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Lost Your Mobile Phone? Here's Advice to Help You Track It Down.

August 21, 2014, 4:00 PM

For a lot of people, the mobile phone is merely an electronic extension of oneself. That's why the prospect of losing it can be so frightening -- our entire lives are on these devices.

Here are some tips, via Joe Donovan and Drew Prindle of Digital Trends, to help you track down your misplaced mobile:

Precautionary Steps

Taking steps ahead of time can prevent a lot of stress later. Android users have the benefit of Device Manager, which allows users to configure the information your phone conveys to whoever picks it up. Like Apple's Find My iPhone (more on that in a second), Device Manager also protects your phone's personal content and lets you clear your its memory from afar. Device Manager needs to be configured ahead of time though so don't put it off.

For those of us still using dumbphones (I use that as a term of endearment, by the way), the best bet to getting one back is to provide information that a Good Samaritan could easily locate. Snap a photo of an e-mail address you can be reached at and make it your wallpaper. Have the top entry in your Address Book be "!!! Call If Found."

For those a little more on the extreme side, Donovan and Prindle offer a likewise extreme suggestion. You may want to consider switching your sim card into a designated back-up phone -- a party phone -- when you go out. It makes sense that if you're a rampant partier or attending Burning Man, perhaps a throwaway phone isn't the worst idea.

After the Fact

iPhone users have the benefit of Find My iPhone, which locates your lost device on a map and grants you the option to wipe its memory. Most smartphones have additional options that allow for expedited recovery. You'll want to have researched these prior to losing your phone, but a lot of these options are still available to you if you didn't. Donovan and Prindle:

Your smartphone will have retrieval features that allows the phone to ring at maximum volume (even it it was silenced), as well as the option to lock the phone and send messages.

For Android users, Donovan and Prindle suggest a third party app called Plan B that can track your phone without need of GPS.

The Old Fashioned Way

Sadly, most of the above is useless if your phone has run out of juice. If this is the position you find yourself in, your best bet is to follow the advice Donovan and Prindle offer to dumbphone users:

1. Call your phone and leave a message (there are online apps that will allow you to make this call for free). Send a text as well in case someone switches the phone on later.

2. Retrace your steps. Sometimes misplaced phones end up in lost-and-founds at bars or clubs without ever having been switched on. Be sure to check vehicles as well -- the underside of your friend's passenger seat is a veritable Sarlacc pit of dropped items.

3. Alert your provider that the phone is lost. Like a misplaced debit card, it's sometimes better to just cut your losses.

Keep reading at Digital Trends for more advice on how to track down a lost phone.

Photo credit: Fedorov Oleksiy / Shutterstock


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