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Lost your phone? Here's what to do.

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A lost phone or stolen phone can be devastating on many ways. There are obvious consequences that will affect your wallet, but there are plenty of other things to worry about, such as your passwords, photos, and credit card information that someone might be getting.

If your phone has gone missing, there are some important things you should do once you realize it's gone. And if your phone is not missing, take some of these steps so you are better prepared if you lose it at some point.

What to do before you lose your phone

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While we hope to never lose our phones, it happens to many of us. Between the risk of it falling out of your pocket or being stolen by someone else, it could happen to the best of us. Rather than panic after it is gone, it is much better to take proper precautions so that the damage from loss is minimized.

Set a strong access code

First of all you need to set a strong PIN or password. That means that does not use 1234 or 0000. If someone finds your lost phone, they first try to unlock it with a simple code, and that can lead to a whole bunch of issues you don't want to face.

To enable this on Android, do this:

  1. Go to Settings .
  2. Click on Security .
  3. Choose Screen Lock under the section Device Security .
  4. Choose the desired screen lock style.
  5. Enter a new passcode or an unlock pattern.

Note: The instructions above are for Google Pixel phones. Your Android phone's settings may require several steps.

If you are a iPhone user, you can enable passcode as follows:

  1. Open Settings .
  2. Choose Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode depending on your device).
  3. Enable Passcode .
  4. Enter a new access code.

If your phone has a fingerprint or facial recognition, turn it on as they add an extra layer of security that is difficult for a thief to crack. You can enable these options in the same area where you enabled your passcode.

Enable Find My Device or Find My iPhone

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You must Enable Find My Device or Find My iPhone in the settings so you can ensure you can actually find your phone, turn it off remotely and wipe it if it goes missing. This makes it much more likely that you can actually recover your precious device, saving a lot of headaches and money.

To enable Find My Device on Android you must:

  1. Go to Settings .
  2. Dial Security .
  3. Choose Find My Device .
  4. Make sure the switch is turned on . [19659027] On an iPhone you need to do the following:

    1. Open Settings .
    2. Tap your name at the top of the Settings screen.
    3. Tap Find My .
    4. Enable the functions you want to use.

    Depending on what you keep on your phone, you probably want to backup your data. There are tons of ways you can do this, and the popular services will allow you to recover your data on your new device if you can't get the old one back. See below for the best services for backing up your Android device.

    Backing up your phone is more than worth it, because it becomes so much easier to set up a new phone.

    If you have an iPhone, you can use many of those third-party options above, but the best option is Apple's built-in iCloud service. To enable backup on iPhone, just do the following:

    1. Go to Settings .
    2. Tap your name at the top of the Settings screen.
    3. Tap iCloud .
    4. Scroll down and tap iCloud Backup .
    5. Check the box to enable the backup.

    Write your phone's notes IMEI

    We hate to say it, but if your phone is ever stolen, there is a chance that the thief is trying to sell it online. Before this ever happens you need to write down your phone's IMEI so you can check if the stolen phone is yours if it ever shows up.

    On Android you want to:

    1. Go to Settings .
    2. Scroll down and choose About phone .
    3. You see the IMEI of your phone. Write this number down and keep it somewhere safe.

    On an iPhone you want to:

    1. open the app Phone .
    2. Choose the following characters and numbers: * # 06 # (No need to press the call button!)
    3. The IMEI of your device should automatically appear.

    What to do if you lost your phone

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    If your phone is currently lost, there are some important things you should do minimize the damage. Some of them can help you get it back, and others will ensure that your personal information is not stolen if you have a hard time locating the lost phone.

    Call or text your lost phone

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    The very first thing you want to do if you lose your phone is to make a call or send a text message. Sometimes you think your phone has been lost and that it is really only in the cushions of the sofa.

    If he is really lost, someone may have found him and try to give it back. If the person doesn't try to steal your phone, they probably won't be able to unlock it, but they can answer a call and hopefully they can meet you to return the device. It's important to do this as soon as you realize it's missing as once the phone battery runs out the person who found it can no longer answer.

