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Here’s the situation: Your phone is in the room, but you don’t know where. There isn’t another phone around to call it. How do you find your handset? Two neat apps let you yell or whistle to get your phone back.

Marco Polo is a paid app for the iPhone and iPad, while Whistle Finder is free to download (albeit with some ads) for Android devices. Both apps have the same base purpose: you make a sound, the phone detects it and responds with its own sound so you can find it. It’s basically like making a call, except you aren’t making a call!

Why These Apps Matter

Let’s face it, we have all been in the aforementioned situation several times, frantically looking under your pillow or overturning that pile of receipts and mail to find your phone. Then you need to look either for your landline (who even has those anymore?) or someone else who can ring your phone, and then go find it.

The problem with that method is that if your phone is on silent, calling it won’t help either. It will ring, of course, but you won’t be able to hear that ring.

Plus, what if you’re alone and don’t have another phone around to call yours with? You’re pretty much stuck then.

Whistle-Phone-Finder-Android

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Both Whistle Phone Finder and Marco Polo don’t have any such issues. They are reliant purely on your ability to make a noise with your mouth, and work even if the phone is on silent. Plus, the sheer convenience of not needing another device to find your phone can’t be understated.

Do note, however, that these apps are useful only in finding a misplaced phone, not a stolen one. If your iPhone was lost or stolen, get it back with Find My iPhone So Your iPhone Was Lost or Stolen: Here's What To Do So Your iPhone Was Lost or Stolen: Here's What To Do If your iPhone is no longer in your possession, you might never see it again but there are still a few things you can do. Read More . And Android Device Manager recovers lost/stolen phones Was Your Android Phone Lost or Stolen? This Is What You Can Do Was Your Android Phone Lost or Stolen? This Is What You Can Do There are many good options for remotely locating your stolen phone, even if you never set anything up before you lost your phone. Read More with ease too.

How Whistle Phone Finder Works

Install this free app from the Play Store and fire it up. In the settings, you need to enable the app, set up the whistle sensitivity, and choose from the different audio alerts and its volume — I favour Psy’s Gangnam Style, but it’s up to you. When you need to activate it, just whistle.

The app worked perfectly from all the way across a 200 sq. foot room, although you do need to whistle clearly and loudly. When I kept the phone under a pile of clothes, I needed to be roughly 15-20 feet away before it could detect the whistle.

When the app is activated and it’s in your pocket, some high-frequency noises will set it off again, but it doesn’t happen so often that you would want to disable Whistle Phone Finder.

How Marco Polo Works

Marco-polo-main-screen-options

You’ll need to pay a dollar for Marco Polo, and the only thing you get for that is the ability to choose different voices for how it says “Polo”. The app worked just as advertised, again announcing itself loudly across the 200 sq. foot room and picking up the “Marco” shout 20 feet away while under the same pile of clothes.

One thing I did find annoying about this app is that when you keep it on, the notification bar turns red and keeps flashing “Marco Polo” there. I hope there is some way to disable this in the future.

Marco-polo-notifications-bar

Do They Drain The Battery?

Both these apps need to be running in the background at all times for you to be able to access their features. And obviously, this has meant that many people are concerned about the battery life. Thankfully, I read about these battery concerns before I installed either app, so I was able to compare the before and after effects. All numbers below are rounded off.

Whistle Phone Finder: Before installing the app, my phone took 2 hours to drop 10% in battery life. This was a test environment, so the same conditions of the phone were applied after the app was installed. It took a few minutes less than 2 hours to drop 10% in battery life. The app was invoked once this whole time.

Marco Polo: Before installing the app, my phone took 1 hour and 35 minutes to drop 10% in battery life. This was a test environment, so the same conditions of the phone were applied after the app was installed. It took 1 hour and 30 minutes to drop 10% in battery life. The app was invoked once this whole time.

battery

To me, that isn’t a significant enough drop in battery life to warrant not using these apps, but it does show that they do consume your phone’s battery while running in the background. If you’re short on power, these apps should be the first ones you kill. In any case, if you are worried, there are ways to improve battery life on Android 5 Ways to Improve Battery Life on Android KitKat 5 Ways to Improve Battery Life on Android KitKat Got a new KitKat phone with not-so-great battery life? Check out these tips for squeezing every last bit out of juice out of it. Read More .

To Download Or Not?

With both these apps, my recommendation is yes. They have a light footprint and don’t affect battery significantly enough, so having them installed is worth the convenience of being able to quickly find your device. You’ll be surprised how often you have been misplacing and looking for your phone!

Download: Whistle Phone Finder (Free | Android)

Download: Marco Polo ($1 | iOS)

That said, there is the larger question: are these apps necessary or are they just convenience, and in that case, should you be cluttering your phone with them? That’s something we would like to hear from you about. Is this amount of convenience something that seems worth it to you, or is it better to have a lean, mean machine?

