How to Find a Stolen or Lost Phone

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2020-06-29

Have you ever lost your phone or know someone who has? Losing your phone can be stressful as it contains important, private, and sensitive information. With mobile phones becoming part of our lives, the demand for cheap smartphones has led to an increase in petty phone theft globally. Thanks to modern technology and online security strictures,  it has become easy to find a stolen or lost phone.

Hint: Check your phone warranty status or Check your phone repair status

The built-in security system will help you find a lost phone, back up your data, and even delete your data if the device has been stolen. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to settings
  2. Security and Location
  3. Find My Device (ON)

find lost phone

How to Find a Stolen or Lost Phone

Find my device

You can also locate lost phone online by typing android.com/find on your browser or type find my device on Google then sign in to your Google Account. On the website you can:

  1. See the physical location of your device
  2. Play sound on your device for 5 minutes
  3. Secure your device with a pin code
  4. Add a message to the lock screen
  5. Erase all data permanently from your device

Third-party apps

You can also use third-party apps to find your stolen or lost phone. The most popular apps are

  1. Find My Phone: This app has the same features as Google’s find my device, the only notable difference is that it can lock sim cards if someone tries to change it. When someone inserts a new sim the device will lock automatically and request for a pin code. This app also takes selfies of the intruder who tries to unlock your device.
  2. Google Find My Device: This app allows Google to easily find a stolen or lost phone, lock it and even erase all data. The plus side is that you can recover your data eventually from the cloud backup   

IMEI Number

If you are sure that your device has been stolen,  you need to visit a police station with the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number, each device has a unique IMEI number that can be used by the police to track it.

imei number to track a lost phone

You can find your phone's IMEI number by navigating to your phone settings ‘About Phone’ section. Many phones these days also have the number on a sticker at the back of the phone or right behind the removable battery. If you never recorded your IMEI number somewhere for future reference and you still have the box of your phone, you can find this number on the backside of the box.

IMEI tracking is used globally by the authorities to track stolen or lost mobile devices, this is possible because every device that uses a network to make/receive calls or send/receive texts leaves a footprint of its IMEI number on a database. When you report your phone as stolen,  the police blacklist the IMEI number making it easier for them to find the lost phone. They eventually zero down on the device location and swiftly recover your device.

The above method works hand in hand with phone number tracking, this method is preferred by the police because it does not need any approval from the ‘thief’ hence they will not know the phone is being tracked hence, making it easy to recover your device.

Here are a few steps you should take that will help you recover your phone faster when it's lost or stolen:

  1. Create and sign in to a Google account after buying a phone
  2. Enable Google “Find my device”
  3. Always have a location on
  4. Have a PIN code for your SIM card
  5. Have PIN, pattern, or password to access your device

In the event that your phone is stolen always erase and lock your device via your Google account, this will ensure your data and information do not fall into the wrong hands.