February 23, 2011

Presenting Lookout Labs and Plan B

Today we are introducing a new concept called Lookout Labs and rolling out our first project: Plan B.  Lookout Labs was created to explore and test out new ideas that push the boundaries of mobile. Projects developed in Lookout Labs are experimental by nature and are developed to showcase new concepts and facilitate an exchange between Lookout and the mobile community. Our engineers and other staff come up with new ideas every day, and we wanted a way to get the best ones implemented and released to the market quickly. They may only be available for a limited time, so make sure you check out our latest projects when they are first rolled out.

As part of Lookout Labs, today we are releasing our first project called Plan B. Plan B for Android is the last resort to find your missing phone, and is available for Android 2.2 platforms and earlier. Plan B is the first and only ‘find my phone’ app that you can download AFTER you’ve already lost your phone to locate it.

We’ve all had a friend who has lost their phone, but didn’t have Lookout or another ‘find my phone app’ already on their phone.  Plan B was created for them.  Plan B is not a replacement for Lookout and is designed to be a one-time use app. It’s a backup plan for anyone who’s lost their phone and wants to get it back.

Using Plan B is simple, but requires access to the Android Market website (https://market.android.com/) and a Google account.

Follow these easy steps to use Plan B:

    1. Go to the Android Market website and search “Plan B,” or visit the Plan B Android Market page.
    2. Install Plan B to the phone that you are trying to find. (It’s important to note that you need to download Plan B from the web version of the Android Market, not the Android Market app market on your phone.)As soon as it is installed, Plan B will send an email to your Gmail account telling you it’s locating your phone.
    3. Once Plan B has located your phone, check your Gmail again to find a link to a Google Map of where your phone is located. For 10 minutes Plan B will send you a series of consecutive emails with refined location updates every few minutes.
    4. If your phone seems to be on the move, and you aren’t able to find your phone within ten minutes of downloading Plan B, you can text yourself the word “locate” from a friend’s phone in order to start the locate process again.
    5. After you’ve found your lost phone, we recommend you download full protection from Lookout Mobile Security!

Since this is a beta project as part of Lookout Labs, it is only available in the U.S. on the four major carriers (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile) and you must be on Android 2.0 and above.

Be a good friend. Help spread the word, and if you ever have a friend that has lost their phone, tell them about Plan B! Stay tuned for more innovative projects to come out of Lookout Labs.

Comments are closed on this post, please contact support [at] lookout [dot] com if you ever need help with Plan B.

103 comments
  1. Ivy says:

    another one, what if the thief changes the sim? how can i send “locate” to it?

  2. Ivy says:

    what if the theft changed the sim? how can i text “locate” in it?

  3. Amy says:

    @Ivy, thanks for your message, we’re very sorry to hear your phone was stolen. To answer your questions, when you install Plan B remotely to your mobile device, you should receive an email with the phone’s location shortly after. If you have not yet received and email, it may that your phone is powered off, or does not have a connection (WiFi or network 3G/4G). If this is the case, as soon as your phone is turned on (or receives a connection), you will receive an email message. You can also text “locate” to your phone to try to initiate another locate to your phone, however, if your phone’s SIM card has been removed the text will not be delivered to your device (you won’t be able to use the text message to help find your phone). If you locate your phone, you can let your local police station know the phone’s location and they can help you safely retrieve your mobile device. If you have any questions at all about using Plan B to find your phone, please let us know: support@mylookout[dot]com. Thanks!

  4. Ryan says:

    Great ideally, but no thief is ever going to keep the sim card in! That’s the first thing they will remove. I’ve had this problem and the police just are not interested. A program that could detect if a new sim was working with the IMEI number would be useful. Great for lost phones, not so great if anyone finds your phone first!

  5. Alex says:

    If the thief changes the sim card will the program be able to find the cellphone through the imei number?

  6. Amy says:

    @Alex, thanks for reaching out. If you remotely install Plan B from the web Android Market, and your phone has a WiFi connection, you should receive an email to your Gmail account with the phone’s location (even if your sim card has been removed). Plan B will only be able to locate your device upon install (since the method to re-locate the device after install requires texting “locate” to the device). If you have any other questions, please feel free to email us: feedback@mylookout[dot]com. Thanks!

  7. [...] our engineers released the very first application from Lookout Labs, an innovative app called Plan B that gives people the opportunity to find their Android phone after they lose it. Here we are, [...]

  8. [...] else, from the present list or beyond, fails. Hence the name of this service. Head on to the Lookout blog for more info. This option is currently available in the US only, with n AT&T, Sprint, [...]

