Lost Your Phone? Here is What You Should Do To Locate It

Be it unseen pick-pockets sneaking through the crowd or a blunt man with a gun to your head on a deserted road, your phone can be stolen anywhere, and at any time. If not that, a forgetful mind would make sure to get the job done as you leave a coffee shop with your steaming cup of espresso.

The world is filled with things trying to separate us from our precious phones. There are so many ways to get your phone stolen or lost that it seems almost naive to not be prepared from the very start.

So, what should you do if your phone is lost or stolen?

Recovering a Lost Phone

First things first, if there is any way you can recover your lost phone, you should try it first. As soon as you realize that your phone is missing, call it from some other phone to see if it is still ringing.

Does the phone ring? If it does, there are two main possibilities; either the phone is just lost somewhere, or the person who took it is a little too dumb (or reckless) to have not turned it off. One of the first things any phone thief does is to turn the phone off so it can not be tracked.

The good news is, if the phone is still ringing, there is a chance it can still be recovered.

Tracking your Phone

  • Android: You can use Android Device Manager to remotely locate your device. Simply Google “Find my phone” while signed in to your Google Account and it should start tracking. Alternatively, you can also download the Android Device Manager app from the Play Store on another Android phone and log into your own account to locate it (tracking won’t work if location access is off on the device).
    The catch? Your phone needs to be powered on and be connected (even if for a few seconds) to the internet for this to work.

android-device-manager-recovery

  • iPhone: Apple has its own iPhone tracking feature called “Find My iPhone”. It can be enabled by going to the Settings, tapping on iCloud and then switching on “Find My iPhone”. Apple’s feature also needs to have Location Services enabled for it to be able to find the iPhone.
    1. Log in to your account on Find My iPhone on some other iPhone/iPad or log in to iCloud account on the web and open Find My iPhone.
    2. Now, click on “All Devices”. A green dot means the device is online while a gray dot means it is offline. Unless the device has been offline for more than 24 hours, it should also show a timestamp of the last time the device was online.
    3. Select the device you want to locate and it should show an approximate location of the device. If the device is offline, it will show the last known location. You can also select “Notify me when found” to receive an email if the device comes online.
    4. You should place your device in “Lost Mode” and lock it with a passcode. It will also let you display a custom message with your phone number to help you get the phone back.

apple-tracking-phone

If the phone doesn’t ring, either it is broken, has run out of battery, or has been turned off. In this case, you can pretty much forget about recovering your device. Now, you should focus on erasing your device’s data so someone else cannot gain access to it.
First, you should call your carrier and get your SIM-card blocked so it can’t be used by some other person. After that, you should proceed to erase your device.

Erasing your device

  • Android: You can use the Android Device Manager to ring the device, lock and change the password or perform a factory data reset. However, just like when locating the device, your phone needs to be connected to the internet after you perform the reset/lock long enough to receive the instructions.
    Additionally, you need to have granted access to Android Device Manager to remotely perform a factory data reset for the respective functions to work.
    You can enable access for ADM by going to the Google Settings app, then tapping on the Android Device Manager. (the locate feature is enabled by default).
  • iPhone: The iPhone too allows you to completely erase your device or ring it using the Find My iPhone app. Additionally, the iPhone also has a feature called “Activation Lock” that is enabled automatically once you enable Find My iPhone.
    Activation Lock makes sure that no one can disable Find My iPhone, erase your device or reactivate it without your Apple ID and password.

Image— ytimg


  • I think writer is not familiar from snatching. All snatcher Switch off Mobile Phones Within Two to Three Minutes so above method is totally waste of time and energy.

    • And they never Switch it On? or they never sell it to some one who will? I lost my iPhone5 and it was switched on after 5 days and got blocked and erased.

      • Andriod is a different story… even imei can also be changed… i lost A5 Tried evrything imei is still on tracking… imei never can on…

  • mark the phone lost.. whenever it connects to any internet for a few secs.. it will get locked & only you can unlock it….just becomes a dead weight for the thief..unless right after theft.. he never connects to internet & only uses the voice n text..

  • I have lost my phone huawei Y5 II, i have reported to PTA and fill the form provided by PTA, now phone status at PTA site is STOLEN. my question is that this stolen phone is usefull or not?

  • The article is poorly written. It appears that the author has not spent much of time researching the issue. Here is what happened a few days ago when my brother told me that he had lost his phone in Saudi Arabia. I asked for his gmail account and password, and did the following:
    1- I tried android device manager, the first thing you get to know by googling it. But when I did so, the last known location was at least one week before. Its because my brother had not bothered to frequently use the location services, perhaps to save battery life. This is what most users do. They only turn on location services when they need to check-in or use google maps. So, even if his phone came online, there was no way for me to have a hold on his current location.
    2. I used another method called “Google Timeline”. Its a built-in google maps feature which keeps track of the places you have visited pretty much during the entire life of your phone. But this feature also depends upon your permission of the device to use location. Otherwise, the places or not logged. So, the location map also did not help much. I was able to see where he had been during last six months or so, but the data was only available whenever he had turned on his ‘location services’ or GPS. So, the last known location here was also from last week.

    Conclusion: If you are going to rely on Android Device Manager to find your phone, you must have ensured that your location services/GPS is always turned-on because you never know when your phone is about to be snatched. There is still a caveat. Suppose your phone is snatched. The first thing the snatcher will do is to turn off the phone. Fine. He turns it back on and goes online and this is when your phone will log the location. But if he is smart, he will do one of these things. 1. Turn off the GPS as soon as possible; 2. Sign out of the existing google account on the device. 3. Or worst, he can factory reset the phone. In these cases, you are out of luck.

    Luckily if the thief is not so smart, and he feels safe by just removing the SIM card, he will start surfing the internet etc. It is when you can track the phone (given the conditions described before are met).

    Alternative to Android Device Manager:
    You can always use 3rd party apps which are designed to sent stealth text messages and log location data etc secretly. But there is a trade-off here. Are you willing to give your every movement to someone else sitting on the other side? If you can do so, you can track your phone. But most of us do not bother to go to these lengths unless our phone is stolen and which brings us back to previous conditions.

    A word for Pro-Pakistani:
    You are one of the best tech blogs in Pakistan. If you are going to write articles which are simply being copied from other sources on Google, please do appropriate research and give us as many alternatives as you can. Thanks!

    • Hi, it is clearly mentioned in the article that the Android Device Manager feature only works if the Location Services feature has been enabled and the phone is connected to the internet.

      I, myself, recommend using third-party apps for recovering your phone but the article is for the people who have lost their phone already, in which case there is no way you can use a third-party app.

  • I have lost my mobile during traveling ib Monday dated 04-09-2017 timing 5:30. My mobile imi no 1. is 869909023706049 and imi no. 2 869909023746052 sr no. A8K4C16322026372 HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES MADE IN CHINA MODEL NO CHM-U01 COLOR BLACK. Can you help me to track this no. My sim in this mobile are off.


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