Your cell phone likely contains your whole life. It has your contacts, your emails, your notes and your calendar. Therefore, if you lose your cell phone, everything could come to a standstill. Because we take our cell phones everywhere, they’re extremely easy to misplace. You could leave yours at work, a friend’s house or in a public place.
Before you panic, there are a few steps you can take to help get your phone back. Or at the very least, protect your personal information.
Here’s what to do when you can’t find your phone.
- Call or text your phone
If you can’t find your cell phone, you might think it’s gone forever. But before you think the worst, borrow someone else’s phone and call or text your phone.
It might have fallen in between furniture, or you may have left it in an odd place around your home. If you call or text the phone, you might hear it ring or buzz and you can follow the sound. Or if you left it someplace else, a good samaritan might answer the phone and set up a place and time to return it.
- Use GPS to locate the phone
If you have a smartphone, it may have a feature that lets you locate the phone using its GPS. You’ll have to use your computer, either signing into your iCloud account if you have an iOS device, or Android’s “find my device” website.
Keep in mind that in order to locate the phone, your phone’s GPS must be turned on and the phone itself must be turned on. If your cell phone has died, you won’t be able to locate it.
- Manually lock the phone
There’s also a feature that lets you manually lock your phone if it’s misplaced or stolen. With this feature, the phone becomes useless if it falls into the wrong hands.
There are different ways to lock your phone depending on your operating system. If you have an iPhone, log into your “find my iPhone” app to manually lock your phone. And if you have an Android phone, log into your Android device manager. These features are also known as Lost Mode.
- Set a lock screen number
One benefit of Lost Mode is that you can also set up a custom message for your home screen. You might include an alternate phone number so the person who finds the phone can call you.
This is important because with the phone locked, the person is unable to get into your phone and find your contact number.
- Report the phone lost or stolen
Some people don’t think to report a cell phone as lost or stolen. But depending on your cell phone insurance coverage, you may need a police report in order to file an insurance claim.
Read your policy to see if this is necessary. Also, if you use the phone’s GPS to locate the device, depending on where you live the police may help you retrieve your phone. However, the police may only get involved if you can pinpoint the “exact” location of the phone.
- Notify your provider
If you’ve taken different measures to locate your phone and it’s still lost or stolen, notify your provider immediately to suspend services. From here, you can start the process of buying a replacement phone.
Nobody wants to lose their cell phone, but it happens sometimes. Do whatever you can to retrieve the phone. But if days pass with no sign of its return, notify your provider as soon as possible, count your losses and move on.