Image Credit: Nick Harris

  1. Dav
    December 14, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    If it's a modern android you should be able to say OK Google and the phone will beep, should you need a longer sound try following OK Google with "how's the wether"

  2. Mike Bishop
    August 12, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Great article, thank you. check out this page too to know how you can find your android when it is in silent mode

  3. Jeselle P
    June 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    I never even knew apps like these existed. Thanks for solving a problem my mom and I have everyday!

  4. Tom S
    June 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    I would greatly benefit from this app.

  5. Steve
    June 20, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    I was intrigued at first and then, upon reflection, decided that I needed to learn to keep better track of my iPhone and not become more dependent on technology whether or not it decreases battery life.

  6. CAS
    June 20, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    I guess I am uncomfortable with having the mic turned on all the time as a potential security concern for an occasional problem. Maybe, I am uselessly paranoid.

    As far as I can see a lot of people complain about setting it off accidentally or that the apps have more trouble with female voices.

    I have been known to use a land line and Find My Phone to locate the phone when I have hidden it from myself somehow. And I can usually hear it, even if it is on vibrate. But altogether both of these methods are somewhat awkward - but workable for me.

  7. Thomas Joseph
    June 20, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I installed Whistle Phone Finder on my Samsung Galaxy S5. It worked but has one major problem. It stops my screen display from timing out. In other words, my screen stays on permanently until I switch it off. I uninstalled the app and the screen display duly timed out as expected. I installed Whistle Phone Finder again and the screen display again became permanent. So I uninstalled it again and that was it for me. Anyone else have this issue?

  8. pmshah
    June 20, 2014 at 4:26 am

    Just wondering which phone it was that you could hear while under a pile of clothes OR the volume setting of the sound !

    I will most certainly give Whistle Phone finder a try.

    • Mihir P
      June 20, 2014 at 7:22 am

      It gives a response at the highest volume, regardless of your sound, if that's what you choose in the app's settings :)

      I tried it on two phones: Moto E and Samsung Galaxy S3

  9. Cathy
    June 19, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Ok. Let's just say you let a 3 year old borrow your phone during choir practice to keep him quiet and he leaves your phone SOMEWHERE in the church. It is of course, on silent to avoid embarassing calls DURING church. I would have paid $100 on that day for this app. A buck is a bargain, I have tested it and like it. DONE.

  10. Harvey
    June 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    So if you walk into a room where you think you have left your phone, have Marco Polo installed, and say, "Marco", what happens if 3 other people in that room also have Marco Polo installed on their cell phones? Do you get 4 "Polos" in response?

    • Mihir Patkar
      June 19, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      Yup, that's exactly what will happen :) In such a case, it's probably better to ask one of them to call your phone to find it!

  11. Kimbrelyn
    June 19, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I think I'll get the Marco Polo app for the convenience, as I often misplace my phone in my house. I don't have a problem with battery life as it is, so I don't expect that to be an issue.

  12. Ron
    June 18, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    With my Moto X, I only have to say "Ok Google Now, find my phone" and it makes a loud sonor pinging sound. It worked when the phone was under my bed covers and I was in the next room.

    • pmshah
      June 20, 2014 at 4:35 am

      Is this a Motorola specific application or from Google? Would really appreciate your feedback / response.
      Thanks.

  13. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
    June 18, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    What if you don't know how to whistle ? what then ? Is there an app I can use to Whistle for me ?

    • pmshah
      June 20, 2014 at 4:31 am

      If you don't know how to whistle it would really be stupid to install this application, don't you think ? In any case the author has very clearly listed the situations where you have no other options !

  14. Cec
    June 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Yes, these two apps are far from the best options to find a lost iOS or Android phone. Maybe they are good options for whistlers, but otherwise, if you can send it a text or have access to a computer, there are SO many other better options that I don't even know why these two were highlighted.

    • Jo
      June 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      What other better options can you suggest? If your phone is on vibrate, sending a text won't help. There is no way you would be able to hear your phone vibrate from a text if it is on something soft in another room. Find my iPhone is excellent but some businesses don't allow this app - I think Marco Polo might be a good alternative but I'm interested in hearing your suggestions.

  15. A Fedz
    June 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Or you could just as well use you Find My Phone and send an alert which bypasses the silent switch.

    • pmshah
      June 20, 2014 at 4:33 am

      Really ? How do you do it if there is no other phone or a PC around ?

    • Chris
      March 31, 2015 at 2:12 am

      When is there not another phone or pc around?
      Where do you live, in a cave?

  16. Anonymous
    June 18, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Well, i guess i dnt need this application coz i always have a certain place for my phones... That wud be just on top of the table.

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