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Android phone lost or stolen? So get it back



It only takes a few seconds: you leave your cell phone at a counter in the store and walk away, or someone pushes you out onto the street and picks your cell phone out of a bag or bag without your noticing it.

Losing a phone, be it through theft or a sincere mistake, is a stressful experience. This not only prevents access to the rest of the world, but your phone is the most personal device you own.

If your phone disappears, do not panic! Every Android phone has built-in tools that make it easy to block and track a lost phone. First, however, you must take a few steps to prepare for success.

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Be prepared

Create a secure screen lock screen

Do yourself a favor and enable authentication with passcode and fingerprint. Do yourself another favor and do not use face detection on your Android device.

The technology used for face detection on most Android devices is easy to play with something as simple as a photo of your face. Facial authentication could become safer if adds Android Q the official support for secure, Face-ID-like authentication to Android reports suggest.

Next. Create your passcode and set up fingerprint authentication in the Security Settings section of the app settings. I know that scanning a fingerprint or entering a PIN code every time you want to use your phone can be uncomfortable, but the notion that someone can access your photos, bank apps, emails and the rest Having your personal information is downright scary.

One extra step in unlocking your phone is worth the effort when considering the potential impact of disclosing your personal information to a stranger.

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by Google Find My Device

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Screenshots of Jason Cipriani / CNET

Every time you sign in to an Android device with a Google Account, Find My Device is already enabled. Find My Device is what you should use if your phone is lost to track, lock, and delete remotely.

You can verify that "Find My Device" is enabled by opening the Settings app and going to Security & Location > My Device . Alternatively, if your device does not have a security and location option, you can switch to Google > Security > Find My Device .

Find My Device should be turned on. If not, move the switch to to and exit the Settings app.

Samsung's Find My Mobile

 samsung-find-my-mobile

When you log in to your Samsung account on a Galaxy phone you should be fine. However, it is a good idea to check this again.


Screenshots of Jason Cipriani / CNET

If you own a Samsung phone, you can and should set up the Samsung Find My Mobile service in addition to Google's Google Find My Device service. It not only gives you a backup service to detect a lost phone, but also tools that Find My Device does not offer.

The Samsung service can be used, for example, to enforce remote backups or to see if someone has outsourced your SIM card. You must have a Samsung account to use Find My Mobile.

On your Samsung phone, open the Settings app and go to Biometrics and security > Find My Mobile . If you signed in to your Samsung account during the initial setup of the device, Find My Mobile should already be enabled. If not, take a few seconds to sign in to your Samsung account and enable "Find My Phone".

Lock Remote, Track a Lost Phone

Find My Device

Play a sound, lock your phone, or delete it from the Search My Device page.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

To use Android Backservice, you need to remember one thing: android.com/find. This website will take you to the unfortunate event of losing your phone. Make sure you sign in to the same Google Account associated with your Android phone.

Not near a computer? You can use another Android device and the Find My Device app, which you need to download separately from the Play Store. Immediately after logging in to the website or app, Google will try to find your phone.

A notification is sent to your phone to know who it is that it is being tracked. Use the menu on the left side of the Find My Device site to play a sound (useful if you have misplaced it at home!), Lock the device or completely erase the device.

Selecting Secure Device will lock the phone, display a message of your choice on the lock screen, and log you out of your Google Account. Do not worry, you can find the phone even when it's locked. If you use Google Pay for mobile payments, locking your phone will prevent someone from using your phone to make a purchase.

If you use the Delete Device feature, you will no longer be able to track the phone if it has been deleted. Reserve this feature as a last resort.

If the thief turns off your phone, you will not be able to track it until it's turned back on and has a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Google will send you an email as soon as your device is found.

Samsung Users

Samsung's Find My Mobile has a variety of options to track and control a lost phone.


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Samsung Galaxy owners have the advantage that they use the corresponding services of Google or Samsung to find a lost device. However, I recommend to use Samsung's offer. As you will see below, the added features are invaluable.

To track a lost device with Samsung's services, visit findmymobile.samsung.com. There is no companion app, so you must 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 show you where your phone is currently. The right side of the screen displays a menu of options.

Start by locking the phone. This displays a personalized message on the lock screen, locks your Samsung Pay Cards, and prevents the phone from turning off.

Then back up your phone. If you lose it forever, you should have a recent backup of your phone. If the phone has moved locations, use the Track Location feature.

Enabling this feature will detect your phone every 15 minutes. Finally, activate the function "Extend battery life". This disables almost everything on the phone outside of the location.

Do not confront thieves

If your phone has been stolen and you can locate it, do not try to restore it yourself. This could cause you or someone else to be hurt. Despite the importance of a phone, it's not worth it.

Instead, contact local law enforcement and let them know that you need help recovering a lost or stolen phone that you could track to a specific address.

Contact your carrier and claim insurance

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Contact your carrier once an insurance claim has been submitted You realize you can not get your phone back.


Sarah Tew / CNET

If it turns out you can never get your phone back, contact your mobile service provider and report your phone as lost or stolen. This locks the phone from the operator's database so someone else can not use it.

When you call, your mobile service provider wants to suspend your service. This is a good idea if you want to prevent someone from using your phone. But keep in mind that if you are still tracking your lost phone, you lose a mobile connection. If the phone is not registered on a Wi-Fi network, you will not be able to track it.

If you're paying for your mobile phone, you'll need to file an application and pay the deductible to get a replacement phone. Start the insurance application process through your carrier, who will then probably forward you to the third insurance company that replaces your phone.

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

Originally released on April 21 at 5:00 pm PT.


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