When you phone goes missing location services, like Find My iPhone, can be a savior.
What’s location services?
Pretty simple. Location services use real time geo-data from your mobile device to provide service or value to users. Ok… not that simple. Example: Google Maps
Many apps use geo-data from your devices for a wide range of services, but there are very few designed to be used when your phone goes missing. We are going to cover a little bit about Find My iPhone and Find My Device.
Why do I care?
Good question, well kind of a jerk question but here comes the answer anyways. Find My iPhone (Apple) and Find My Device (Android) can be the last line of defense to get your phone back when it’s be lost or stolen. So its listen a little longer or just plan to drop another $1,500 on a phone…
The Find My apps can work well, but can be quite limited. In order to be effective you as the phone owner will need to plan for a few keys steps.
Step 1: Turn it on
Didn’t see that one coming huh. Like many things in life for it to work it needs to be on. Turning on the Find My apps typically happen during the normal setup steps so you should be covered. Although, there are several reasons why you may of disabled it or just skipped those steps so it would hurt to check.
Step 2: Quick use it
So if your phone goes missing this needs to be top of mind. You are going to need to use it on someone else’s device and you are going to want to use it quickly.
You can’t use Find My iPhone or icloud.com on an Android device. Dick move Apple.
In this, possibly intense, situation you’ll need to know key information like usernames and passwords. Specifically:
- Find My iPhone- Apple ID & Password
- Find My Device- Google Username & Password
Also, speed here is key if you are suspicious theft has occurred. A veteran thief will attempt to remove the sim card or turn your phone on airplane mode to prevent use of location services.
Step 3: Lost Mode
Using the power of memory you’ve entered the username and password on a friends device through the app or website (icloud.com or google.com/android/find). Once logged in and if the phone is still on (and with service) you’ll be able to see the location. You will be able to track the location of the phone and search for it if the location is nearby. Don’t be a jerk and constantly play the ring unless you think you are right by your phone. It doesn’t help and for us professionals in lost & found it can be quite annoying.
Place it in Lost Mode with a message and contact number. Putting the right message on the missing phone can be critically important. We highly suggest directing them to turn it into lost & found instead of trying to locate a single person in a crowd (also be wary about in person meetings in unsafe environments). We suggest:
“This phone is lost. Please turn this into the lost and found located… or call the number”
Oh, make sure to add a contact number.
Don’t enter the contact number of the missing device. We find a lot of phones like that and feel dumb calling ourselves. Help me help you here.
My phone isn't showing up at all!
Don’t panic! There could be a wide range of causes for this but it isn’t ideal. Place the phone Lost Mode no matter what. If the phone comes back online the Lost Mode will take effect and increase the chances of getting recovered.
You should always check in at the Lost & Found to see if your phone was found.
— FYI: Questions to avoid in this situation —
- Do you have phones?
- Is this the only Lost & Found?
- Why don’t you have it?
— These will not illicit a helpful or positive response —
If the organization has the kickass Liff Happens Team or Liff App Software they will take care of you. Make sure to put in an Item Alert and use the available hardware they have on hand to help you.
Resolution: Found it, or you didn't
Unfortunately, this is a pretty binary situation, and you’ll get your phone back or won’t.
If you get it back, feel free to bounce from here. You won. The rest of the info is useful, but you probably have many phone-related stuff to do.
For the 70-90% of you remaining (ya 90%… average loss has a crazy low success rate. Sorry to break it to you like this, so listen up.), this information will be essential for you only before you lose your phone. Back it up!
We’ve had too many stories of irreplaceable pictures, contacts, and information being lost from not backing up your phone. It’s easy. Plug it into your computer and make a backup. Done.
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