Orbicule Undercover 5

KEY INFO
Developer: Orbicule
Price: From £31

REQUIREMENTS
Mac OS X 10.6+, Internet connection

Undercover 5 can use your FaceTime or iSight camera to photograph a thief.

This new version of Undercover, Orbicule’s in-the-background app for tracking and recovering stolen Macs, is a complete revision rather than an incremental upgrade. The licence-key approach has been dropped in favour of account-based purchasing, the browser-based interface has been redesigned and the application is far more configurable. Version 5 is only available for Intel Macs, but Undercover 4 is still operational for PowerPC Macs and those that don’t upgrade.

Setting the app up is easy: just log into your account at the all-new Undercover control centre, install the software (previous versions are automatically overwritten) and register your Mac. When connected to the internet, protected Macs regularly ping the Undercover server to see if it’s been flagged as stolen. If it has, it transmits its location and network information for you to retrieve through the browser-based interface. Like previous versions, webcam photos and screenshots are taken to help identify the thief, and Undercover 5 adds key logging, so you can read everything that’s typed on your stolen Mac (for security reasons, passwords aren’t logged). And if all else fails, Undercover can simulate a malfunction to get the miscreant to take it to a repair centre, where it can be identified as stolen.

When your stolen Mac goes online, Undercover 5 can locate it.

The new Undercover control centre is really easy to use. It feels like a desktop app, and is very well designed and intuitive. You can log on using any computer with a web browser and take screenshots, photos and location data (but not key logs) from any Mac protected by your Undercover account in real time, without reporting it stolen. If you travel regularly, have access to sensitive data or perhaps just invested in nearly two grand’s worth of Retina display MacBook Pro, £31 feels like a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Verdict

A superb upgrade to an already excellent app. Much more comprehensive than iCloud’s Find My Mac.

Mac Choice Award