By Ronald Samonte

July 25, 2023

turned on Android smartphone
turned on Android smartphone

What to do if your Phone got lost or stolen

If you have experience losing your Phone or having your Phone stolen, it's never a good experience. I got my Nokia 3310 stolen a long time ago, but it did not cost me loss of sleep or stress. But losing an iPhone or an Android device is quite different from a feature phone like the Nokia that I lost. Today's Smartphone contains our most precious secrets and losing it can be detrimental.

Smartphones have become vital from our day-to-day activities. We rely on it for work, entertainment, banking, emails and many more. We store tons of our personal photos and videos of our loved ones inside our smartphones. The mere thought of our Phones getting lost or stolen is already a stressful scenario, what more if it indeed happens. What would happen to our personal photos, our stored passwords and bank account information.

Things to do:


Use your Phone's location tracking app- IOS Find My or Google's Find My Device to locate your lost device.

If for some bad luck you are in a situation where you lost your phone and can't seem to remember where you lost it, don't panic. But it is quite important to act urgently as you only have a 24hr window of opportunity to locate and recover your phone. The first thing to do is utilize a location tracking app that can find your device by means of GPS, Bluetooth and WIFI. For iPhone users, Apple's refresh of its Find My App has major improvements over the old app. The same thing can be said for Google's Find My Device. Both Apps have similar location tracking features where a map displays the current or last location of your device. OEM Phone manufacturers like Samsung have built-in location tracking that can be enabled in the device setting should you wish to use it.

Now you have the phone location what's the next step do you immediately drive right into the map location and try to retrieve your phone? If the location of the phone is a public accessible place like a shop or in a mall any place where you can just walk in and investigate, then you should proceed with caution. Try to ask around if anybody has seen your lost phone. Try not to be rude and don't start accusing people as this could lead to further problems. Don't go alone, it would be best if you have a friend to tag along in case you do encounter the person who took your phone.


Mark your phone as lost.

The next step should be taken if there is no progress on the effort of physically tracking and locating the phone. This can also be your 1st step if you don't think the effort of tracking won't be effective. Using "Find My" of "Find My Device" you can Mark your Phone as Lost. Once this feature is enabled you have the option of displaying your contact information and a custom message that would appear on the lock screen display. BTW the "Mark as Lost" feature is dependent on WIFI or data connection. if your device has no access to either then the status would appear as "Pending" until such time your device has WIFI or data connection.


Erase your phone information

Once you enabled Mark as Lost and is in effect, give yourself a few more hours and if no results then it safe to say that getting your phone back might no longer be possible. The person who has possession of your device would surely see the custom message plus your contact information and has the opportunity to be a good Samaritan but decided to play as a bad actor and intended not to return your phone. it's time to remotely erase your device. Once you proceed to Remote Erase there is no back button so only do this once you're fully decided. Hopefully you have some local backup or cloud backup to have the option of restoring your data. Your phone needs network connection to execute the remote erase command.


Contact your network service provider

Once you confirmed that remote erase is successful, you'll need to contact your phone service provider. It does not matter if you're on prepaid or postpaid account your network provider would disable your account to prevent unauthorized calls, text message or data usage. More importantly this would prevent your number getting hacked and would prevent unauthorize 2FA usage.


Remove your missing device from your Google or Apple account

The last step to take is to remove your device from your personal Apple or Google account.