Today, it is considerably easier to find a lost phone thanks to modern technology. Many devices have features or settings built in that help users locate their missing phones. But these can sometimes require additional setup or are not widely known about. This guide walks through how to find a lost iPhone or Android device, as well as how to use Find My iPhone; a location tool built into Apple devices.

Finding a lost iPhone

To locate a lost iPhone, use the Find My iPhone feature to ping the location of your device using GPS. To use this feature, you need to create an iCloud account, which lets you activate the Find My iPhone feature in the settings menu.

Set up Find My iPhone

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Find My iPhone is typically activated during the initial set-up process. Take a look at our set-up guide for iPhones to find additional and useful features you may not be aware of.

To activate Find My iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings and tap your name.
  2. Tap 'Find My'.
    a. To let friends and family know where you are, turn on 'Share My Location' in the 'Find My' section. This is an optional setting.

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  1. Tap ‘Find My Phone and press the toggle switch
    a. To see your phone, even when it is offline, tap the ‘Find My Network’ switch. This is an optional setting
  2. Turn on ‘Send Last Location’ so your phone can send a location signal when it is low on battery
  3. Depending on your device’s version of iOS, a prompt may appear saying that ‘Find My Phone’ requires the use of GPS tracking. Tap ‘Allow’
    6.Go to Settings > Privacy and check if you have 'Location Services enabled'. This is needed to locate your phone on a map

Using Find My iPhone

Once the Find My iPhone feature has been turned on, use iCloud to locate your device. You will need to set up an iCloud account if you don’t already have one:

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  1. Open a web browser and log into iCloud.com
  2. Select 'Find iPhone'
  3. Any device now set up with 'Find My' will appear as a dot on a map; green is an online device, grey is offline.
  4. Select 'All Devices' and choose the missing device
  5. Choose a tracking option:
    a. 'Play Sound' - the missing device will make a sound
    b. 'Lost Mode' - locks your iPhone and tracks it
    c. 'Erase iPhone' - used to delete your personal information from the lost device.

Finding a lost Android phone

If your lost phone is an Android device, the Find My Device tool is automatically activated if you previously added a Google Account. If you are not sure whether Find My Device has been turned on, it can be quickly enabled with a few steps:

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Find My Device

  1. Open the Settings menu
  2. Tap Security > Find My Device. If you can’t see the Security option, tap Security & Location or Google / Security
  3. Tap ‘Find My Device’ to turn it on

Location

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Location
  3. Enable Location to ensure your phone can be located in ‘Find My Device’

Google Play Visibility

  1. Open https://play.google.com/settings/
  2. Under the Visibility section, select your device

Test
You can check if all of the steps above have worked by searching for your device:

  1. Open https://android.com/find
  2. Sign in to your account
  3. Select the device from the options

Locating your Android device

Your lost Android phone can be located remotely or via the ‘Find My Device’ app on a separate phone or tablet:

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Remote search

  1. Go to https://android.com/find and sign in
    a. The lost phone will then get a notification
  2. Your phone’s details will appear on the map, including its current location
    a. The location will be approximate and might not be accurate
    b. If your phone can’t be located, the last known location may be provided instead
  3. Select which search function you would prefer to use
    a. Play sound – rings the phone at full volume for 5 minutes (phones on silent will also play at full volume)
    b. Secure device – locks your device to prevent unauthorised access
    c. Erase device – permanently delete all data on your lost device
  1. From a separate device with the ‘Find My Device’ app installed, open the app and sign in
  2. Follow the same steps as 'Remote search'

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If you are unable to locate your missing phone, there are protections you can put in place to ensure any sensitive data is not accessed by others.

On Android 5.0 devices, Factory Reset Protection requires users who factory reset a device, to enter the Google account’s username and password to use it again. This helps lock out unauthorised users and prevent them from re-using the device.

If you need a replacement phone quickly or are looking to change devices, we offer a wide range of refurbished and contract smartphones, in a variety of styles at affordable prices. We aim to help you get back online and connected as soon as possible.