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Find a stolen or lost Android phone



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You can leave a message so that the person with your phone can reach you. Jason Cipriani / CNET

It happens in an instant. You put your phone on a counter at the checkout or feel a slight shock when you get off the metro, to realize later that your phone is gone. Regardless of how you lose it, whether it is theft or a simple error, losing your phone is a stressful experience .

Not only is your access to the rest of the world closed, but your telephone is the most personal device you own. And replacing is a costly nuisance.

Do not panic if your phone is missing. Every Android phone has tools built in that make it possible to easily lock and locate a lost phone. But first you have to take a few steps to prepare yourself for success if and when your phone goes missing ̵

1; even if you have left it alone in the house.

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How to find your lost Android phone



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Be prepared

Create a secure lock screen

Do yourself a favor and enable password and fingerprint verification. Do yourself another favor and do not use face recognition on your Android device.

On most Android devices, the technology used for face recognition can easily be misled with something as simple as a photo of your face. Google & # 39; s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are the exceptions here because they use a more reliable system similar to Apple & # 39; s Face ID .

Then create your access code and set up fingerprint authentication in the Settings app under the Security section. I realize that scanning a fingerprint or entering a PIN every time you want to use your phone can be tricky, but the idea that someone has access to your photos, banking apps, email and the rest of your personal info is downright scary.

An additional step to unlock your phone is worth it if you consider the potential impact of exposing your personal information to a stranger.

Read more: If you lose your iPhone, do these 3 things immediately

Google & # 39; s Find My Device

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Make sure that Google & # 39; s device search is enabled.


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Every time you log in to an Android device with a Google account, Find My Device is already enabled. Find my device is what you will use if your phone ever misses to track it, lock it remotely and delete it remotely.

You can check if Find my device is enabled by opening the Settings app and going to Security and location > My device . If your device does not have Security and Location option, go to Google > Security > Find my device .

Search my device must be turned on. If this is not the case, slide the switch to the On position.

Samsung & # 39; s find my mobile

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If you have signed in to your Samsung account on a Galaxy phone, it is good to go. However, it is a good idea to check this again.


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

If you have a Samsung phone, and in addition to Google & # 39; s Find My Device service, you can set up Samsung & # 39; s Find My Mobile service. It not only gives you a backup service that you can use to track down a lost phone, but it also gives you tools that Find My Device does not have.

With the service from Samsung you can do things like force external backups or see if someone has changed your SIM card . You must have a Samsung account to use Find My Cell.

On your Samsung phone, open the app Settings and go to Biometrics and security > Find My Mobile . If you signed in to your Samsung account during the first device configuration, Find My Mobile should already be turned on. If this is not the case, take a few seconds to sign up and turn on Find My Mobile.

Remotely lock and track a lost phone

Use my device search

Play a sound, lock your phone or delete it via the Find my device site.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

If you use the built-in service of Android, you must remember one thing: android.com/find. That website is where you go in the unfortunate event that you lose your phone. Make sure you sign up with the same Google account that is associated with your Android phone.

Not near a computer? You can use another Android device and the Find My Device app, which you must download separately from the Play Store. Immediately after you log in to the site or app, Google will try to find your phone.

A warning is sent to your phone to let you know who followed it. Use the menu on the left side of the find my device site to play a sound (useful if you have lost it in your home!), Lock your device or delete the device completely.

If you select Secure Device, the phone will be locked, a message of your choice will be displayed on the lock screen, and you will need to log out of your Google account. Don't worry, you can still locate the phone after it is locked. If you use Google Pay for mobile payments, locking your phone will prevent someone from using your phone to make a purchase.

If you use the Clear Device function, you cannot track the phone anymore. Reserve this feature as a last resort.

If the thief turns off your phone, you cannot follow him until he is turned on again and has a mobile or Wi-Fi connection. Google will send you an email once it has found your device.

After finding your phone, you must enter your PIN code or password to gain access. That should also get rid of from the lock screen message. You may also need to sign in to your Google account just to check if you really have access to the phone – you don't have to turn anything off in the Find My Device app.

Samsung phones

Find My Mobile from Samsung has many options for tracking and controlling a lost phone.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Samsung Galaxy owners have the advantage of using the respective services of Google or Samsung to find a lost device, but I recommend using Samsung's offer. As you will see below, the added options are invaluable.

If you want to track a lost device with the Samsung service, you must visit findmymobile.samsung.com. There is no associated app, so you must use a mobile browser on a different phone or computer.

Log in with your Samsung account and then select your lost device on the left side of the screen. A map is displayed where your telephone is located and a menu of options is displayed on the right-hand side of the screen.

Start locking the phone, which displays a personalized message on the lock screen, suspends your Samsung Pay cards, and prevents the phone from turning off.

Then make a backup of your telephone. If you lose it forever, you want an up-to-date backup of your phone. If the phone moves locations, use the Location tracking function.

If you enable this function, your phone will be monitored every 15 minutes. Finally, enable the Extend battery life feature – turn off almost everything on the phone except location tracking.

Like Google & # 39; s Search for my device service, the Samsung service only requires that you enter your PIN after you find your phone. You do not have to go back to the website and disable one of the tracking functions.

Confront thieves

If your phone is stolen and you can track the location, do not attempt to repair it yourself. This can cause you or someone else to be injured and despite the importance of a telephone, it is simply not worth it.

Instead, contact the local police and let them know that you need help recovering a lost or stolen phone that you have been able to trace to a specific address.

Contact your provider, submit an insurance claim

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Contact your courier to request a Submit an insurance claim as soon as you realize that you will not get your phone back. Sarah Tew / CNET

If it becomes clear that you will never get your phone back, contact your courier and report your phone as lost or stolen. If you do this, the phone will be blacklisted in the provider's database, which will prevent another person from using it.

When you call, your provider will also want to interrupt your service. This is a good idea if you want to prevent someone from using your phone. However, keep in mind that if you still keep track of your lost phone, you will lose a mobile connection with it – and unless the phone is somehow registered on a Wi-Fi network, you will lose the ability to track it .

If you finally pay the insurance on your phone, you must file a claim and pay the deductible to get your replacement phone. Start the claim process through your provider, which will then probably refer you to the external insurance company that will replace your phone.

Good luck! We hope you never have to go through the emotional roller coaster to lose a phone, find it and try to get it back.

Originally published last year. Updated regularly.


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