5 Replies Latest reply: Apr 2, 2008 12:45 PM by J D McIninch
kokkonuts Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I have been robbed of 3 lap tops and a tower. I know that dell computers have a tracking device embedded in the micro chip. Can I assume the same is true from my lost mac computers?

1 mac book pro
2 titaniums
1 tower

macbookpro, powerbook G4, titanium, ibook, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (257,730 points)
    No. There are no built-in tracking devices.
  • J D McIninch Level 5 Level 5 (4,060 points)
    Dells don't have a built-in tracking device. They do have hardware serial numbers readable from the BIOS that are unique, however. Your Mac has that too (not the BIOS, but the serial number in firmware). What you are thinking of is the "LoJack for Laptops" software that Dell offers as an option.

    The LoJack for Laptops software is available for Macs as well, but Apple doesn't provide it -- you need to sign up for it yourself. This is how it works: whenever a computer with the software running on it is connected to the Internet, it contacts the service provider. If you've called the service provider to report your laptop stolen, then your computer receives from the provider a "you've been stolen response" and will start sending messages to the service every few minutes. The provider can then use the network routing information to try and track down the location (for example, if it's a residential connection, they can determine the ISP and the address) and provide the information to the Police. I don't know if they do it, but obviously, your Mac is capable of taking a snapshot of whoever is using it via iSight and uploading the photo somewhere.

    According to them, they have a 75-80% recover rate.

    The software is simple enough to circumvent, obviously, by wiping the disk clean and reinstalling the operating system or booting from an external drive that doesn't have the software on it.

    Of course, none of this helps if you don't install the software at all before the computer is stolen.
  • kokkonuts Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for your help.. I know about the software and double checked with the person who told me about their lost of Dell computer story. I told them everything you told me already but they said that they had not added any new software and that the tracking device was in the chip so it could not be side stepped. Oh well, I guess there is nothing I can do about this horrible situation.

    Thanks again,

  • kokkonuts Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    For the price we pay couldn't apple place a tracking device in the chip? Who know it might even be for our security that it is not done.. otherwise the government could have way too much access... Who knows.
  • J D McIninch Level 5 Level 5 (4,060 points)
    Nope. No Dell systems come with tracking hardware... There are a couple models you can buy with built-in GPS, and the Dell BIOS on some systems has a switch for enabling/disabling Computrace (LoJack for Laptops) as a privacy measure, but the actual "tracking" is done completely through software and you can get that same software for your (next) Mac.

    The service costs $50/year.