Sat. Oct 23rd, 2021
Stolen or lost Android phone? Here's how to find it and get it back as fast as possible

Prepare now so you’ll be able to find your lost Android cellphone with ease. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Not to sound overly dramatic, however I feel that sinking feeling that arrives the second you understand your Android cellphone’s lacking is without doubt one of the worst emotions. Our telephones are intrinsically private, guarding our deepest secrets and techniques and private data. Add to that the truth that dropping a cellphone is a pricey expertise, and that feeling is compounded. 

Should you find your self frantically looking out your pockets, backpack, purse or countertop for a lacking cellphone, do not panic! Every Android cellphone comes with instruments constructed into it that make it possible to safe your data and observe down your lost cellphone with ease. Don’t get forward of your self and really feel snug fairly but. There are a number of steps you want to take proper now to set your self up for achievement if or when your cellphone goes lacking — together with in case you left it in your own home. 

Below I stroll you thru the entire steps you’ll be able to and ought to take now, as nicely as what you want to do when your cellphone goes lacking. 

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How to find your lost Android cellphone


Take a couple of minutes to put together now

It would not take lots of time to faucet your means via a number of totally different settings panes and make sure that the correct switches are turned on, or you are signed in to the proper companies. Trust me, future you’ll thank current you for taking 5 minutes to do the next. 

Create a safe lock display screen

Do your self a favor and activate passcode and fingerprint authentication. Do your self one other favor and do not use facial recognition in your Android system. 

On most Android gadgets, the expertise used for facial recognition could be simply tricked with one thing as easy as a photograph of your face. Google’s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are the exceptions right here, as they use a extra dependable system, related to Apple’s Face ID.

Next, create your passcode and arrange fingerprint authentication within the Settings app below the Security part. I understand scanning a fingerprint or getting into a PIN code each time you need to use your cellphone could be inconvenient, however the concept of somebody having entry to your photographs, banking apps, electronic mail and the remainder of your private information is downright scary.

An additional step to unlock your cellphone is well worth the effort when you think about the potential influence of exposing your private information to a stranger.   

Read extra: If you lose your iPhone, instantly do these 3 issues

Set up Google’s Find My Device service, no matter who makes your cellphone


Make positive Google’s Find My Device is turned on. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Any time you register to an Android system with a Google account, Find My Device is robotically turned on. Google’s free Find My Device service is what you will use ought to your cellphone ever go lacking to observe, remotely lock and remotely erase it. 

Check to be sure that Find My Device is enabled in your Android cellphone by opening the Settings app and going to Security & Location > Find My Device. Alternatively, in case your system would not have a Security & Location choice, go to Google > Security > Find My Device.

Find My Device needs to be turned on. If not, slide the swap to the On place. 

Finally, double-check that the power to safe and remotely erase the system is turned on by going to in your laptop, choosing your cellphone, and clicking Set Up Secure & Erase. A push alert can be despatched to your cellphone — faucet it to end the setup course of. 

Have a Samsung cellphone? There are two totally different companies you need to determine


If you have signed in to your Samsung account on a Galaxy cellphone, try to be good to go. However, it’s a good suggestion to double-check. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Samsung has lengthy supplied a Find My Mobile service to assist Galaxy telephones homeowners observe down their lost telephones. The service is separate from Google’s Find My Device providing, and is one thing you’ll be able to — and undoubtedly ought to — arrange. Not solely does it offer you a backup service you need to use to observe down a lost cellphone, however it additionally offers you instruments that Find My Device would not have. With Samsung’s service, you are able to do issues like pressure distant backups or see if somebody has swapped out your SIM card. You’ll want to use your Samsung account to arrange Find My Mobile.

However, extra just lately, Samsung introduced a brand new service known as SmartThings Find. The new characteristic works like Apple’s Find My app by crowdsourcing the situation of a lost system, even when it’s offline, however telling close by Galaxy gadgets to search for its Bluetooth sign and report its location if it’s discovered. All of which, after all, is completed anonymously.

There’s no hurt in utilizing Google’s providing, as well as to each of Samsung’s system monitoring companies. Turn on Find My Mobile in your Galaxy cellphone within the Settings app. Next, go to Biometrics and safety > Find My Mobile. Find My Mobile ought to already be enabled in case you signed into your Samsung account throughout preliminary setup. If not, take a number of seconds to register and allow Find My Mobile.


SmartThings Find will, nicely, assist you to find your system. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

As for SmartThings Find, you will want to have a Galaxy system working Android 8 or newer. The setup course of ought to already be taken care of as lengthy as you are working the newest model of the SmartThings app. I had to go into the Galaxy Store app and replace it myself, however as soon as I did that the principle web page of the SmartThings app had a map exhibiting the final location of my Galaxy Buds ($58 at Amazon), together with different Samsung gadgets which can be linked to my account under the map. If it’s not arrange already, there can be a SmartThings Find card you want to faucet on to full the setup course of. Once you do this, you will see a map with the situation of all of your Find-enabled gadgets. 

