How to Find a Lost or Stolen Phone

Smartphones are growing to be an integral part of most people’s lifestyles in a business and entertainment capacity. If you look around a room, many individuals will have one in their hand or even be looking down at it. 

Some are brave enough to lie it down beside them when in a crowded space like a restaurant or other public location, with the potential for someone to swipe it before they’re aware. Or you forget where you put it when you’re in a hurry; whether you left it at work or sat it down somewhere in your home, it’s easy to do. 

The only problem in these scenarios is that your data is susceptible first. Then you’re left without the ties that you have to business, family, and close friend phone numbers (since no one remembers numbers) and private details like bills and banking. 

If you don’t have an app set up on your phone for a lost or stolen device, it will be necessary to get help from a close friend or family member to attempt to track it. 

Still, for security purposes, it’s recommended to reach out to the authorities in your local area to give them as many details as possible.

Setting up an Apple iPhone for recovery

The varied sorts of phones have their own recovery methods when a phone gets lost or stolen. Apple’s iPhone is no exception. The advanced Apple devices, whether iPhone, iPad, or other options, provide built-in systems for finding the equipment.

Still, it’s essential to remember or keep a password in a safe spot since this tool relies on that to function.

In order to set the mobile up for this recovery app, a user will need to go to the settings menu, where their name is the selected option. The menu will list your specific device as a mobile connection with only your Apple identifier, and that will be what you choose. 

From there, you’ll see “find my phone,” which will set the feature. Plus it will also be necessary to initiate the “toggle switch” in order which will be beside the “send last location” option. 

One setting that should already be enabled in your settings is the “location services”. But you can verify that if you look under the heading “Privacy” and then “location services” to ensure it’s on. 

After taking care of these steps, your phone is prepared for recovery. That means if it disappears in a house full of people, you can find it. How can you make that happen if you don’t have the device?

Recovering a lost iPhone

When you actually lose your iPhone or have it stolen, how do you recover it when the device is missing? You would need to go to an Apple laptop or desktop so you can open “icloud.com/find,” where you will use your Apple identifier to sign in. You can, of course, use an iPad for this purpose also.

The screen should pop up a map with a location flashing in the form of a dot to show where the device is located along with any other mobiles you might have registered under your identifier. 

If you touch on the flashing dot, you’ll get data letting you know when it was last at this location, including the date/time, plus it will tell you the percentage of battery remaining. 

The app allows you to interact with the mobile in such a way that you can send an alert, and the device will send out a sound. If it’s nearby, you can hear it even if it’s on mute. If you believe someone has taken your phone, you can send out a notification to mark it as lost.

It will then be locked remotely, plus you can add a message that will go out to the person who has it in case someone finds it or so a thief is unable to access your data. If you want to be even more secure, you can erase the data wiping it clean. 

You’ll be safe in knowing there’s a backup if you are to get your mobile back.

Setting up an Android device for recovery

With Android, you’ll also find a unique version of the app to find a phone. Now, with some manufacturers of these devices, there are specific finding apps with the equipment like Samsung has “Find My Mobile.” 

With most users, you will have a Google account registered for which you keep the password safely protected.

In the same context as the iPhone, an Android device will need the “location services” setting to enable the finding app to function. To check with these mobiles, you would go to “location” and then ensure these are on.

The comparative to the iPhone is very similar when trying to find a lost or stolen Android phone only you will go to a laptop or desktop and input “google.com/android/find. Or use a close friend or family member’s device to open the app and sign-in using your 

Google identifier: As with the iPhone, you can send an alert sound, plus you’ll see the map with the dot. The ringing will last roughly five minutes, allowing significant time for locating the mobile if it’s close by.

There is also the potential for locking and clearing the phone under the heading “recover,” similar to the Apple devices. You will use the “secure device” option in order to lock the phone and send an appropriate message for anyone who might locate it or perhaps a possible thief. 

When wiping the phone clean, you’ll “erase device” if you believe there’s a chance the phone has been stolen instead of merely lost. If you haven’t created a backup, this option will completely eliminate the data, meaning it will be virtually useless to you if you get the device back.

Things to remember if you no longer have your phone

Often when a phone comes up missing, or there’s a fear it was stolen, you’re so busy looking for it the focus is not always on the critical details on there and the need to protect that data. 

It’s vital to protect financial information, passwords, business details, all sensitive data that will likely be compromised if the mobile does happen to be stolen. 

When thieves are in possession of the device, they will act quickly to gather as many details as possible before discarding the mobile since it will serve no other purpose for them. 

They know you’ll ultimately take steps to clear the phone. The idea is to take adequate measures promptly to keep the damage as minimal as possible. After taking some of the advanced actions, let’s look at some other steps that might be necessary.

Validate the mobile is lost before taking any steps

Call the number from another device or have a friend do so to see if it’s in the vicinity. If it’s not close to you, someone kind might hear it and answer in an effort to help get it back to you. You can write a brief text using an alternate number on how to reach you to return the phone. You can also read about texting when you’re blocked.

Change passwords

Generally, banking apps offer two-factor authentication, sometimes three authentications aside from the password. But you should still consider changing the password along with any shopping or other apps you carry that might not have extra safety measures attached. 

That will help to prevent access from those who are unauthorized. The passwords you definitely want to consider are for your Apple identifier and Android or Google identifiers. These are compromised since your phone was stolen.

Reach out to the bank

While two factor (or three) or PIN security is challenging to break with banking apps by criminals, you might have put these credentials in notes on the mobile so you wouldn’t forget them. That makes it critical to contact the bank and put a block on accounts and cards, at least temporarily.

Mobile carrier

Notify the mobile carrier immediately in order to get the SIM blocked. That way, you can avoid services through the “password reset system” that is “based in the OTP” or other unauthorized transactions. 

A mobile service will be able to lock the phone, so no one can attempt to sign on with a different service or use of another SIM.

A police report

Filing a police report gets the incident documented if the individual(s) performs fraudulent actions using the mobile. Plus, for those who have insurance on the device, insurance carriers won’t proceed with opening a claim until they receive a police report.

Conclusion

We all lose our phones or even have them stolen at some point. Often it’ll be in our home; sometimes, we leave it behind in a restaurant or a busy public place. The worst is when someone helps themself to swipe it off your dining table or at an event when you lie it down for a second. 

It takes a lot of effort to rebuild your privacy. Still, you must take the necessary steps, so you have no repercussions with your identity. Staying safe is always a priority.

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