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Find a lost phone

So you have lost your phone. We have all been there. It was in your pocket just a minute ago – and now it's gone, lost by the phone's fairies, forgotten in the seats of your couch or gone wrong somewhere during your busy day. Maybe it's just in your other jacket, or maybe it's already in the hands of someone who found it on the sidewalk. Anyway, the only thing you want to do is retrieve it.

Fortunately, there are many ways to get hold of your missing phone. If it is a smartphone (or even a tablet) with iOS or Android, chances are it has all the software it needs to track it – or there is an app that you can install to track your phone. Here is our guide to finding a lost phone or similar device.

Have you ever wondered what happens to a smartphone after it has been stolen? Read how this filmmaker spied on a thief to find out.

Finding smartphones

If your lost phone happens to be a smartphone, the major platform providers (Apple and Google) incorporate technology for retrieving phones in the Android or iOS software. These apps work via the account associated with your device. For Android devices this is your Google account and for iPhones this is your iCloud account. With both, you can lock and delete your phone remotely, have it ring, and set up special messages to warn who finds it.

Of course, these functions are only as good as your phone's battery. If your smartphone dies, it is about as easy to find as your wallet or anything else that you might misplace.

We also recommend being careful with someone who has found your smartphone. Make sure you do not give away any personal information, such as your home address, until you know that you are dealing with someone you can trust. Stay with sending phone numbers or email addresses to communicate how the Good Samaritan can return your phone. This is how each of the operating systems works.

Finding a lost Android phone

Android not only offers Google's own service for remotely searching and managing your device, but also various third-party apps designed for finding your smartphone. The easiest to use is Find My Device, which is built directly into your Android smartphone via Google Play Services ̵

1; it can also be used in a browser or downloaded from the Google Play Store. Most devices with Android 2.3 or higher should be able to use this function.

Using the function is as simple as searching for "Where is my phone?" In Google, which means the service will search for your smartphone. We have previously written about Find My Device and the ability to call you, set a new password, and have your phone ring from far, along with the variety of other functions it uses for reporting purposes. Although you can configure Find My Device in advance, the service must be available in case you lose or misplace your phone. It uses Wi-Fi or GPS to help you locate your device.

To check if your Android smartphone has the Search My Device feature enabled, go to Settings> Google (or Google services)> Security And make sure that This device remotely locate is enabled in the section Find my device . When you open the app or search your browser, you'll see all your devices at the top, so just tap the relevant tab to find the specific device you're looking for.

  Android Search for my device

If you cannot find your smartphone, you can always delete it to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Your device needs an internet connection and enough juice to communicate with you. In Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google also introduced Factory Reset Protection (FRP). It is designed to prevent potential thieves from stealing, deleting, and then using or selling your phone. If you set the factory settings of a phone with FRP enabled and try to set it as a new device, you will be asked to enter the username and password for the last Google account registered on the device. If you cannot, the phone remains locked.

There are also third-party apps that you can install to help you find your phone. Prey Anti Theft is a great app that provides external access and control, so you can get more information about the location of your phone. It offers a number of additional functions such as more detailed control over how you track your device, GPS coordinates, MAC address, photos of the camera to potentially catch the thief and other, more detailed notifications that Find My Device does not not.

  Screenshot of the Samsung Find My Mobile website

Another option for certain Samsung smartphones is the Find My Mobile service. It can be used to locate, lock or completely delete a missing phone. However, you need a Samsung account and the remote control options are enabled on your phone. Go to Settings> Biometrics and security to check if Find My Mobile is available for your smartphone. If you see Find my mobile in the menu, you can use the service. You can enable the remote control options via Settings> Biometrics and security> Search my mobile> Remote controls .

Find a lost iPhone or other mobile phone

Find a lost iPhone

The best (and only) way to get your iPhone back is through Apple's native function, Find My iPhone. The app is pre-installed on every iOS device and can display your missing device on a map to help you find and manage it easily. You need a computer or other iOS device with the Find My iPhone app to implement this feature. Unfortunately, these functions are only available if your phone is switched on and connected to the internet.

To use the function, simply log in to iCloud and open the Find my iPhone function. The Apple service will locate your phone on a map and give you the option to play a sound on your device, send a message to your phone with "lost mode" or delete its contents. This is all possible without additional configuration.

Find my iPhone can also find your Mac, iPod and iPad. It is an incredibly effective tool for detecting almost any iOS device. Don't believe us? View this story about agents arresting a criminal using the app. This is just one of many similar stories in which telephone tracking software has saved the day.

Apple also uses another form of security, known as Activation Lock, to protect your iPhone against theft. Activation slot requires that you enter your Apple ID and password before you can turn off Find My iPhone, delete your device, or reactivate.

Find your not-so-smart cell phone

Step 1: Call your cell phone. Listen to the ringtone or vibration and try to find your phone through proven human detection. If your phone is really lost and someone else's hands, they will probably respond if they plan to take the phone back.

Step 2: Return to your steps. Perform a full visual search. If you could not hear a ringing tone or vibration when you called it, do not immediately assume that your phone is far away – the battery may be empty.

Step 3: Send an SMS with your phone. If you think someone has stolen or possibly found your phone, send an SMS to your phone with your contact details and a reward offer if you choose to do so. There are many online services that allow you to send text messages for free, such as txt2day.com.

Step 4: Notify your service provider. If you have lost hope to find it, call your wireless network provider and let them know that your phone is lost. Ask if they offer a GPS location service. If this is not the case, ask them to suspend the service on your phone to prevent potential fraudulent charges. Carriers have a different policy on this, but it is always worth a try, even for a smartphone. This FCC page has a handy list of numbers.

Step 5: Register your lost telephone. If you know the IMEI number of your telephone or have written it down somewhere, register it with Immobilize.

Step 6: Prepare for the next time you lose your phone. Maybe you are one of those people who always lose their phone. You may want to register for a tracking service such as AccuTracking.

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