Losing your smartphone is a fairly common occurrence. You could be out to dinner and left your smartphone out on a table, or maybe you were at a concert and dropped it in the auditorium. Either way, losing your smartphone is a devastating thing, partially because of the cost involved with them: most good smartphones nowadays are reaching upwards of $900, and there’s a huge loss to take, especially if you’re still trying to pay on your smartphone through a Device Payment Plan. It’s even worse if someone stole your smartphone.
So, how do you find a lost or stolen Android phone? It’s actually easier than you would think. Google itself provides a few options for finding your smartphone, and then in the event that it’s stolen, you can find some local options as well.
Follow along below, and we’ll show you how to track down your smartphone from anywhere!
Like we already mentioned, Google has a couple tools that can assist you in finding your lost smartphone or tablet. Their tools can even help you find a stolen Android smartphone or tablet as well, if the thief didn’t turn the device off or factory reset it somehow, that is.
The first thing to remember before using this tool is that, for it to work, the GPS has be turned on on your phone or tablet for it to work. If not, Google won’t be able to track your device with their Device Finder called Find My Device.
The neat thing about this tool is that you don’t need to have it downloaded on your smartphone or tablet for it to work. All you need is that GPS enabled on those devices. To find your device, you simply head to www.android.com/find.
This is Google’s own Android Device Finder website. It’ll show you the last location that your Android device was seen if the device isn’t on or connected to a network. If the device is on and connected to a network, the Android Device Finder will show you it’s current location.
Another couple neat things about this tool is that it will let you play a sound remotely. So, if you lost your device in the couch somewhere or somewhere in the house that you just forgot about, you can send a remote signal to it to play a sound. It’ll crank your Android device all the way up to full volume and start playing a jingle that you can hopefully hear, and thus, find your phone!
This tool will even let you lock your Android phone so that an intruder cannot get into it. You simply click on the “Lock” feature, it’ll ask you to confirm the request, and then it’ll lock down your Android phone from being used by anyone else.
Now, if you’re under the impression that your smartphone was stolen. It’s best to not try and find it yourself, as you never know what can happen if you were to confront the thief. It’s best to take the information and location you have to the local authorities, and let them retrieve your smartphone for you. You can even show them on your computer where the GPS is pinging from. This ensures that you stay safe in the event that something goes wrong in a confrontation.
Carriers won’t give you too many options for getting your smartphone back. They might be able to help you locate it after some identity verification, but beyond that, they won’t help you get your phone back in your hand. One thing they might do is lock your SIM card down, preventing any thieves from using your number or even using the phone on their network. It essentially blacklists the smartphone from whatever network you’re paying for service.
As you can see, there aren’t a whole lot of surefire ways that allow you to find a lost smartphone. The Android Device Finder can be helpful, but it’ll only work if you have GPS turned on and your smartphone or tablet are connected to a network (celluar or WiFi). If you get lucky and your phone is connected to a network in that way, you get your phone back. But other than that, your only options are to either report the stolen item to local authorities, lock the phone or tablet on Android Device Finder, and then call your carrier and get the SIM card locked and the phone blacklisted. That way, you don’t have anyone getting into any of your stuff, whether it’s local storage, contacts or anything network-based.