It is very easy to lose a smartphone. You could drop it in a taxi, forget on the table at a restaurant, and so on. Sometimes, you just need to retrace your steps to find a lost Android smartphone, but it is often hard to remember where you lost the cell phone. Other times, you did not lose your gadget, but rather, it was stolen. In this case, the chances that you will find the phone without help are even fewer. Therefore, we prepared this article on how to find a lost or stolen Android smartphone.
We have collected five ways to find a lost or stolen cell phone. Some of them work not only for Android devices but also for iOS, Blackberry, and other operating systems.
Is it possible to find a lost or stolen smartphone?
Yes, it is possible to find a lost or stolen smartphone, but not always. As a rule, the earlier you start acting, the more likely, that you will retrieve the device. It is important not to lose hope. The first 24 hours are the most important, but the device can be found even after one or two weeks.
Recent research has shown that the most frequent places where people lose their phones are: Bars and restaurants (21%), public transport (14%), and on the street (12%).
Most of the losses (more than 50%) occur in the afternoon, and 28% of people who lost their phones did so when they were drunk.
All this information is interesting and can lead you to think about where and when you lost your device, but we have more valuable information for you: five ways to find a phone if you lost it or if it has been stolen.
Use Google’s Android Device Manager to find a lost phone
Google’s Android Device Manager is a reliable way to find a lost or stolen Android phone. However, note that device location is approximate and may not be accurate.
Log in with the same Google account that you used on your smartphone. After you log in, you will see a list of your devices. The list includes only devices on which you are currently signed in, so this method will only work until the thief or whoever finds the phone logs out of your account.
You will see the device’s approximate location on a map. Below are some other available features:
- Call the phone
- Lock the phone
- Sign out of your account
- Erase the device’s memory
The last option allows you to erase the data on the phone. It is a great feature if you do not want to share photos or other multimedia with someone who has found your gadget.
Use Google Maps to find a lost phone
If you want to remain hidden, use Google Maps. Google Maps provide a tool — location history — that does not notify the user about your searches. This tool is available only if you have switched on the feature in advance. If you have done so, proceed to https://www.google.com/maps/timeline?pli=1&pb to see where your device has been.
Using Google Maps is the best to track your lost Android phone. Even if you lost it at your home or in the bar, you could use this tool to find it. Not only does Google maps show the device’s location, but you can also make your phone ring for at least for five minutes. Usually, this time is enough to find the lost device.
Use a spy application to find a lost phone
You can use a spy application to find your phone. Modern spy software allows users to track a device’s location. Originally, it was used to track a person, but this feature can be used for searching for your own phone.
It’s impossible to track a phone’s location by phone number alone. You have to install the app in advance. Do it right now while you are reading this sentence when you still have your smartphone in your hands. You never know when you might lose the device, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Choose Snoopza, a free location tracker for Android phones and tablets. It is a spy app for tracking different data, such as calling, SMS messages, messengers, and so on. Location tracking is the key feature, and you can rely on it.
The secret way that police use to search for stolen phones
Every cell phone has a unique ID known as an international mobile equipment identity (IMEI). If you have been missing your phone for a long time (more than 24 hours), publish your device’s IMEI on a list of missing or stolen gadgets. To do so, you can use special public and free services, such as imeidetective.com. This website is a public IMEI database. You can set a reward for the return of your phone, or you can use this database to track your phone.
To use this method, you need to know your IMEI. It can be found on the device itself, but if you did not do that in advance, then there is another option. You can find out the number on the box the device came in. If you do not have it, then try to find a receipt with the phone’s information. If you do not have that either, contact the store where you bought the phone — they might be able to give you the information.
Ask your mobile operator for help
Sometimes, mobile operators can help their customers. Try to contact your operator — Vodafone, T-Mobile, or whichever company operate your SIM card — to learn about the available options. They may be able to track the device’s location via mobile signals.
This feature is available only with the help of the operator. Without them, you cannot connect to the mobile networks to search for your device. Most often, mobile operators offer this help only to the police, but you can at least ask for their help.