If you have Lookout Mobile on your iPhone or iPad — a security app that, among other things, helps you locate your device when it’s lost — you can now find your phone even if the battery’s dead through a feature called Signal Flare. Lookout released Signal Flare to its Android users earlier this month and added the feature to its iOS app today.
Signal Flare takes advantage of a special signal the phone gives off just before it dies. The signal is kind of like a last ditch S.O.S. the phone sends out to the tower saying, “This is my last signal, peace out.”
The app then sends an email to the device owner with the location of the phone when it died. Signal Flare, of course, can’t account for phones in motion, but it at least provides two definitive pieces of information: it died, and it died here.
Lookout originally rolled out Signal Flare with its new Android application. The Android revamp let Lookout take advantage of new design elements in Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich but also included new features such as protection against the “click to call” attack.
When I spoke with the company at that time, senior product manager Abheek Gupta told me that the missing device locator is Lookout’s most popular feature in the app. But the company’s research showed that 30 percent of people who lose their phones wind up not being able to find them because the battery died. Signal Flare is Lookout’s answer to that.