How to find a stolen or lost Android phone – ABOUT MAG 2020

find my device

You can leave a message so that the person who owns your phone can contact you.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

It happens in the blink of an eye. You put your telephone get off at a cash register counter or feel a slight bump as you get off the subway, only to realize later that the phone is over. Regardless of how you lose it, whether it’s theft or a simple mistake, losing your phone is a stressful experience.

Not only does it cut your access to the rest of the world, but your phone is the most personal device your own. And replacing it is an expensive hassle.

If the phone is missing, don’t panic! There are built-in tools on all Android phones that allow you to easily lock and track a lost phone. But first you will need to take some steps now to prepare for success if and when the phone goes missing – even if you left it at home.


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Be ready

Create a secure lock screen

Do yourself a favor and enable password and fingerprint authentication. Do yourself another favor and don’t use facial recognition on your Android device.

On most Android devices, the technology used to facial recognition can be easily deceived with something as simple as a picture of your face. Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are the exceptions here, as they use a more reliable system similar to Apple Face ID.

Then, create your password and configure fingerprint authentication in the Settings application, in the Security section. I know that scanning a fingerprint or entering a PIN code every time you want to use your phone can be inconvenient, but the idea of ​​someone having access to your photos, banking apps, email and the rest of your personal information is absolutely scary .

An extra step in unlocking your phone is worth the effort when you consider the potential impact of exposing your personal information to a stranger.

Read More: If you lose your iPhone, do these three things immediately

Find my Google device

google-find-my-device

Make sure the Find my Google device option is enabled.

Jason Cipriani / CNET Pictures

Whenever you sign in to an Android device with a Google account, Find My Device is already activated. Find my device is what you will use if your phone fails to track, lock remotely and erase it remotely.

You can check if Find My Device is enabled by opening the Settings app and going to Security and Location > Find my device. Alternatively, if your device does not have a Security and location option, go to Google > Safety > Find my device.

Find My device must be turned on. Otherwise, slide the switch to the On position.

Samsung’s Find My Mobile

samsung-find-my-mobile

If you signed in to your Samsung account on a Galaxy phone, you should be ready. However, it is a good idea to double check.

Jason Cipriani / CNET Pictures

If you have a Samsung phone, in addition to Google’s Find My Device service, you can – and should – configure Samsung’s Find My Mobile service. It not only provides a backup service that you can use to track a lost phone, but it also provides tools that Find My Device does not have.

With Samsung’s service, you can do things like force remote backups or check if someone has exchanged your SIM card. You must have a Samsung account to use Find My Mobile.

On your Samsung phone, open the Definitions application and go to Biometrics and security > Find My Mobile. If you signed in to your Samsung account during the initial device setup, Find My Mobile must already be activated. Otherwise, wait a few seconds to log in and activate Find My Mobile.

Lock remotely and track a lost phone

Use Find my device

Play a sound, lock your phone, or delete it using the Find My Device website.

Screenshot of Jason Cipriani / CNET

Using the baked Android service requires you to remember one thing: android.com/find. This site is where you go to the unfortunate event when you lose your phone. Make sure to sign in to the same Google Account linked to your Android phone.

Not near a computer? You can use another Android device and the Find my device application, which you will need to download separately from the Play Store. Immediately after you log in to the website or application, Google will try to locate your phone.

An alert will be sent to your phone to inform who is being tracked. Use the menu on the left side of the Find My Device website to play a sound (useful if you put it in your home!), Lock the device or delete the device completely.

Selecting Secure device will lock the phone, display a message of your choice on the lock screen, and sign out of your Google account. Don’t worry, you can still find your phone after it’s locked. If you use Google Pay for mobile payments, locking your phone will prevent someone from using it to make a purchase.

If you use the Erase device feature, you will no longer be able to track the phone. Reserve this feature as a last resort.

If the thief hangs up, you won’t be able to track it until it is turned on again and has a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Google will send an email as soon as it finds your device.

Once you’ve found your phone, you’ll need to enter your PIN or password to gain access. what we must also get rid of the lock screen message. You may also need to sign in to your Google account, just to make sure you’re actually accessing the phone – you don’t need to disable anything in the Find My Device app.

Samsung phones

Samsung’s Find My Mobile has many options for tracking and controlling a lost phone.

Screenshot of Jason Cipriani / CNET

Samsung Galaxy owners have the benefit of using their Google or Samsung services to locate a lost device, but I recommend using Samsung’s offer. As you will see below, the additional features are invaluable.

To track a lost device with Samsung’s service, you need to visit findmymobile.samsung.com. Since there is no add-on application, you will need to use a mobile browser on another phone or computer.

Log in with your Samsung account and select your lost device on the left side of the screen. A map will be displayed where the phone is currently located and an options menu will be displayed on the right side of the screen.

Start by locking the phone, which will display a personalized message on the lock screen, suspend Samsung Pay cards and prevent the phone from being turned off.

Then, create a backup of your phone. If you lose it forever, you may want to have a current backup of your phone. If your phone is moving locations, use the Track Location feature.

Enabling this feature will track your phone every 15 minutes. Finally, enable the Extend battery life feature – this will disable almost everything on the phone except location tracking.

Similar to Google’s Find My Device service, the Samsung service only requires you to enter your PIN after locating the phone. You do not need to go back to the site and disable any of the tracking features.

Don’t confront thieves

If your phone has been stolen and you are able to track its location, do not try to recover it. Doing so can cause you or someone else to get hurt and, despite the importance of a phone, it just isn’t worth it.

Instead, contact your local police and let them know that you need help recovering a lost or stolen phone that you were able to trace to a specific address.

Contact your operator, file an insurance claim

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

Contact your operator to file an insurance claim as soon as you realize you are not getting your phone back.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If it is clear that you will never recover your phone, contact your operator and report your phone as lost or stolen. This will cause the phone to be blacklisted in the operator’s database, preventing anyone else from using it.

When you call, your operator also wants to suspend your service. It’s a good idea if you want to prevent someone from using your phone. However, remember that if you are still tracking your lost phone, you will lose a mobile connection to it – and unless the phone is somehow registered to a Wi-Fi network, you will lose the ability to track it. .

Finally, if you pay for insurance on your phone, you will need to file a claim and pay the deductible to obtain your replacement phone. Begin the insurance claim process through your operator, who will likely refer you to the third party insurance company that will replace the phone.

Good luck! We hope you never need to go through the emotional roller coaster of losing a phone, locating it and trying to get it back.

Originally published last year. Updated regularly.

Paula Fonseca