Lost Android: How to find my lost Android phone
It’s the first rule of finding lost things — ask yourself where you remember seeing it last. Don’t panic if you don’t remember. Many smartphones and tablets on the market now come with features that can track their location.
Whether you’re using an Apple iPhone or an Android device like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, your mobile device has purpose-built apps to help you find it. Those apps may not help you find your lost device every time, but they’re a good place to start.
The iPhone has its own unique set of tools, but this article will focus on Android devices.
Were you prepared to lose your Android phone or tablet?
No one wants to lose what belongs to them, but it happens to the best of us. It’s always smart to take a few steps to ensure that you’re prepared in the event it happens.
For your Android device, if you had previously downloaded the Find My Device app from the Google Play Store and it was turned on, there’s a good chance it can help you find your lost device. You can click here to see how Google can help.
For Find My Device to work, your device must be connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data, have “Location Settings” turned on, and be visible on Google Play Store. Your Android device must also be signed into a Google Account.
Write down and save your device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) in case you need to report a theft to law enforcement. It’s a unique, numerical identifier to identify a device’s make, model, and serial number. Look for it under your phone’s settings.
How Google can help you find your Android device
For most Android devices, Google provides four ways to remotely find, lock, and erase lost Android devices. However, you must activate these settings on your phone as a precaution before it is lost.
Go to android.com/find and sign in to your Google account. You can see the approximate location of your phone or its last known location. Apps like Google Maps may also give you a location history of your device.
Whether your Android phone is set to ring, vibrate, or remain silent, the “Play Sound” option will allow you to ring your device at full volume for five minutes. This may help if you’re in the vicinity of the device.
Using your security PIN, pattern, or password, you can lock your Android device remotely. If you don’t have a lock, you can set one. This feature also allows you to display a message or phone number on the lock screen so the finder of the phone can contact you.
As a last resort, you can permanently delete all data on your Android device or do a factory reset. This means you also delete the Find My Device app, causing it to stop working on your device. If you’re lucky enough to find your device after you’ve remotely erased all data, you’ll need your Google Account password to use it again.
There’s one potential issue with Google: two-factor authentication. If you’ve set this up to access your Google account, you won’t have access to your phone to retrieve the code via text or your Google authenticator app. The answer to this dilemma is easy: Keep a backup list of two-factor authentication codes — which Google provides.
How Norton Mobile Security can help locate your device
If you have Norton Mobile Security for Android installed on your Android device, this app could also help you find your device. The app not only gives your Android device excellent protection from malware, viruses, and spyware, but it also comes with anti-theft features, which help secure and locate your lost Android via the web or SMS.
If you’re using the web to access your lost device, you can manage your missing Android using Norton Mobile Security for Android. Here’s how. Sign in to your Norton account. In the Anti-Theft features pane, click one of the following features and follow the instructions to use these seven options:
1. Lock device
Type a custom message that you want to be displayed on the device lock screen, and then click Lock Device.
2. Lost mode
Click Turn on Lost Mode to lock your device and activate phone finding features.
Click Locate Now to display the current location of your phone.
Click Scream to make a loud sound from your device to help you pinpoint its location.
5. Sneak peek
Click Take Photo to snap a photo using the front camera of the device to get a more accurate view of your device’s location.
6. Remove screen lock
Click Remove Screen Lock to disable the screen lock and resume using your device when you find it.
7. Wipe device
If you’re certain that your Android is lost for good, click Wipe Device to delete all of the personal data stored on that device.
You can also use Norton Mobile Security’s SMS Anti-Theft features. When signing in to the Manage Anti-Theft Features page, a unique, four-digit passcode is assigned to your device. You can use that passcode for the SMS Anti-Theft features.
Assuming XXXX is the four-digit unique Anti-Theft passcode for your Android device, you can send individual command SMSs to your missing device in the following formats:
- lock XXXX
- scream XXXX
- locate XXXX
- wipe XXXX
Using a service like Norton Mobile Security not only provides comprehensive protection for your Android device, but it also gives you advanced anti-theft features that may not be offered by free apps.
What else can I do to find my Android smartphone?
There are additional steps you can take when you lose your Android phone.
Let your service provider know that your phone is lost or stolen to prevent unauthorized charges. You also should write down and save your device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) so, if your Android phone has been stolen, you can report the theft to law enforcement.
Find my Android recap
Finding your mobile device can be simple, but the main issue most people have is forgetting to set up the required items. We discussed the topic at length above, but here’s a quick recap.
Find My Device requires that your Android device:
- Is turned on
- Has Find My Device turned on
- Has Location turned on
- Is signed in to a Google Account
- Is connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi
- Is visible on Google Play
You can’t predict if your phone will be stolen or lost. But you can be prepared. The most important thing you can do to help protect your device is to set up and enable the safety features outlined above.
You’ll be able to act quickly to find your device or at least protect your personal information from making its way into the wrong hands.
Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Norton LifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.
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