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Grow Your Business Technology

How to Find a Lost Smartphone

How to Find a Lost Smartphone
A lost smartphone doesn't have to stay lost. / Credit: Shutterstock

Losing a business smartphone could be a serious setback for any working professional. Your phone is your constant business companion, giving you instant access to everyone you need to stay connected to. It keeps you productive, even when you're away from the office, and it stores valuable emails, documents and data that you need to access on the fly.

But a lost smartphone doesn't have to stay lost. Whether you own an iPhone, an Android phone, a Windows Phone or a BlackBerry, there is software that can help you track down a missing device using its built-in GPS sensor, or just make it ring so you can find it if it's nearby. These tools also let you lock down your lost phone to keep your data safe. If you suspect that your smartphone was stolen, it's best to go to the police first. But if you do use one of these strategies to find a lost device, don't waste time; they'll only work for as long as your phone's battery holds out.

Android – Android Device Manager

Google's Android Device Manager lets you remotely locate, lock or wipe your Android device. To use it, you'll need to activate the service on your smartphone first. Just open Google Settings in your smartphone's app menu, and then tap Android Device Manager. Once it's enabled, visit the Android Device Manager website to use the service. Or, if you want to find or lock your smartphone from another Android phone or tablet, download the Android Device Manager app on your second device.

  • Find your phone: This option uses your phone's built-in GPS sensor to pinpoint its approximate location, and then shows you that location on Google Maps. Alternatively, you can make your Android phone ring, even if it's on vibrate or silent mode.
  • Lock or wipe your phone: This option enables remote locking, so you can prevent personal or business information from falling into the wrong hands. In an emergency, it also lets you wipe your smartphone's memory clean and restore the device to its factory default settings.

iOS – Find My iPhone

Apple's iCloud makes it easy to sync your files, music, settings and more across all of your iOS devices. And if your iPhone is lost, iCloud can help you find it. To get started, you'll need to follow these directions to set up iCloud. Once iCloud is activated, you'll have access to a few options:

  • Find My iPhone: This option uses your iPhone's GPS sensor to discover its current location, and then shows you where it is on a map. You can also make your iPhone ring, even if it's on vibrate or silent mode.
  • Activation lock: This feature lets you lock your lost iPhone remotely to prevent anyone else from using it. Once Activation Lock is activated, you'll need to enter your Apple ID and password to unlock it.

*Remote erase: To ensure your data remains secure, use iCloud to wipe all data from your lost iPhone. Don't worry; if you're already using iCloud, all of your data is backed up and can be restored to a new device, or to your lost device if it's recovered.

Windows Phone – Find My Phone

Microsoft provides a fully featured tool to help you track down — or lock down — a lost Windows Phone. To activate the functionality, visit windowsphone.com and navigate to the My Phone drop-down menu on the upper-right side of the page, and then sign in using the same Windows Live ID you use on your phone. From there, navigate to the My Phone menu again, click Find My Phone and follow the instructions presented in order to activate several different options:

  • Find My Phone: This option lets you pinpoint the location of your Windows Phone on a map using GPS technology. You can also make your phone ring, even if it's on vibrate or silent mode.
  • Lock your phone: This option lets you remotely set a four-digit PIN number on your lost phone's lock screen to stop others from accessing your data.
  • Erase your phone: This option lets you remotely wipe your phone and restore it to factory default settings.

BlackBerry – BlackBerry Protect

BlackBerry Protect is a free application to help you hunt down your missing device. To activate the service, download and install the app from the App World store on your BlackBerry. Then, if your phone gets lost, visit the BlackBerry Protect portal to perform one of several actions:

  • Find your phone: Use your BlackBerry's built-in GPS sensor to locate your device on a map, or make it ring loudly, even if it was set to silent or vibrate. Alternatively, display a personalized message on your BlackBerry's home screen, instructing the person who finds it how to return it.
  • Lock your phone: Remotely set a password on your lost BlackBerry's lock screen.
  • Wipe your phone: Erase all data on your phone to keep private accounts and information private. Before you wipe it, you can wirelessly back up your data, and then restore it to a new device.
Brett Nuckles
Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.