27 May 2010

Undercover iPhone running in the background

Since the moment we designed Undercover for iPhone, we wanted it to run as a background application, just like our Mac version. Unfortunately, Apple does not allow background apps on the iPhone. Therefore, we are using push notifications in order to launch Undercover remotely on the stolen phone. This creative solution has worked very well in practice, but we would still prefer to have Undercover running permanently.

With the upcoming iPhone OS 4, Apple will allow developers to run their apps in the background. We will gladly oblige by adding full background-support to Undercover iPhone. We plan to release Undercover 2 for iPhone soon after the release of iPhone OS 4. As you have come to expect from us, this new release will be a free update for all existing iPhone app owners.

27 comments:

Yoram Ish-Hurwitz said...

That is great news! I do have one question: will it be necessary to manually launch the Undercover application after a restart of the iPhone? This would be less than ideal. Does iPhone OS 4 provide some kind of startup items like in Mac OS X?

Peter Schols said...

As far as I know, there won't be startup items. However, we will have to wait until iPhone OS 4 ships.

Nicolas said...

Apple (Cork, IRELAND), Thursday 17th June 2010 (10:30, Irish local time)

Feedback : VERY satisfied with undercover :-) !!!

Hi Peter,
I bought Undercover for my iPad (and my future iPhone 4) and for my 3 MacBook Pro 13-inch yesterday (Wednesday 16th June 2010) after reading a news on the French website www.01net.com (http://www.01net.com/editorial/504840/il-recupere-son-ordinateur-vole-grace-a-un-mouchard/).

The fact that Undercover promise to refund the software if we can't get back the stolen product AND that you offer a FREE update for iPhone OS4 make me confident in the quality and seriousness of your company.

Don't hesitate to forward this feedback to the right person if necessary :-) !!!

A Happy customer :-) !!!
Nicolas DUJARRIER

Nicolas DUJARRIER
Union Quay
Dun Laoi, Apt 15
Cork
IRELAND

Phone: 00353877841120
Email: nicolas.dujarrier@gmail.com

Liz said...

Great app! I will be featuring your application & recommending it to our readers on our private investigator website for North American Investigations.

Thank you

Peter Schols said...

Thanks Liz, that's excellent news!
Best wishes,

Peter
Orbicule

Dietmar said...

any news on iOS 4 compatibility? i guess it is not so easy with the restrictions of background tasks by apple, but i wonder what you will come up with to trick the criminals... if it is convincing i might buy undercover for iphone as well.

anyways, keep up the good work!

Peter Schols said...

Hi Dietmar,

Please stay tuned, we are almost there ;)
Best wishes,

Peter

Undercover: innovative theft-recovery software for Mac OS X and iOS
http://orbicule.com/undercover

Anonymous said...

Enhancement request: Use the front-facing camera on the iPhone 4 to take photos of the thief (as with the iSight camera feature in Undercover for Mac).

Keep up the good work!

Peter Schols said...

Unfortunately, it's not possible to take pictures with the camera without user interaction.

Peter
Orbicule

Anonymous said...

Hello, I think your iPhone app is very interesting as I would like a way to have the Find My iPhone type of peace of mind that mobile me provides but without having to pay as much as 100 a year! That's the only feature that's worth anything! With it running in the background, it seems you could tell it how often to update its location to your account like every hour or half hour or something. Hopefully, in the future, this type of functionality will be easier to implement into the OS so that even if the phone is restored, you can remotely figure out its location online.
Also, about when do you think undercover 2 will be ready cause ill probably buy it :D

Peter Schols said...

Thanks for your interest in our iPhone version. We are currently testing Undercover 2 on iOS4. Please keep an eye on this weblog for more information.

Peter Schols
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Anonymous said...

It would be great if you could have the app updating location even when its locked, so that whoever takes or finds your phone could still be caught even if they are really smart and would turn off apps like this or something, unless they restore it. The ability to take pictures remotely would be awesome too, but apple is not open enough yet, dont you agree?

Peter Schols said...

This will be possible with the upcoming update.

Peter
Orbicule

colinbm said...

For the camera capture, how about:

1. Take a screen capture of the home screen
2. Launch app, displaying the screen capture
3. Any interaction with the screen takes a picture, on both cameras, and launches the app that was selected, based on coordinates of icon.

Guessing the last bit might not work, but just quitting the app so it goes back to the home screen would work fairly well too - could trigger that cycle every few minutes.

That depends on the ability to launch an app/become active without user interaction. I'm guessing perhaps that's not permitted either?

Colin.

Thierry said...

Peter,
I know you mentioned above that you can not take pictures with the iOS version of Undercover. I was reading this article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-20011294-71.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20 and it appear this software can. Here is the section: He didn't remotely take a snapshot of the thief's happy features. so not sure if they can do it or not.
Thierry

Peter Schols said...

Thierry,

I think the snapshot has to be taken by the user himself: the software referred to in the article is not really anti-theft software, it's more intended for police and security officials.

Peter
Orbicule

Peter Schols said...

Colin,

This is an interesting idea. However, Apple would reject this app, because it would fake the home screen in a confusing manner. Another downside is that it would not be possible to launch other apps that do not have a URL scheme. Launching Mail or Safari would work, but most other apps cannot be launched by a third-party app.

Peter
Orbicule

Anonymous said...

I know this is way out of the question, but perhaps a jailbreak version of this could be used in a more valualbe, unrestricted fashion. I don't know any details, but apparently the iphone 4 jailbreak is being released in the near future, and i could see the possibilities being much less restricted if your app would not need to conform to apple's strict standards. Now, dont get me wrong, i know this wont happen, but just think what would be possible. I hope your new version of the app will be great regardless. Looking forward to it.

Peter Schols said...

Undercover for jailbroken iPhones is indeed no option for us. However, the upcoming Undercover 2 for iOS 4 will be great! Please stay tuned.

Peter
Orbicule

Simo said...

I'm not going to ask exactly how long we have to wait yet for Undercover 2 for iPhone (because i know the answer is "when it's ready")...

But, can i ask if you are close to releasing it, Peter? My new iPhone 4 needs it! :)

Cheers,
~Simo

Peter Schols said...

@Simo: we are not far from a release...

Peter
Orbicule

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Can I ask an expected date for the new version? I want to wait till this is released before making my purchase!
(I just am trying not to loose my iphone 4 till then)

Peter Schols said...

Hi,

There is no reason to postpone your purchase, as Undercover 2 for iPhone will be a free upgrade.
We were close to release until Apple released iOS 4.1, changing location-specific APIs. We still plan to release in September though.

Peter
Orbicule

colinbm said...

Sooooo..... September?

Peter Schols said...

Hi Colinbm,

In the meantime, our blog has been updated:
http://orbicule.blogspot.com/2010/09/undercover-iphone-on-ios-4.html

Peter
Orbicule

Anonymous said...

hi...I have the UNDERCOVER appe on my Iphone, but its not working when I restore my Iphone and remuve the UNDERCOVER appe....its means that the thief can just restore the device and use it ? I can send any push msg. to the phone when its restored

Peter Schols said...

Could you please contact support with your request, that will be easier to help you.

Peter
Orbicule