Lost Or Stolen Phone? Here’s How To Find And Get It Fast
Losing your Android phone can be a stressful experience, especially considering the personal information and valuable data it holds. However, with the built-in tools available on Android devices, you can track down your missing phone and take necessary actions to secure your information. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to prepare your phone beforehand and what to do if your phone goes missing.
Set Aside A Few Minutes For Preparation
Create a Secure Lock Screen:
One of the first steps to protect your phone is to create a secure lock screen. By enabling passcode and fingerprint authentication, you add an extra layer of security. Avoid using facial recognition as it can be easily tricked on most Android devices, except for Google’s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL which use a more reliable system similar to Apple’s Face ID.
Set Up Passcode and Fingerprint Authentication:
To set up passcode and fingerprint authentication, go to the Settings app on your Android device. Look for the Security section and find the options to set up a passcode and register your fingerprint. While it may be slightly inconvenient to enter a passcode or scan your fingerprint each time you use your phone, it is worth the effort to protect your personal information from unauthorized access.
Set Up Google’s Find My Device Service
Automatic Activation with Google Account:
Every time you sign in to an Android device with your Google account, the Find My Device service is automatically turned on. This service allows you to track, remotely lock, and remotely erase your phone if it goes missing.
Check Find My Device Settings on Your Phone:
To ensure that Find My Device is enabled on your Android phone, open the Settings app and navigate to the Security & Location or Google > Security section. Look for the Find My Device option and make sure it is turned on. If you don’t see this option, it may be located under a different menu, such as Google > Security > Find My Device.
Enable Find My Device if Not Already Enabled:
If Find My Device is not enabled on your phone, slide the switch to the On position. This will activate the service and allow you to use it in case your phone gets lost or stolen.
Double-Check Security and Remote Erase Settings:
To ensure that you can secure and remotely erase your device if needed, go to android.com/find on your computer. Sign in with your Google account and select your phone from the list. Follow the prompts to set up secure and erase options. A push alert will be sent to your phone, and you should tap it to complete the setup process.
Immediate Action To Take When Your Phone Get Lost
Try Calling Your Number Immediately
When you realize your phone is missing, the first thing you should do is try calling your number from another device. This is a simple and quick way to check if your phone is nearby or if someone has picked it up. If you can hear your phone ringing, it means it is still within reach and you can locate it easily. However, if nobody answers the call or if it goes straight to voicemail, it may indicate that your phone has been stolen or lost in a place where it cannot be easily retrieved.
Text your cell phone
If calling your phone doesn’t yield any results, you can try sending a text message to it. This can be helpful if you have set up your lock or home screen to display text messages. In the text, you can provide instructions on how to reach you or offer a reward for returning the phone. This can be an effective way to communicate with a potential finder of your phone and increase the chances of getting it back.
Use Find My Device To Track Your Phone
If your phone goes missing, you can use any device with internet access to access the Find My Device service. Open a web browser and go to android.com/find.
Sign in with Your Google Account:
On the Find My Device website, sign in with the same Google account that is linked to your missing phone. This will allow you to access the tracking features and control options.
Locate Your Phone on a Map:
Once signed in, you will be able to see the location of your phone on a map. The map will show the approximate location of your device, helping you narrow down its whereabouts. Keep in mind that the accuracy of the location may vary depending on the availability of GPS and other factors.
Remote Ringing, Locking, and Data Erasure Options:
From the Find My Device website, you have several options to take action on your missing phone. You can remotely ring your phone at maximum volume, even if it is set to silent or vibrate mode. This can help you locate your phone if it is nearby.
If you suspect that your phone has been stolen or you want to ensure your data remains secure, you can remotely lock your device. This will prevent unauthorized access to your personal information.
In extreme cases, where you believe your phone is irretrievable or you want to protect your data, you can remotely erase all the data on your device. This action is irreversible, so make sure you have a backup of your important data before proceeding.
Additional Steps To Take
Change your passwords
When your phone is stolen, there is a risk that someone could access your personal accounts and sensitive information. To protect yourself, it is crucial to change the passwords for all accounts associated with your phone. Start by changing the password for your app store to prevent unauthorized app or in-app purchases. Additionally, change the passwords for your email accounts, social media accounts, online banking, and any other accounts that may have been accessed through your stolen phone. This will help secure your personal information and prevent further unauthorized access.
Call your bank
If your phone contained any banking or credit card information, it is important to contact your bank or credit card company immediately. Inform them that your phone has been stolen and ask if there has been any recent activity on your account. They can help monitor your account for any suspicious transactions and advise you on any necessary steps to protect your financial information. It may be advisable to cancel your existing credit card and get a new one to ensure the security of your accounts.
Secure Your Online Accounts
In addition to changing passwords, it is important to secure your online accounts to prevent unauthorized access. This includes your email accounts, social media accounts, and any other accounts that may have been linked to your stolen phone. Change the passwords for these accounts and consider enabling additional security measures, such as two-factor authentication, to add an extra layer of protection.