  9. Ampt says:

    What if you aren’t on one of the 4 major carriers? what then? I’m with USCC and my phone is somewhere along 100 miles of ATV trails an I sent the message and recieved a message stating that the search had initiated, but an hour later and nothing has shown up yet :(

  10. Ampt says:

    Does this work with US Cellular? I sent the text to my phone and got the email saying that the search was starting… but nothing since then :( It’s been over an hour and the phone rings when I call it

  11. Amy says:

    @Ampt, thanks for your questions. Plan B will work with US Cellular (Plan B works on carriers in the US and international). In order for Plan B to locate your device, the phone will need just need to be powered on (which it sounds like it is), and have a network connection (WiFi, 3G/4G). If you have any other questions about locating your phone, please feel free to contact us directly: support[at]mylookout.com. Thank you!

  12. Avicc says:

    Hi, lost my phone and went through all the steps – texted locate twice ( from separate phones) and still have not received any emails – some 3 hours later. Where am I going wrong? Thanks!

  13. Amy says:

    @Avicc, thanks for your message. If you haven’t yet received an email with your phone’s location from Plan B, it’s possible that your phone may be turned-off, or currently not have a network connection (WiFi or 3G/4G). As soon as your phone is powered on, or connects to the network, Plan B will send you an email with you phone’s location. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please let us know: support@mylookout[dot]com. Thanks!

  14. Nancy says:

    Plan B just found my Android. I am sooooo happy, it worked exactly as it said it would. Exactly! Thank you Plan B.

  15. Amy says:

    @Nancy, thanks for your message. That’s great news, we’re so glad to hear you used Plan B to find your Android!

  16. Lida says:

    I “lost” my phone yesterday and did some research and came upon, and remotely downloaded, Plan B (I actually already had Lookout but it never connected when I tried to make it scream or when I tried to “locate” my phone). And at first Plan B gave me a wide radius of where my phone might be, but then it located it “23m from (GPS coordinates).” Well it just so happens that the only house on my street that the 23 meter radius touches,is my next door neighbors (not a surprise to me). It doesn’t touch my house or even my driveway. I’m going to skip ahead and ask my question. If i located my phone using plan B, but now the phone is dead, will it send the new location of my phone if the phone is turned on later, even with a new sim card in it? AND, how accurate is the GPS location? Could the coordinates be a little off, could it be in my house? That could be a stupid question, but I need some validation. Sorry about the length! Please HELP!

  17. Amy says:

    @Lida, thanks for your questions. If your phone has no power, and you initiate Lookout/Plan B to find your phone, it will be unable to locate your phone at this time. However, as soon as your device is turned on, Lookout/Plan B will send you an email with the phone’s location. The GPS accuracy can vary based on each locate, (the first map image may show a general area and you will receive additional emails as Lookout/Plan B refines your phone’s location). If you’d like any assistance using Lookout/Plan B to locate your phone, please contact our support team: support@mylookout[dot]com. If you believe your phone may have been stolen, we recommend contacting the authorities – they will be able to help you safely retrieve your device.

  18. John says:

    What if the phone is stolen and underwent a master reset?

  19. michael says:

    Dear Amy,

    I love your apps so much but the problem is i did not receive email after i install plan B apps.

    I am from malaysia (next to singapore)

    Wish you can give me solution.

    Thanks

  20. @Michael,
    I’m sorry Plan B didn’t work as you expected. Would you please email our support team, support [at] mylookout [dot] com, with more details?
    best, RT

  21. Catalin says:

    I’ve just found my lost phone with this trick. I didn’t think that idea can work. The plan B works perfect ! :)

  22. Susan says:

    My phone was stolen a month ago, but unfortunately I didn’t know about Plan B until last night. I know someone else stole my phone as my Instagram account is flooded with narcissistic pictures of a half-naked man. Obviously the thief has changed the SIM so I can’t text locate, but will Plan B still send emails to my Gmail if it has WiFi, or does it only work the first 10 minutes? I haven’t received any email although I’ve tried uninstalling and reinstalling the app several times. Thanks!

  23. @Susan, Plan B does require a data connection to download. If the SIM card is removed and there is no saved WiFi hot spot nearby, then it won’t work until the next time the device connects to the internet. Please email our support team if you ever need help! Support [at] mylookout [dot] com.

  24. holly says:

    please help me… i have tried locating and it only says its 2372 meters away. how am i supposed to find it with that?can it narrow down the search?i dont think im going to be able to find it. thats too broad of a search. please let me know what i can do. also the lookout will not locate the phone or scream but the phone is on otherwise the plan b wouldnt be locating it. what can be done to fix this?does this really work or am i just going to be stuck with my phone somewhere over 2000 meters away?please help me

  25. amina says:

    hi! im not recieving any mail? its been hours what should i do?

  26. @amina, please contact our support team, support [at] mylookout [dot] com.

  27. @holly, you can initiate another locate, as described above in step 4. When you look at the map of the possible radius, do you recognize any of those areas? Please feel free to contact our support team, support [at] mylookout [dot] com.

  28. Hi everyone!
    Comments are now closed on this post. Please email our support team, support [at] mylookout [dot] com if you need help with Plan B.
    best, RT