Phones are essential. They contain memories, documents, schedules, and even financial information. Losing a phone can feel like the end of the world, but luckily, it's possible to find your phone thanks to mobile tracking technology.
If the loss was recent, you can use the anti-theft and phone recovery features on your phone. If it has been more than a couple of days, there are other, more advanced ways to find your phone. And if it comes down to it, you can render your phone useless to the person who stole it.
Preventive measures are all well and good, but they aren't foolproof. If your iPhone goes missing, there are a couple of options to finding that phone on your own.
If you have Family Sharing set up on your device, you can use it to track your missing or stolen iPhone. With Family Sharing enabled, you can ask your family member to trace the device by visiting the iCloud website.
When you log in, you can also choose to activate Lost Mode or erase all the data on the device even if the missing device shows offline or switched off on your dashboard.
However, note that tracking your iPhone with Family Sharing is only effective for finding iPhones lost or stolen within a few hours. If your iPhone has been missing for more than 24 hours, it isn't always easy to use Family Sharing to track down the iPhone.
The Google Timeline feature on the iPhone will record every device's location as long as the Location Services/Location History on the smartphone is turned on.
If your iPhone gets stolen or missing, check for the location information on a map to discover the last location. However, concerned persons should note that Google Timeline will only work when the device is on and has an internet connection.
If all else fails, you can contact Apple
Losing an Android phone can also be equally devastating, especially if the device contains confidential details. If you suspect your phone is stolen, it is best to change all passwords to online accounts. And, as promised, here are some options you can use to track a missing Android device:
Find My Device is a feature on most android device management systems that you can use to find your missing or lost android device. It also lets you erase or lock the device besides finding the device. However, finding your android device with this feature depends on:
Although the built-in device tracker from Google is the easiest way to locate the stolen Android, third-party apps on Play Store use GPS technology to help phone users follow one another in real-time and lock the device in case of theft. However, these apps can only help them locate a stolen or missing Android phone if the app is preinstalled.
Even if your stolen phone is locked, it still leaves the opportunity for fraudsters to remove your SIM card, input it into another phone, and pretend to be you while attempting to exploit your contacts. If you think your phone has been stolen, call your carrier to suspend your phone plan temporarily.
The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is a particular serial number for your mobile device, a unique identifier of sorts. Using this IMEI number to track a stolen or missing phone via the IMEI database or a wireless provider is possible. Certain third-party apps are also available for this purpose.
Knowing your device's IMEI number is relatively easy. You could dial *#06# on the device, a short command to retrieve the unique ID. Another method for getting this number is by navigating through Settings > About phone.
If the device battery is removable, you will find the IMEI code is written on the phone body underneath the removable battery. It is also possible to get the IMEI number after the device got lost or stolen if you have the phone package. Armed with the IMEI number, here are a few ways to track and find your phone:
Concerned individuals can begin their phone search through their wireless provider using the device's IMEI number. Persons with missing phones can call the provider and report the device as missing or stolen.
The wireless provider will then include the IMEI of the phone to their Grey List database, which facilitates tracking the smartphone. The provider will also attempt to track the device, and if successful, they will report to the phone owner with information.
The providers may require that the phone owner file a complaint on the stolen property with the local police authorities in some instances. This generally applies if the phone got stolen before the officers could track its location.
If the individual's wireless provider could not help track the phone, the next step is to report your IMEI to any of the IMEI databases online. Online IMEI Databases include GSMA IMEI Database, IMEIDetective, and MissingPhones, among others.
Concerned parties should submit their IMEI number to any of these databases. They will contact the person if the smartphone is recovered. Generally, this option is less effective compared to having a wireless provider check the IMEI code and track the phone. However, it remains a valid option that is worth consideration.
Tracking a lost iPhone using the IMEI number is also possible through the Find My iPhone feature. You can configure the Find My iPhone feature in the Setting section of the iPhone.
Once this feature is enabled, the owner can track the iPhone from wherever via the iCloud website. With this method, users can get an accurate location for the missing device. Also, with this feature, the individual can click a link that will initiate sound play or lock the device.
Concerned persons should note that once an IMEI is blocked, it will be blocked, thus forbidding all persons to use that handset from that moment.
You can also locate the lost mobile phone when turned off through Google Location History, also known as Timeline. However, the smartphone needs to get connected to the appropriate Google account. To track the location of a phone, the owner can:
However, all concerned individuals should note that thieves can change the IMEI number of a stolen phone. This is possible using a device called Flasher. This small device helps connect the phone to a computer and allows the user to modify the IMEI number.
Once you discover your iPhone is lost or stolen, you can attempt to track the location and lock it until it is back in your possession again. In the meantime, take these preventive measures:
Losing your smartphone is not a great feeling, especially if it is a phone you've used all your life. Your ability to find the device may be dependent on factors beyond your control, like your phone's continued connection to the internet. If your phone is missing, you should retrace your steps down to the last minute. Doing this will save you a lot of trouble. Thankfully, there are several ways to find the lost device, but you have to act quickly.