Losing your smartphone can cause existential panic - much more so than losing your wallet or house keys. That's because in addition to its monetary value, your phone packs so much critical and private information about you and your family into one handy place. The idea that a stranger has access to this personal information is chilling.
And yet, people lose their smartphones every day. You check the couches at Ikea and it falls out of your pocket, you lose track of your phone in a crowded exhibit hall, you leave it in your pants pocket while throwing clothes in the trash, or some creep manages to grab it from your pocket or backpack. It doesn't matter how it happened - you want your phone back, and you want it back now.BERLIN WEATHER
There are many ways to tracking your phone. If it's an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, you already have the software you need to find it - or there are various third-party apps you can install to track your phone.
By the way, have you ever wondered what happens to a smartphone after it's stolen? Read how this filmmaker spied on a thief to find out.
If you happen to lose your iOS or Android smartphone, both Apple and Google have built-in phone search technology as part of a native software package that works through your device account. For Android devices, it's your Google account, and for iPhones, it's your iCloud account. Both allow you to remotely lock and wipe your phone, make it ring, and set up special messages to alert you to whoever finds it. These features work great as long as your phone's battery is charged.
Use caution when communicating with anyone who has found your smartphone. Avoid revealing personal information, such as your home address, until you know you are dealing with someone you can trust. Stick to sending phone numbers or email addresses to let them know how the finder can return your phone. Here's our guide on how to find a lost phone or similar device for each operating system.
The easiest way to locate a lost Android handset is to use the Find My Device feature, which is built into your Android smartphone via Google Play services - it can also be used in your browser or downloaded from the Google Play Store. Most devices running Android 2.3 or later should be able to use this feature.
Using this feature is as simple as searching "Where's my phone?" on Google, which will cause the service to search for your phone. We previously wrote about the Find My Device feature and its ability to call you, set a new password, and call you from afar along with many other notification features. While Find My Device can be set up in advance, it should be available if you lose or misplace your phone using Wi-Fi or GPS to help you find your device. It's a very good idea to enable the Find My Device service on your Android smartphone.
If you can't retrieve your smartphone, you can always wipe it to prevent sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands. Your device will need an internet connection and enough juice to communicate with you. In Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google has introduced Factory Reset Protection (FRP). It is designed to prevent thieves from being able to steal your phone, wipe it, and then use or sell it. If you factory reset a FRP-enabled phone and try to set it up as a new device, you'll be prompted to enter the username and password for the last Google account that was registered on the device. If you can't, the phone will remain locked.
Android also works with several third-party apps that are designed to find your smartphone. One such app, Prey Anti Theft, has a remote access and control feature so you can gather more information about your phone's whereabouts. It provides more control over how you and the cops can track your device - GPS coordinates, MAC address, camera photos to help catch the thief, and other more detailed notifications that Find My Device doesn't offer.
Another option for some Samsung smartphones is Find My Mobile. You can use it to locate, lock or wipe a missing phone. You need a Samsung account and the remote control options are enabled on your phone. To check if the Find My Mobile service is available for your smartphone, follow these steps.
You also have the option to erase the device in case it falls into the wrong hands.
Find My Phone iPhone can also locate your Mac, iPod and iPad. It is an extremely effective tool for tracking almost any iOS device. Don't believe us? Check out this story about a criminal being apprehended by cops using the app. This is just one of many similar stories where phone tracking software has helped locate a stolen device.
Apple also uses an activation lock to protect your iPhone from theft. Enabled by default, the activation lock requires you to tap your Apple ID and password before you can disable Find My iPhone, wipe your device, or reactivate it.
For simple cell phones, there aren't as many software or app-based options to help you find your lost handset. But there are still some standard procedures to follow if you lose your mobile phone. Try to do the following.