It happens to the best of us; you had your Android phone, and now it’s gone. There are few feelings worse than realizing your precious and expensive device — your lifeline to the digital world — is missing, whether you left it in the back of an Uber or left it fall while frolicking in a meadow. Worse still, if you don’t back up your Android phone, that loss could have cascading repercussions that ruin the rest of your week.
Fortunately, all is not yet dark. There are safeguards in place that can help you find your lost Android in a few simple steps. Just under that, and you could be reunited with your one true love before the day is out.
Can your Android phone be found?
First of all, it is important to understand that not all Android phones can be found. The device needs to tick a few boxes before you can be sure it’s even possible to locate your device. Here are the criteria that your Android phone must meet if you want to hope to find it.
- Location services enabled
- Logged in to a Google account
- Connected to mobile data or WiFi
- Visible on Google Pay
- Find My Activated Device
How to find your Android phone
Once you are sure that your Android phone meets all the above requirements, you can start the search process. Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting your phone back, as long as it’s not somewhere in the middle of the ocean.
- Go to android.com/find
- Sign in to your main Google account
- Click on the lost phone in the upper left corner
- Show your phone on the map
- If necessary, click “Play sound” to make the phone ring for 5 minutes, even if it is in silent/vibrate mode
If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this comprehensive Google YouTube video that walks you through the process with cute animations and a friendly voiceover.
What else can you do with your lost Android phone?
Even if you have located your lost Android phone, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can recover it. Maybe you just left it somewhere, but it could have gone with someone else who chose not to return it. Still, you don’t want your valuable information falling into the wrong hands, which is why you’ll want to take steps to neutralize an unrecoverable device.
Android has a few handy options that can help keep you safe without actually finding your device. Once you locate the device with the finder, Android lets you lock it if you don’t have a locking mechanism in place. Additionally, Android provides the option to wipe the device entirely to protect your personal data. Just click “Enable Lock and Wipe” on the Find page once you reach this section, and your device will return to factory settings without a trace that you even owned it.
When it’s really gone
If you’ve searched high and low and your phone is still lost, maybe it’s time to give it a call someday. If you need a new phone, we’re pretty good at recommendations and have created a list of the best Android phones. If you’re on a tight budget, check out carrier deals and our favorite budget phones. It goes without saying that a phone insurance plan is a good idea and most carriers offer inexpensive monthly options that can be added to your bill.