Unlink Your Accounts
If changing passwords is not enough to give you peace of mind, you can manually unlink your cloud accounts from your stolen phone. This will prevent any further syncing of data and ensure the safety of your accounts. You can do this by accessing the security settings of each account and removing your stolen device from the list of linked devices.
Deactivate Your SIM Card
To prevent unauthorized usage of your phone number, contact your service provider and request them to suspend your SIM card. This will ensure that no one can make calls or use your number for fraudulent activities.
Report the Theft and Block the Phone:
Inform your service provider about the theft and provide them with all the necessary details. They can help you block the phone to prevent unauthorized use and ensure that it cannot be activated on another network.
When reporting the theft to your service provider or filing a police report, provide them with as much information as possible. This includes your phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number, which is a unique identifier for your device. You can find the IMEI number on the original packaging, your purchase receipt, or by dialing *#06# on your phone.
File a Police Report:
In cases of theft, it is important to file a police report. Provide the police with all the relevant information, including the IMEI number, a description of the phone, and any other details that may assist in the investigation.
If you have a Samsung phone, there are two different services you should check:
Find My Mobile:
This is a service offered by Samsung to help track down lost phones. It gives you backup options and additional tools that Google’s Find My Device doesn’t have. To set up Find My Mobile, go to Settings > Biometrics and security > Find My Mobile. Make sure you are signed in to your Samsung account and enable the service.
This is a new service from Samsung that works similar to Apple’s Find My app. It uses nearby Galaxy devices to crowdsource the location of a lost device, even if it’s offline. To set up SmartThings Find, make sure you have a Galaxy device running Android 8 or newer. Update the SmartThings app from the Galaxy Store if needed. Open the SmartThings app and go to SmartThings Find to view the location of your devices.
In addition to these Samsung services, you can also use Google’s Find My Device service. To track your Android phone using this service, go to android.com/find on a computer or download the Find My Device app on another Android device. Sign in with your Google account and follow the instructions to locate, lock, or erase your phone if necessary.
To lock down and track a lost or stolen Android phone, you can use Google’s Find My Device service. Here’s how:
Firstly, you can access the Find My Device service by visiting the website android.com/find on a computer. Alternatively, you can download the Find My Device app from the Play Store on another Android device.
Once you have accessed the service, sign in using the same Google account that is linked to your Android phone. This will enable Google to attempt to locate your phone.
When the service locates your phone, it will send an alert to your device, notifying anyone who has it that it is being tracked.
The Find My Device website or app provides several options to help you manage your lost or stolen phone:
- Play Sound: If you misplaced your phone in your home, this option will play a sound to help you locate it.
- Secure Device: Selecting this option will lock your phone, display a message of your choice on the lock screen, and sign out of your Google account. Even when locked, you can still track the phone’s location. Additionally, if you use Google Pay, locking your phone will prevent unauthorized purchases.
- Erase Device: This option should be used as a last resort. It will erase all data on your phone, and you will no longer be able to track it. It’s important to exercise caution when using this option, as it is irreversible.
If the thief turns off your phone, tracking will not be possible until it is turned back on and has a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Google will send you an email once it locates your device.
Once you have successfully located your phone, you will need to enter your PIN or passcode to gain access. This will remove the lock screen message. Additionally, you may need to log in to your Google account to verify your identity. It’s worth noting that you do not need to turn off anything in the Find My Device app.
Life Pro Tip: Don’t Confront Thieves
If your phone has been stolen and you have successfully tracked its location, it is advisable not to confront the thieves yourself. Confrontation can be dangerous and may result in harm to you or others. Remember, while your phone is important, your safety is paramount.
Instead, contact local law enforcement and inform them that your phone has been stolen and you have tracked it to a specific address. They are trained to handle such situations and will be better equipped to recover your phone safely.
Take Preventive Measures For The Future
Learn from this experience and take steps to prevent your phone from being stolen in the future. Here are some preventive measures you can consider:
Enable additional security features:
Set up biometric authentication, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, to add an extra layer of security to your phone. You can also enable two-factor authentication for your accounts to prevent unauthorized access.
Use a strong passcode or PIN:
Avoid using easily guessable passcodes or PINs. Use a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters to create a strong and unique passcode.
Install a tracking app:
Consider installing a tracking app on your phone that can help you locate it in case it gets lost or stolen. There are various apps available for both Android and iOS devices that offer features like GPS tracking, remote lock, and data wiping.
Be aware of your surroundings:
Pay attention to your surroundings and be mindful of where you place your phone. Avoid leaving it unattended in public places or easily accessible areas.
Keep a record of your phone’s information:
Keep a record of your phone’s make, model, serial number, and IMEI number. This information can be useful for filing police reports and insurance claims.
Backup your data regularly:
Regularly backup the data on your phone to a secure location, such as cloud storage or an external hard drive. This way, even if your phone is stolen, you won’t lose important information.
Losing a phone and going through the process of tracking it down can be emotionally challenging. We hope these steps help you navigate the situation effectively. Remember to prioritize your safety and rely on the appropriate authorities to handle the recovery process.