If you ever discover that your Android smartphone or iPhone has gone missing, don’t panic! Today’s smartphones come with built-in technology that will help you locate them if they’re misplaced, and even secure them if they’re truly lost.
For Android users, the Find My Device feature is available as an app, or can be used from a web page. You’ll need to have set up a Google account, and be signed into it, to use the service. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to use the app or web page to see a map with your registered devices automatically displayed.
If your device is nearby, you can tap Play Sound to ping the phone—just follow the sound to see if it leads you to your device. Even if the device is not in your immediate area, the ping may alert a good Samaritan who can pick it up and keep it safe for you. If your device isn’t nearby, you can tap Secure Device to lock it so no one can access it, and even add a message and phone number for anyone who does find it so that person can contact you.
Those with Samsung phones have an additional option. You can also track down a lost device via a special feature called Find My Mobile. To set this up on your Samsung device, go to Settings. Tap the setting for Security or Biometrics and Security, then select the setting for Find My Mobile. Then, if your device is misplaced, you can use the website to display its location or secure it.
iPhone users who’ve updated their operating system to iOS 13 or higher can use Apple’s Find My iPhone feature, which lets you use any iOS device to track down a missing phone and protect its data. To enable it, go to Settings, then tap your name, tap Find My, and finally tap Find My iPhone. Slide the toggle switch to the right to turn the feature on.
You can use Find My Phone on any other iOS device (like an iPad) to spot your missing phone on a map, and if it’s nearby, play a sound to identify where it is. You also have the option of activating Family Sharing so you can use another family member’s Apple device to find your own. If you can’t find your phone, simply tap Activate in the section for Mark as Lost. This mode lets you lock your phone so no one else can access it, and displays your contact information in case someone finds it.
Whether your smartphone gets left under a couch cushion, in a friend’s car, or at restaurant across town, you have the tools you need to find it and keep it secure.