Lose your smartphone? What to do to protect yourself if you lost your .
  • androidiosphone
  • 19/03/2023

Lose your smartphone? What to do to protect yourself if you lost your .

It’s the worst feeling: that moment you realize your smartphone is missing.

Panic ensues, and you begin the frantic search around you, lifting sofa cushions and retracing your steps. But wait, did you even bring it in from the Uber? Oh no.

Of course, it’s bound to happen at some point, when it’s a small device you carry with you literally everywhere. But with some models north of $1,500, this would be one pricey thing to lose.

And that’s not the worst of it, as the cost to replace the hardware itself may be pale in comparison to exposing all your data – including potentially sensitive information about you (or your company) – should it fall into the wrong hands.

You at least had a lock on the phone, though, right? You sure?

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And what about those irreplaceable photos and home movies you recently shot on your device, but didn’t back up. Those detailed notes you had about a billion-dollar idea. Messages with friends and relatives you never deleted, just because.

OK, so don’t go into mourning just yet, as there are a few things you can do to retrieve a missing smartphone.

First steps to find your phone

Before we cover the various ways to leverage “Find my phone” options, your first call to action – after you take a deep breath, of course – is to get to another phone and call your number.

Whether you still have a landline or need to ask a friend or neighbor for a phone, dial your number and fingers crossed you hear it ring.

If it’s on silent, you may still hear it vibrate if on a hard surface.

Lose your smartphone? What to do to protect yourself if you lost your .

Pro tip: If you own a smart speaker, you can say either “Alexa, where is my phone?” (for Amazon Echo devices) or “OK Google, where is my phone?” (for Google Nest products) and it should ring loudly – even if it’s on silent.

Click the tab that says Find iPhone. If you have more than one Apple device, select the name of what’s missing, like “Marc’s iPhone,” from the dropdown list at the top of the screen.

You will now see it on an overhead map, represented by a green dot. If it’s been turned off or is offline, or the battery is dead, you will see its last known location.

Actually, if you turned on Find My network, you can see your device’s location even if it’s not connected to a Wi-Fi or cellular network. This is Apple’s encrypted anonymous network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices that can help you locate your device or item.

Now you have three choices: Play Sound (to make it ring loudly), Erase iPhone (which deletes all your info), or Lost Mode (if it’s really lost and not on your bathroom counter).

When you click Lost Mode, you’ll be prompted to lock your device with a 6-digit PIN. Then, follow the onscreen steps if you want your contact info to display on your missing iPhone, or if you want to enter a custom message asking the finder to contact you. Select Activate.

Apple Pay is also disabled for your device, plus any credit or debit cards tied to your iPhone are suspended.

In Lost Mode, you’ll also see your iPhone’s current location on the map (as well as any changes in its location) and even if Location Services is turned off on the device, it’ll be temporarily turned on to track your device’s location.

But never try to retrieve a stolen iPhone on your own. It’s not worth the risk. Instead, contact the authorities with the information.

How to find your Android phone

You have similar tools to track down a lost or stolen Android device, such as a Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel phone.

Go to android.com/find and sign into your Google account (top right of page) for the option to remotely erase your device.

Now you have a few options listed on the left-hand side of the screen:

Finally, if your phone really is gone for good, it’s recommended to change the passwords to all your online accounts that may be associated with your phone (or passwords you marked down in the Notes app of your phone).

And it doesn’t hurt to contact your carrier, as they can also disable service to your phone.

Finally, let the authorities know of a lost or stolen phone and file a police report in the event of fraudulent charges made with your device.

Follow Marc on Twitter for his “Tech Tip of the Day” posts: @marc_saltzman. Or subscribe to his weekly Tech It Out podcast at https://marcsaltzman.com/podcasts.