key passphrase, which is "Marco" by default. Once the user speaks the phrase, the app generates an audio response, with the default being "Polo".

The new update lets Marco Polo users select phrases like "I'm Over Here" and "Who's There?" over the simple "Polo" response, while also bringing a slew of new character voice options, like "Movie Guy" and "Wicked". The widget, once installed in the Today section of the Notification Center and set to discoverable within the app, allows users to find other iOS devices with a simple tap.

Our largest update yet, ready for the new year. We've added great new features, new voices, custom responses, widgets, and improved the entire app experience!

- Custom Responses are here! Now your device can ring back more than just POLO!
- Choose from responses like "I'm Over Here", "Who's There?", "iPhone Reporting", and many others. Even enter your own phrase!
- New iOS 8 Nearby Widget; skip shouting and find other devices right from Notification Center
- Greatly improved voice recognition
- Added new voices like MOVIE GUY and WICKED, including supporter exclusives like ARNOLD, BUSH, KERMIT, SLY, and more
- The app is now Universal to support the iPad, and completely optimized for iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
Marco Polo even allows some customization to the phrase shouted to prompt the app's response, meaning virtually any 12-letter word a user can think of could be used to discover a lost iPhone, an improvement over the original version of the app where some users complained that words with similar sounds to "Marco" such as "mark" would trigger a response.

Functionality in silent mode and while the device is sleeping, as well as a volume boost feature that makes sure the app's voice is heard even if your phone is low, round out most of standard features that were available even before today's 2.0 update.

The app has a decent voice recognition range, and recognizes almost any 12-letter word or phrase added as a passphrase. Slight drawbacks may hinder daily use of the app, however, including the need for the device's microphone to always be active. This means that once you leave the app, the red "recording" microphone bar will be a permanent mainstay atop the iPhone screen. Using the Notification Center widget to discover other missing devices doesn't require the microphone to be on, however.

Potential battery drain may also be a concern given the need to keep the device's microphone active, although we did not see significant drops in battery status during limited testing.

Marco Polo can be downloaded for $0.99 from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Article Link: 'Marco Polo' App for Finding Misplaced iOS Devices Updated With Custom Responses and More
 

2457282

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Dec 6, 2012
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I might just buy this. My wife is always missplacing her phone and as we are ready to leave, "wait, where is my phone," is always heard. This is one of those frustrations in the marriage that I had just learned to live with, but this could help solve this issue for a buck. AWESOME.:D:cool:
 
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Doctor Q

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Sep 19, 2002
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When I lose track of my phone, I report a child abduction to the police. The authorities then send out an Amber Alert, which wakes up my phone and produces a loud sound. Simple, effective, and no need to use an extra app! ;)

Seriously, I have yet to lose track of my phone because it's with me anytime I'm not in the shower or going through the metal detector at the airport. But I sometimes call my wife's phone so she can find where she left it.

If you lose track of an iPad or iPod touch, having it respond to a spoken request may come in handy. I'm not sure the phrases need to be entertaining as well, but a little humor never hurts.
 
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JohnnyComeLatly

macrumors member
Nov 12, 2010
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WELL PLAYED! Both absolutely horrible and insanely funny at the same time.


Those amber alerts are insane. I was watching TV in bed one night, sorta half out of it, and the AMBER ALERT started going off (iPhone6+/AT&T). I thought there was a tornado warning siren outside for a few seconds until I realized it was my damn phone.

When I lose track of my phone, I report a child abduction to the police. The authorities then send out an Amber Alert, which wakes up my phone and produces a loud sound. Simple, effective, and no need to use an extra app! ;)
 
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eish2306

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Apr 30, 2013
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WELL PLAYED! Both absolutely horrible and insanely funny at the same time.


Those amber alerts are insane. I was watching TV in bed one night, sorta half out of it, and the AMBER ALERT started going off (iPhone6+/AT&T). I thought there was a tornado warning siren outside for a few seconds until I realized it was my damn phone.


That just sounds annoying #nannystate - can you turn it off?
 
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hlfway2anywhere

macrumors 65816
Jul 15, 2006
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LIMITATIONS
These limitations are imposed by iOS and are required for all apps that use the microphone:
• While Marco Polo is listening in the background your iOS device will show a red bar at the top of the screen.
Some notifications and sounds will get silenced. Phone calls, calendar alerts, and clock alarms will continue to make sounds.

i'm all set.
 
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ck2875

macrumors 6502a
Mar 25, 2009
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Brighton
This seems insanely redundant with the "Find My iPhone" feature that allows you to play a sonar sound on your devices, particularly since family sharing in iOS 8 allows you to find family members' devices as well.
 
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0815

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2010
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here and there but not over there
Still prefer for those use cases to use 'find my iPhone' no need to pay for another app and have it running in the background with tons of limitations where it won't work and I anyway would have to go to 'find my iPhone' on the web or any other device.
 
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2457282

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This seems insanely redundant with the "Find My iPhone" feature that allows you to play a sonar sound on your devices, particularly since family sharing in iOS 8 allows you to find family members' devices as well.

yes but that requires you to log into a computer, head over to icloud.com, log in there, click on the find my iphone icon, and then click on the make a sound icon.

Way better to just say Marco and be done.
 
