Losing your phone can feel like an epic disaster. Not only is it a significant investment, it also serves as your address book, photo album, calendar and pretty much everything else nowadays. Fortunately, the smart folks who design these devices recognize this. Both iPhone and Android smartphones come with helpful options for locating a missing phone, and for protecting your critical personal information if the device is truly lost.
For iPhone users, the Find My iPhone feature offers easy tracking and management of your device. To start, make sure you’ve activated your iCloud account. After you’ve done so, go to the Settings menu on your iPhone, tap iCloud, and then tap Find My iPhone. Switch it to the “On” position, and you’re ready to go.
If your iPhone is missing, you can access the Find My iPhone app through your iCloud account using a computer or tablet. You’re able to see any Apple devices you have registered. Select the one that is missing, and its current tracked location will be displayed on a map.
Once you’ve identified the device’s location, you’ll have three recovery options. If it shows up in your home or nearby, you can choose the “Play Sound” option so the phone will emit an audible tone. Listen for it, then rescue your phone from the under the couch cushion or in the coat pocket it was left in.
If it’s not somewhere accessible, you can choose “Lost Mode,” which directs your iPhone to display a phone number so anyone finding it can contact you. Or, if you think it may not be found or returned, you can select “Erase” to delete any private information from the device.
Android smartphone users will enjoy similar protection by installing Google’s Android Device Manager app. Once you’ve done so, you’ll need to enable your device’s location services by opening your Settings menu, selecting Personal, then tapping Location. At the top, tap the On/Off switch to turn location services on.
The Device Manager app can be accessed using your Google account from another phone, a tablet, or a PC or laptop. You’re able to spot the location of your device on a map, and, as with the iPhone version, choose from three recovery options. If it’s near you, you can remotely ring the device to discover where it’s hiding. Or, you can select a “lock” option to alert anyone finding the device to call a displayed phone number where you can be reached. And if the phone simply can’t be retrieved, you can remotely erase its contents.
Just remember, these wonderful tracking devices only work if you turn them on! Be sure to sync your device contacts using your Google or Apple ID, and use a cloud storage option to save photos or important documents. This makes sure you have a complete backup of the most precious information on your phone. Then activate Find My iPhone, or install the Android Device Manager. Do it today to be sure you’ll be able to find your smartphone tomorrow!