    Let it play a sound

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    Je kunt ook Find My Device (Android) of Find My iPhone gebruiken om je verloren telefoon een geluid te laten spelen, dat is handig als je geen ander apparaat bij de hand hebt om mee te bellen of te sms'en.

    Op Android hoef je alleen maar de volgende stappen te volgen:

    1. Ga naar android.com/find op een computer in de buurt of op een andere telefoon. [19659017] Meld u aan bij uw Google-account als daarom wordt gevraagd.
    2. Klik op uw apparaat.
    3. Klik op Geluid afspelen .

    Op een iPhone moet u:

    1. Ga naar icloud. com / vind op een computer in de buurt of op een andere telefoon.
    2. Log in met uw Apple ID.
    3. Klik op uw apparaat.
    4. Klik op Geluid afspelen .

    Vergrendel uw apparaat

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    If you can’t get in touch with anyone when you try to call or text your phone, you’ll want to lock it down to ensure no sensitive data is stolen. In order to do this, you will need to have enabled the feature before your phone went missing.

    If you’re using Android, you need to do the following:

    1. Go to android.com/find.
    2. If prompted, sign into your Google account.
    3. Click on the device you want to disable.
    4. Click Secure device to lock it.

    If you have an Android device activated on your Google account, you’ll be able to remotely disable it and wipe all of the data. Again, this needs to be enabled before your device goes missing.

    On an iPhone, you’ll need to:

    1. Go to icloud.com/find.
    2. Log in with your Apple ID.
    3. Click the device you’re missing.
    4. Turn on Lost Mode.

    Track your phone

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    A potentially risky move you can do is to track your phone via GPS fr om another device (assuming you turned the ability to do so on before you lost it). If you suspect your device is stolen, running off to the location shown could be dangerous and is inadvisable (you should report to the police instead). But if it’s just lost, tracking it via GPS might lead to wherever you misplaced it.

    On an Android device:

    1. Go to android.com/find.
    2. If prompted, sign into your Google account.
    3. You’ll see the last known location of your device, which should be recent if your device is turned on.

    On an iPhone, the process is similar, but you’ll need to use Apple’s Find My service.

    1. Go to icloud.com/find.
    2. Log in with your Apple ID.
    3. You will see the last known locations of any devices registered to your account.

    Inform your carrier

    Another important step is to let your carrier know the device is missing so they can suspend your service. This will make it so the person who has your phone can’t actually use it. While many of us have unlimited plans, you probably still don’t want them to be able to call and text your contacts if they manage to get through the security measures offered by your phone.

    Doing this will vary by carrier, but all major phone carriers should have a customer service number you can call or a local store you can visit to let them know your phone has gone missing.

    Erase your device

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    When you’ve officially accepted that you’re not going to get your lost phone back, it’s time to remotely delete all of the data off it, to make sure whoever has it can’t access any of your private stuff. This is an absolutely critical step, as we all have tons of important stuff on our phones that we don’t want strangers to access.

    For Android phones, you’ll need to:

    1. Go to android.com/find.
    2. If prompted, sign into your Google account.
    3. Click on the device you want to erase.
    4. Click Erase device.

    For an iPhone, you’ll want to:

    1. Go to icloud.com/find.
    2. Log in with your Apple ID.
    3. Click Erase iPhone to get rid of everything.

    With either of these options, keep in mind that if you do manage to recover the lost phone, all of the data on it will be erased. That’s why we stressed the importance of backing up your device beforehand, as it’ll make your life much easier.

    Call the police

    While a longshot, if you’re sure your phone was stolen and not simply misplaced, it’s a good idea to file a police report. It’s unlikely that this will see your phone returned, but it can’t hurt to let the local authorities know.

    Other things to do when you lose your phone:

    • Log out of all accounts remotely (social media, bank, etc.)
    • Change passwords for any accounts that are logged in
    • Contact bank or credit cards if you use your device for payments
    • Closely monitor all accounts for suspicious activity after it’s lost

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