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hortod1

macrumors 6502
Jan 26, 2009
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Tried it, seems to disable any audio notifications (email, sms) as well as disables Hey Siri.
 
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madKIR

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Feb 2, 2010
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This app has to stay on all the time in order to recognize your commands.
It does drain the battery.
Thumbs down!
 
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Maltz

macrumors member
Mar 31, 2011
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yes but that requires you to log into a computer, head over to icloud.com, log in there, click on the find my iphone icon, and then click on the make a sound icon.

Way better to just say Marco and be done.

And even after you've done all of that, Find My Phone will only tell you that your phone is in your house. Somewhere. [edit- reading comprehension fail... forgot that Find My Phone can make your phone beep. I agree it's way more hassle, though]

So with that edit in mind... I think this app is cool, but as rarely as I find myself in this situation, it's not worth it for me. For people who misplace their phones a lot, it could be a godsend. :)
 
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Anonymous Freak

macrumors 603
Dec 12, 2002
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My wife misplaces her phone fairly often, requiring logging in to "Find my iPhone" on my phone and making it beep. This functionality would be great if it were:
1. Baked in to the OS (I *REALLY* worry about a third-party monitoring all microphone input,)
2. Didn't decrease battery life *AT* *ALL*. If this reduces my wife's iPhone to less than a full day of battery, it's useless. She often doesn't notice until the next morning that she can't remember which table it got left under a piece of paper on. If the battery was at 15% at night, it shouldn't be dead by the time she realizes she has to look for it.
 
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Baytriple

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Apr 3, 2012
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Thanks for the waste of money you caused me. "Discreet" really if a huge flashing red bar on the top of my iPhone 6+ is discreet then my name is Osama bin laden. That app lasted aprox 2 minutes on my phone.
 
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Anonymous Freak

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Dec 12, 2002
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The listing on the App Store specifically says the red "microphone active" bar will be on the screen, and I can't find the word "discreet" anywhere in this article, on the App Store listing, or on the developer's website. So I don't know where you got the idea that it was discreet.


This does bring up the interesting point - if this app can be constantly listening for "Marco!", then Google should be able to make their Google Search app constantly listen for "OK Google..."
 
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ptb42

macrumors 6502a
Oct 14, 2011
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Thanks for the waste of money you caused me. "Discreet" really if a huge flashing red bar on the top of my iPhone 6+ is discreet then my name is Osama bin laden.

If you had read the app description under LIMITATIONS (it was in all-caps), you would have known that before you bought it.
 
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JohnnyComeLatly

macrumors member
Nov 12, 2010
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0
Sorry, don't go into the forums as often as I used to.

Yes, you can turn the screaming alarm off once the alarm goes off for an Amber Alert. I don't think you can turn off the Amber Alerts to where they don't ever go off.

That just sounds annoying #nannystate - can you turn it off?
 
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C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
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Sorry, don't go into the forums as often as I used to.

Yes, you can turn the screaming alarm off once the alarm goes off for an Amber Alert. I don't think you can turn off the Amber Alerts to where they don't ever go off.
Perhaps it depends on the carrier involved, but there's usually an option in notification settings for government alerts to enable or disable Amber Alert and Emergency Alerts.
 
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dXTC

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Oct 30, 2006
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Up, up in my studio, studio
Perhaps it depends on the carrier involved, but there's usually an option in notification settings for government alerts to enable or disable Amber Alert and Emergency Alerts.

I don't believe it's carrier-dependent. The ability for AMBER and Emergency Alerts is built into every smartphone OS sold in the USA for at least a couple of years now. In iOS, these alerts can be "turned off" in Notifications, as C DM has noted above.

There is a third alert system, Presidential Alert, that is also built-in and can't be shut off. I don't think you'd want it off, either: It's the kind of alert that says "We're about to be nuked/Deep Impacted/tsunami-fied". :eek:

EDIT: I misspoke above, according to a Google search. The automatic alerting system is actually implemented, in part, as a hardware chip mandated by the US government to make sure all phones get emergency text messages, regardless of service plan. FEMA figured this was a better way to reach those who don't often watch TV or listen to radio.
 
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eish2306

macrumors regular
Apr 30, 2013
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EDIT: I misspoke above, according to a Google search. The automatic alerting system is actually implemented, in part, as a hardware chip mandated by the US government to make sure all phones get emergency text messages, regardless of service plan. FEMA figured this was a better way to reach those who don't often watch TV or listen to radio.[/QUOTE]

so phones have to have an extra space taking up chip so american presidents can send messages to phone users, what a waste of internal space - think about how much thinner Ive could make the phone without that chip!
but seriously how pushy of POTUS
 
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C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
50,840
19,021
EDIT: I misspoke above, according to a Google search. The automatic alerting system is actually implemented, in part, as a hardware chip mandated by the US government to make sure all phones get emergency text messages, regardless of service plan. FEMA figured this was a better way to reach those who don't often watch TV or listen to radio.

so phones have to have an extra space taking up chip so american presidents can send messages to phone users, what a waste of internal space - think about how much thinner Ive could make the phone without that chip!
but seriously how pushy of POTUS[/QUOTE]

Yeah, phones would be like the size of a penny if it wasn't for a chip like that (which still seems unlikely to exist).
 
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