How the Avast ‘Lost Phone’ experiment worked

We trust our free app Avast Anti-Theft to track down lost phones, but we wanted to put it to the test in a real-world situation. So five months ago, we bought 20 Android smartphones and installed three security apps on all the phones: Our free Avast Anti-Theft app, Lookout Mobile Security, and Clean Master. Each phone was marked with contact information on where to return the device if found. After all was prepared, Avast security analysts traveled to New York City and San Francisco to randomly “lose” them in public places.

Here’s a video that shows what happened.

Over the months, the analysts used the Avast Anti-Theft app to track the lost devices and observed the following:

  • 15 phones were wiped clean using the factory reset feature
  • 11 phones stayed online for more than 24 hours after losing them
  • 7 phones we were able to track for several months
  • 4 phones were returned
  • 4 phones are currently online and used
  • 2 phones ended up abroad
  • 1 phone was never factory data reset

The majority of lost devices were wiped clean using the factory reset feature, but only the Avast Anti-Theft app survived the factory reset.

You can track your missing mobile phones and tablets with Avast Anti-Theft. Get it for free from the Google Play Store.

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