Where's My Phone? How to Find a Lost Cell Phone

Lost Smart Phone In Fridge

If you have ever misplaced your cell phone, you know just how stressful this situation can be. Just about everyone carries their mobile phone around with them everywhere they go, so being unable to locate the device at one time or another is almost inevitable. Fortunately, losing your phone doesn't have to be upsetting if you have a plan in place.

First Steps to Finding Your Phone

As soon as you realize that you don't know where your phone is, implement these steps.

  1. Call your phone first right away. If it hasn't been stolen, you may be lucky enough that a stranger will answer it and kindly get it back to you. It's also possible your phone is nearby. If you hear it ringing, you can retrieve it quickly. It's very important to do this first, as your phone battery to die out it you delay.
  2. If calling your phone doesn't work, try texting it with your location and name and hope that whoever finds your phone will see it and come find you.
  3. Finally, you can try to retrace your steps and carefully look around for your phone. Talk to anyone who was in a location where you last had the device, such as store clerks and waiters, to see if anyone turned a phone in.

Use a Computer to Call or Text Your Phone

If you find yourself without a phone to use call your phone, you can use a computer or tablet with Wi-Fi.

  • You can use the Call My Lost Phone and Find My Cell Phone websites to place a call to your phone. Of course, these services are only helpful if your phone is nearby where you can hear it or if someone answers.
  • Another option you can try is to sign up for a free Google Voice number and then send a text to your phone. Hopefully, the person who picked up your phone will read it and arrange with you via text what to do next.
    Young man works on computer

Setting Up an Android Phone to Help Locate It

There are steps you can take a head of time to help make it easier to locate your phone if it gets lost. While this won't help you if you right now if you didn't go through the set-up process in advance, it's something you can do once you recover your phone to be prepared for future incidents.

Most Android Phones

  1. Unless you have a Samsung phone, use these instructions.
  2. Set your phone up ahead of time by going to Settings and choosing Google and then Security. You will see Find My Device. Tap on this to see if it has been enabled, and if not, enable it.
  3. Go to the Google Play store and download the Find My Device app. Sign in to the app with your Google login and password and "Enable Secure & Erase."
  4. Now if your phone is lost, you can log into Google to find your device on a Google map.
    • You can also trigger it to play a sound for 5 minutes, even if your phone is in silent mode.
    • If you're concerned about your phone being stolen, you can also secure the data on your phone by erasing it or setting a password.

Samsung Phones

If you have a Samsung Phone, use these instructions to set up a Samsung account via your phone.

  1. In your phone's settings, go to Security and then Find My Mobile to make sure it is enabled.
  2. Then, use the Samsung Find My Mobile website to track your phone.

Other Android Tracking Apps

In addition to the free service that comes with your Android phone via Google or Samsung, there are many apps in the Google Play Store that you can use to help find your phone. Examples of apps that get high user ratings include:

  • Where's My Droid - The free version of this highly-rated app lets you find your phone by making it ring or vibrate or using GPS to locate it. The Pro ($3.99) and Elite ($8.99/year) versions have more services, including geofencing, the ability to use the camera and more.
  • Clap to Find My Phone - As the name makes obvious, this app has your phone sound an alarm when you make a clapping sound. The app is rated 4.4 and while it won't help you if your phone was lost outside your area, it's a great option for someone who constantly loses their phone in their home, yard, car or office.
    Young couple using smartphone looking worried

Setting Up an iPhone Phone to Help Find It

To be prepared to locate your iPhone if you lose it in the future, enable the Find My iPhone service.

  1. Go to your iCloud account or download the app and turn Find My iPhone on.
  2. You can set it up on your Mac computer by going to System Preferences and then iCloud and make sure the Find My Mac box is checked.
  3. If your Find My Mac line has a button that says Details, click on this and go to Open Security and Privacy and then Enable Location Services. You may need to enter your login and password to enable it.
  4. To find your iPhone log into your iCloud account from another device and use the Find My iPhone option to see your phone's location.

Other iPhone Tracking Apps

Alternative highly rated apps you can use to be prepared to find your iPhone if it goes missing include"

  • Prey Find My Phone Tracker GPS - This free app is highly-rated in the iTunes store. You can protect and track up to three devices from one account on their website.
  • iMapp Find My Phone - This high-ly rated app lets you locate your phone, as well as the phones of your friends and relatives.

Last Resort Situations

If you didn't enable any of these apps or features on your phone, or if your battery has died, then you will have a difficult if not impossible time locating your phone. This is especially true if your phone was stolen, or the person who finds it decides to keep it. In this case, follow these steps right away:

  • Call your phone provider immediately. to let them know that your phone is gone. They can shut off your service and possibly even secure your data, so your privacy is protected. Doing this helps ensure you won't be billed for any additional calls or purchases (depending on the terms of your agreement).
  • Consider getting insurance on your next phone. Companies such as Asurion provide low-cost plans that will replace your phone for a small fee if it's lost or stolen. Considering the high cost of phones today, an insurance plan can save you money if you're forced to replace your phone.

Prepare for the Future With a GPS Tracker

Once you find your phone, in addition to enabling the system that comes with your phone, consider getting a physical GPS tracker for your phone. These are made for small items such as phones and keys and they attach to your phone. Tile and Armcrest are some of the most popular options available on Amazon. This kind of device can be very helpful in located a misplaced phone, assuming it is set up before the phone goes missing.

Increasing the Odds of Finding Your Lost Phone

The best way to find your phone is to investigate the features that come with your phone and enable them right away. Not using the features that provided to you for free, as well as at least one additional app you can download or a physical tracker, should drastically increase the odds you and your phone are reunited.

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Where's My Phone? How to Find a Lost Cell Phone