iPhone theft is a legitimate concern for many users—especially those in urban areas—and with 1.7 million iPhone 4s already in use around the world, you can bet that iPhone theft won’t be decreasing any time soon. While common sense and street smarts are often the best means of protecting yourself from iPhone theft, Anti Theft Alarm, by LOLer Apps, aims to protect your iPhone the same way you protect your car—with a really loud alarm.
Inspired by the well known Viper car alarm systems, the Anti Theft Alarm app is meant to prevent people from taking off with your iPhone, iPod, or iPad when you’ve left it “parked” on a table or desk. After arming the app, you have five seconds to set your iPhone down before a car alarm-sounding activation “chirp” is emitted, signalling that the alarm is armed.
The app uses the iPhone’s built in accelerometer to detect any movement of the phone, and if such movement occurs, the app emits an alarming blend of 7 actual car alarm sounds, hopefully stunning the potential thief, and alerting the owner. The alarm also causes the iPhone to vibrate, flash police light animations, and emit a Viper car-alarm-like voice that commands to intruder to “please step away from the phone!”
While this is an entertaining idea, the actual utility of such an app is debatable. For one, the only time most people set their iPhones down and leave them unattended is when they're at home or somewhere they feel very comfortable—otherwise, most iPhones stay in the pockets or hands of their owners.
Another issue is how easy it is to “disarm” the app once the alarm goes off. Pressing the iPhone’s home button will immediately disable the app and bring you back to the home screen, as it does with all other apps. This obviously hinders the effectiveness of the alarm. Finally, the app doesn’t appear to offer a way for the legitimate owner of the iPhone to disable the app without setting off the alarm—though presumably you could simply hit the home button before you pick up the iPhone.
Despite its limited potential for use as real theft protection, Anti Theft Alarm, which sells for $1 and runs on iOS 3.1.3 or later, could at least be useful for practical jokes or pranks.