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Samsung's FindMyMobile - does it require Internet ?

by ejnarAgain / February 24, 2013 8:56 PM PST

I've asked this question to Samsung support. Got a fast reply, but unfortunately I think they didn't understand me.

So I'll try here instead.

My question is whether or not the Samsung FindMyMobile service requires that the mobile has an active Internet connection at the moment where I'm trying to locate it / force it to ring / lock it, etc ?

When I'm abroad I normally turn off packet data to avoid the high roaming charges on data. So no Internet connection. It would be a shame if Samsung's FindMyMobile service only worked when the phone has an Internet connection because that would mean that few people would be able to use the service if they get their mobile stolen (or misplace it) when abroad.

You might ask how Samsung's central servers are supposed to communicate with my mobile phone if the mobile phone has no Internet connection? Well, some of these services similar to Samsung's FindMyMobile work by sending 'hidden' text messages to the phone that it will then react on. It is something like that I'm hoping for because I like best to use Samsung's service if I can.

I've looked through the FAQ for the FindMyMobile service but have been unable to find the answer.

Note that you can register your handset's phone number inside the FindMyMobile web site. This of course gives me hope that Samsung has designed the service in such a way so it can work even if the phone is not connected to the Internet. However it is not clear to me in what format I need to register my phone number on the web site (with or without country code?). I've tried various input formats, it accepts them all, but basically cannot make any of the FindMyMobile services work unless the phone has an Internet connection.

Anybody ?

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Clarification Request
Additional info
by ejnarAgain / February 24, 2013 8:59 PM PST

Phone type : Samsung Galaxy S II (aka GT-I9100)

Adroid version : 4.0.4

All Answers

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Try the CNET Samsung Forum
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 24, 2013 11:29 PM PST

As well as 1800SAMSUNG in the USA.

ONLY and I do mean this -> Only the app's author can answer this.


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it is not an app
by ejnarAgain / February 25, 2013 12:11 AM PST


This functionality is something that Samsung has added to Android, but only on their own mobile phones of course.

Samsung's Find My Mobile offers the services of remote tracking, remote locking, ring-my-mobile, etc. It is all controlled, as you would guess, from a website :

The difference to the many apps out there that can do similar things is that this one is deeply embedded into the
e phone's OS and can therefore do things that an app cannot do. I understand that Apple has something similar iOS.

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I think the answer....
by birdmantd Forum moderator / February 25, 2013 12:15 AM PST
In reply to: it is not an app

....would be to contact Samsung directly as Bob suggested. I don't think even your cellular carrier can verify the correct answer..

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It's an app.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 25, 2013 12:27 AM PST
In reply to: it is not an app

Without an app, there is no feature to use. Yes, there are more moving parts such as the web site and more but without the app's author to reveal if the locate is done with say a text message or some internet packet work your question will not find the answer you want.

I'm unsure why you want to debate app or OS issues. Even inside an OS, a feature is written as some API which as a programmer you can think of as an App.

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you say tomato
by ejnarAgain / February 25, 2013 4:33 AM PST
In reply to: It's an app.

yes, you are right. In the end everything is an app.

I was trying to make the point that this is not an Android app in the conventional way.

I was hoping that somebody had used the service and had a better understand of how it works than I do, now that Samsung cannot answer the question.

As you can see from the intro indeed the first thing I did was to contact Samsung. The answer I got was not answering my question and I therefore turned here in the hope that somebody would know.

It would also be interesting to hear from others what they think about my 'requirement' that such a service should be working without requiring the phone to have an active Internet connection. Am I being too harsh? If you - like me - have a job that involves frequent traveling - then for sure you would want the service also to protect you while you are roaming and potentially have packet data feature turned off in your mobile. This is why I believe the question is crucial and I cannot believe it is not documented on their site or in their FAQ.

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Let me tip my hand a little.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 25, 2013 4:38 AM PST
In reply to: you say tomato

I can't reveal which GPS Locate system I was involved with but we used a variety of ways to trigger a GPS Locate (google that if you don't know the lingo) and for the answer we used IP over cellular packets.

Yes there were 2 web servers in the system so I'm unsure exactly what you want to know. Well I can guess you want the deep technical how this Samsung system works but as you know most companies consider such to be the secret sauce and won't tell all.

If you feel that's wrong, don't buy the product.

Have your ever heard of "Plan B" for Android?

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by ejnarAgain / February 25, 2013 7:18 PM PST

Yes, I know of PlanB for Android. It requires that your phone has a working Internet connection. So, again, won't work when I'm roaming abroad.

Actually I do not care how the solution technically does its tricks. Whether it is pull or push or whatever. I don't care how it is able to turn on location services. Don't care and don't want to know.

All I need to know is whether it is a requirement for the service to work that the phone has an active Internet connection. If so, it is pretty useless ... for me, that is.

I guess there are only so many ways to communicate with a mobile phone. As far as I know these are:

1. Voice
2. SMS (text messages)
3. Internet (either via WiFI or via the cell network packet data)

You will be surprised how many of these services (similar to Samsung's FindMyMobile) I've reviewed that fail to let you know if an active Internet connection is an absolute requirement or not. That is probably because the developer of the service has never thought of this as something that was a restricting requirement. That is not the case for me. I roam and I go abroad with my device. (meaning : no active Internet connection).

If you are clever (and especially if you have access to the lower levels of the phone, i.e. you are the phone's manufacturer) then I guess there are ways where you can utilize (1) and (2) on the list above to communicate 'stuff' to the device. I don't need to understand how but this is what I had hoped that Samsung was doing so that I could avoid the Internet requirement. This is why I started out testing Samsung's solution rather than something else. But I'm open to suggestions. Happy

Just for reference I've reviewed Apple's solution called "Find My iPhone". (I don't have an iPhone, I'm just comparing). Unlike Samsung Apple are documenting quite clearly that they need the phone to have an active Internet connection for the service to work.

If you're traveling to other countries, it is recommended that you
enable Data Roaming, in case you lose or misplace your device and need
to locate it. To do this:
Tap Settings > General > Network.Turn the Data Roaming slider to On.
If Data Roaming is off, your iPhone or iPad Wi-Fi + 3G or 4G will
only be reachable when it is connected to a Wi-Fi network (like an iPad
Wi-Fi or iPod touch).
Note: Turning Data Roaming on can substantially increase your service provider costs. Contact your carrier for more information.

So at least Apple are open about it although I find the quote laughable. Turning on Data Roaming while abroad can cost you a leg and an arm so I doubt many people will do it. But this is a catch22 because it is exactly when you are abroad that you need these types of lost-and-found services the most.

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No catch22.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 25, 2013 11:21 PM PST
In reply to: thx

When the phone is lost, it's gone. As I revealed I was involved in a GPS Locate system engineering team, we didn't worry about the actual roaming on/off area. WHY? Because when the thief gets the phone they try to use it and the locate happens.

I'm guessing you are not aware of the studies done with lost phones. Maybe you don't care and demand your answers and it does not help at all if we chat about this. If so, you have your answer about if you can buy the Samsung. They don't talk to you so why buy it?

-> Here's one of many studies about the lost phone and what happens.

At the office we travel overseas and for us, the roaming issue is not an issue as we pick up a sim card or a cheap phone while we are there. However there are folk that want to use their phone just like they do in country and those tend to be the ones that think there is a problem.

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