Sony’s “my Xperia” feature will be familiar to most Sony Xperia owners. The service is similar to Google’s Android Device Manager, allowing users to locate, ring, lock or wipe a device remotely. However, a big disadvantage with these services is that it is relatively easy for someone to wipe a phone clean and ‘my Xperia’ or ‘Android Device Manager’ with it.
Google plans to try and address this problem in Android 5.1 with a feature called “Device Protection”, however for the time being it is only available to select Google Nexus owners. The good news for Xperia owners is that Sony has provided its own solution running on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop in the form of “My Xperia Theft Protection (MXTP)”. Currently, only three Sony Xperia devices supports MXTP including the Xperia M4 Aqua, Xperia C4 and Xperia Z4 Tablet.
MXTP is added to the bootloader of a phone, which means it will continue to protect your phone even if someone tries to wipe a device clean using PC Companion or third-party solutions such as Flashtool. If someone does wipe a device, whilst you won’t be able to use the ‘my Xperia’ feature to locate it anymore (since all personal data on the operating system is deleted), MXTP will render it useless to a thief unless they know your Google log-in details.
The Sony Xperia device will enter into a ‘Lockdown’ mode if unusual patterns are detected such as:
– Someone tries to factory reset your device
– Someone performs a software repair using PC Companion (or using Flashtool)
– Someone deletes the Google account associated with MXTP
– Someone disables MXTP in the settings but fails to provide the correct login details 5 times
– Someone deletes MXTP or removes the admin rights
– Lockdown can be manually activated by the owner through the MyXperia website
Under Lockdown, the following is what happens to your device (the only way to exit Lockdown mode is by correctly entering your Google details associated with the MyXperia account):
– All running applications are stopped.
– You can no longer maximize the notification panel.
– Incoming calls are sent to voicemail (if available).
– Outgoing calls (except emergency calls) are blocked.
– The USB port will only be available for charging. It will not be possible for a PC or Mac to detect the device.
Enabling MXTP is exactly the same as you would for ‘my Xperia’. Head into Settings > Security > ‘Protection by my Xperia’ to activate it. There is no screen to show that you are enabling a much deeper theft protection system versus the old solution. The same menu is used to deactivate the device, you will need to enter your Google log-in details to do this.
MyXperia Theft Protection is a much broader and useful tool compared to the old ‘my Xperia’. Whilst it won’t do anything extra to help you locate a phone, it will much it much more difficult for a thief to benefit from your loss as MXTP will effectively render the device a paperweight without the correct login details. One caveat is that you will not be able to activate MXTP if your phone has an unlocked bootloader as Sony says it is “impossible to guarantee security on a platform where there is no security”.