Once it’s turned on, you’ll be able to view the situation of your system(s) by opening the SmartThings app and choose SmartThings Find. Of course, in case you lose your cellphone you will have to use one other system to entry the SmartThings app to find your system. Either you’ll be able to signal into the app on a pal or member of the family’s system, or use one other one among your gadgets to find it by way of the app. 

When you view the lost system’s location, there is a More Options button that can take you to Samsung’s Find My Mobile service the place you’ll be able to then use its controls to lock down your system, remotely back it up or even erase it. 

How to lock down, observe a lost or stolen Android cellphone

Use Google’s Find My Device service to find your cellphone

Play a sound, lock your cellphone or erase it utilizing the Find My Device website. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Using Android’s baked-in service requires you to bear in mind one factor: That web site is the place you will go within the unlucky occasion that you simply lose your cellphone. Make positive to register to the identical Google account that is linked to your Android cellphone.

Not close to a pc? You can use one other Android system and the Find My Device app, which you will have to obtain individually from the Play Store. Immediately after you register to the positioning or app, Google will try to find your cellphone.

An alert can be despatched to your cellphone to inform whoever has it that it’s being tracked. Use the menu on the left-hand aspect of the Find My Device website to play a sound (useful in case you misplaced it in your house!), lock down your system or erase the system altogether.

Selecting Secure Device will lock the cellphone, show a message of your selecting on the lock display screen and signal out of your Google account. Don’t fear, you’ll be able to nonetheless find the cellphone after it’s locked. If you utilize Google Pay for cell funds, locking your cellphone will forestall anybody from utilizing your cellphone to make a purchase order.

If you utilize the Erase Device characteristic, you’ll now not have the option to observe the cellphone. Reserve this characteristic as a final resort.

Should the thief flip off your cellphone, you will not have the option to observe it till it’s turned back on and has a mobile or Wi-Fi connection. Google will ship you an electronic mail as soon as it locates your system.

Once you find your cellphone, you will want to enter your PIN or passcode to acquire entry. That ought to additionally get rid of the lock display screen message. You may also have to log in to your Google account, simply to confirm it actually is you accessing the cellphone — you do not want to flip something off within the Find My Device app. 

What to do you probably have a Samsung cellphone

Samsung’s Find My Mobile has lots of choices for monitoring and controlling a lost cellphone. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Samsung Galaxy homeowners get pleasure from utilizing Google’s or Samsung’s respective companies to find a lost system, however I like to recommend utilizing Samsung’s providing. As you will see under, the added capabilities are invaluable.

To observe a lost system with Samsung’s service, you want to go to There is not a companion app, so you will want to use a cell browser on one other cellphone or a pc.

Sign in along with your Samsung account, then choose your lost system on the left aspect of the display screen. A map will show the place your cellphone is at present situated, and a menu of choices will present up on the proper aspect of the display screen.

Start by locking the cellphone, which can show a personalised message on the lock display screen, droop your Samsung Pay playing cards and forestall the cellphone from being powered off.

Next, create a backup of your cellphone. Should you lose it for good, you will need to have a present backup of your cellphone. If the cellphone is shifting areas, use the Track location characteristic.

Enabling this characteristic will observe your cellphone each quarter-hour. Finally, activate the Extend battery life characteristic — it will disable nearly every thing on the cellphone however the location monitoring.

Similar to Google’s Find My Device service, Samsung’s service solely requires you to enter your PIN after finding your cellphone. You do not want to go back to the web site and flip any of the monitoring options off. 

Life Pro Tip: Don’t confront thieves 

If your cellphone has been stolen and you are ready to observe its location, don’t try to get better it your self. Doing so may lead to you or another person getting damage, and regardless of the significance of a cellphone, it’s merely not value it.

Instead, contact native regulation enforcement and allow them to know you need assistance recovering a lost or stolen cellphone that you’ve got been ready to observe to a particular tackle.

Unable to retrieve your cellphone? Contact your service, file an insurance coverage declare

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

Contact your service to file an insurance coverage declare as quickly as you understand you don’t get your cellphone back. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

If it turns into clear that you simply’re by no means going to get your cellphone back, contact your service and report your cellphone as lost or stolen. Doing it will blacklist the cellphone from the service’s database, stopping one other particular person from utilizing it.

When you name, your service will need to droop your service as nicely. This is a good suggestion if you’d like to forestall somebody from utilizing your cellphone. However, remember the fact that in case you’re nonetheless monitoring your lost cellphone, you will lose a cell connection to it — and except the cellphone is by some means registered on a Wi-Fi community, you will lose the power to observe it.

Finally, in case you pay for insurance coverage in your cellphone, you will want to file a declare and pay the deductible to get your alternative cellphone. Get the insurance coverage declare course of began via your service, who will then possible refer you to the third-party insurance coverage firm that can change your cellphone.

Good luck! We hope you by no means have to undergo the emotional curler coaster of dropping a cellphone, monitoring it down and attempting to get it back.

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