Protect your smartphone, if stolen. What to do?
Even thinking about losing smartphone bothers many of us. Smartphones are an integral part of our connected lifestyle. The sense of loss of a smartphone goes way beyond losing a wallet or car keys, because in addition to your smartphone’s monetary value, it also has your private information about you and your family all in one handy place. The idea of a stranger accessing this personal information and potential misuse is dreadful.
As per Consumer Reports, smartphone thefts nearly doubled in 2014 to an estimated 3.1 million in US. The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) also revealed the total number of lost or stolen devices in 2015 was 444,196. This report only projects the devices that were reported stolen to the national cellphone blacklist.
Besides, the research further illustrates that vast majority of smart phone owners neglected to take measures that could trace their phone or keep their personal data safe.
Hence, it is better to take precautions ahead of time, to minimize the impact of data loss and increase your chances to recover your smartphone.
Measures to take ahead of time to protect your smartphone data
You can take a few of these precautions so that if you do lose it at some point, you will be more prepared and may eventually find it. You're much further better off spending some time to do the safety steps instead of getting anxious after it has been lost, so that the damage from having it lost will be minimized.
These are a couple of steps to be prepared, protecting the data and to act quickly in case you lose the phone:
1. Set up your contact and emergency info on phone:
You may set up your contact info on your cellphone. This will be useful both in case the device is lost or for medical emergencies.
For Android phone, go to Settings > Security > Owner Info and update the information.
For iPhones, do add emergency contact info in the Health app > Medical ID page. Also add yourself as the owner in the Settings> Mail, Contacts, Calendars> My Info sections.
So that in case someone finds your phone and even if it is locked, person can contact you or someone you know.
2. Protect access to your cellphone with a strong password:
The first thing you have to do is set a strong password. This will make miscreants job difficult and hard to access your phone.
If your mobile also has a fingerprint sensor or face detection, make sure that you turn those on since they provide a strong layer of protection that would be tough for a criminal to hack. In the very same place where you have switched on the passcode, you can unlock such options.
It is suggested that you set up Screen lock options. Each time you turn on your device or wake up the screen, you’ll be asked to unlock your device, usually with a PIN, pattern, password or fingerprint.
3. Switch on Find My iPhone or Find My Device or use apps:
The easiest way to track and locate your phone is to install and configure “Find My Devices” features on your Android based smartphone or iPhone. This will ensure you could find, remotely uninstall, & delete your missing phone data.
Android based devices
In the event your phone is lost, you will be able to see the location of the phone, battery charging level. Can play sound (ring tone) on your phone even if it is set to silent mode. Can lock the device remotely or erase your device data.
For Samsung phones, in addition or alternatively setup Samsung’s” Find my Mobile” application.
iPhone or iPAD
On Apple devices Find My iPhone is a pre-installed native application. You just have to configure as shown below. However, if you need quick assistance you can connect with the technician at techiefriends.com
There are number of 3rd party apps like Norton, Bitdefender and others which can protect your data, trace your mobile devices and many other features like protecting against malware and phone hacking at an additional cost.
4. Note down the IMEI of your phone:
Another easy way to track your phone is if your phone ever gets robbed, odds are that the robber would want to sell it online. You should write down your mobile phone's IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity). This number can be accessed by typing *#06# into your device or by looking on the back of your device behind the battery).
5. Back up phone data:
You'll also want to back up the data, based on what you have on the phone. There are numerous ways you could do this, manually or on cloud or install a software to back up data online. You can restore your backed-up information to the original phone or to a new phone. It is almost worth the hassle to back up your devices since it would make setting up a new mobile very much simpler.
6. Backup your data to Google Drive or iCloud
Backing up your phone’s crucial data to Google Drive or iCloud can be very helpful if you have some important data stored in your phone and unexpectedly lose your phone. This way, at least you will be assured that your data is safe in your Google Drive (for Android users) or iCloud (for iPhone users).
It's pretty easy to back up your iPhone to protect your data. You will recover the content from your iCloud backup, instead of missing it, if you have a problem with your device or lose it.
Navigate to the Settings app > iCloud > Backup to allow iCloud backup on your iPhone. If requested, sign-in to your iCloud account. To begin backing up, tap Back up Now.
When the device is connected to a Wi-Fi network and attached to USB power, subsequent backups are automatically done. By pressing Back Up Now, you can manually start backups anytime you want.
All Android phones have a backup service that conveniently backs up data like your system settings, Wi-Fi networks and app data on Google Drive, similar to Apple's iCloud. It is free of charge and doesn't count against storage in your Google Drive account.
Open the Settings app on your Android smartphone to access your backup settings, and tap System > Backup. A switch called Back up to Google Drive should be there. Turn it On if it is switched Off. If you have signed in to more than one Google account on your device, you can pick which Google account you want to use to store your backups by clicking on the Accounts option.
7. Device insurance
In case you have your device insured, do make sure that it covers lost or stolen devices.
Steps to take when you lose your smartphone:
1. Call from another phone:
In case that you have lost your phone, the very first step you can do is to call your number from some other phone. In case someone else might have found it, and that they're trying to work out the fastest way to give it back to you, a call will help them connect with you faster than them finding your info.
2. Use phone’s native feature Find My iPhone or Find My Device
This feature will only work if you have set it up, as explained earlier. This app lets you remotely track, lock, and erase the data on a lost or stolen phone.
Erase data as soon as you realize your phone is lost. Otherwise, the miscreants might remove your SIM or shield your mobile phone from remote commands.
3. Lock the device:
You can lock the device remotely from your carrier’s app to make sure no one can reach your confidential data. You can lock your device from Find My Device app as well.
4. Report to your carrier
To avoid any misuse and additional phone charges on your phone, inform your carried about your lost or stolen phone so that SIM can be blocked.
It is also advisable that you change the passwords on any financial accounts, emails and social media accounts.
5. Report your smartphone IMEI number to blacklist from resale:
Report the device lost or stolen with IMEI number to your carrier or to the recognized agencies as listed below. This will prevent robbers to sell your phone in Canada or US. These blacklists are maintained by agencies depending upon your location. While most carriers within the region share blacklisting information, this isn’t always the case across regions. However, it is possible that a device is blacklisted in one region may be blacklisted in some other or all the regions.
· US IMEI blacklist is maintained by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA)
· Canadian IMEI blacklist is maintained by Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA)
In case you are purchasing a pre-owned device do check whether the device is stolen or not at the relevant website.
6. Report to the Police :
Even if you are able to trace your phone, advise is do not confront, instead report the matter to the Police. You must file a complaint to the police if you believe your phone was stolen instead of just lost. This will also protect you from any fraudulent charges made using your device.
Mobile phones are essential to our lifestyle. In order to save from unnecessary hassle if phone is lost it is better to set up a few safety features. You can hopefully get back your missing phone by tracing your phone. In case it gets lost permanently, you can at least protect your data and other sensitive information.
If you need any help with it security support services, online computer diagnostic and repair, any kind of android support or mac os problems etc., please feel free to talk to experts at techiefriends.com, they can do it for you in no time.