Tuesday Tip: How to Locate a Lost Android Phone

How to locate a lost Android phone

Tens of millions of phones are lost or stolen each year. If it happens to you, there are steps you can take to find a lost phone or at least prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

To locate a lost phone, first, enable the find function, so that if your phone really is lost (not buried in your couch) you can see it on a map, play a sound, lock it or erase it. There are different ways of doing this, depending on whether your phone is an Android or iPhone.

We’ll walk you through the basic steps.

Find lost Android phone

If your phone is linked to a Google account (and you’re signed in), Find My Device is on by default. But for the function to work, your phone must:

  • Be turned on.
  • Be signed into a Google account.
  • Be connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi.
  • Be visible on Google Play.
  • Have Location turned on.
  • Have Find My Device turned on.

Is Find My Device switched on? Let’s check.

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Security & Location. (If you don’t see Security & Location, tap Google > Security.)
  • Tap Find My Device.
  • Turn on Remotely locate this device and Allow remote lock and erase.

Is Location switched on?

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Security & Location > Location. (If you don’t see Security & Location, tap Location.)
  • Turn on Location.

Is your phone visible on Google Play? If it’s not visible, it won’t show up when you try to use Find My Device.

Can you find your device? Let’s see.

  • Go to android.com/find and sign into your Google account.

If you want to use another Android device to find a lost Android phone, install the Find My Device app on all your devices. You’ll find it at the Google Play store.

OK, so you’ve lost your phone. Now what? You can see it on a map, play a sound, lock it or erase it. Here’s how.

  • Go to android.com/find and sign in to your Google account.
  • If you have more than one device, click the device that’s lost at the top of the screen.
  • You’ll see a map that displays the location of your device. (The location is approximate. If your device can’t be found, you’ll see its last known location, if available.)
  • You can click Play Sound and your device will ring at full volume for 5 minutes, even if it’s set to silent or vibrate.
  • You can click Enable Lock & Erase. Choose Lock you’ll lock your device with your PIN, pattern or password. If you don’t have one, you can set one at this time. To help someone return your device to you, you can add a message or phone number to the lock screen. Choose Erase and you’ll permanently delete all data on your device. After you erase, Find My Device won’t work on the device anymore.

You can also search “find my phone” at Google and proceed from there.

Here’s Google’s nifty video on how to locate a lost phone: