How to find a lost or stolen Android smartphone

Nowadays, a smartphone is not just a device for communication; it plays a much more important role in our lives. Just think about loads of information about you stored on your mobile device. This includes the list of your contacts, as well as various financial data, together with banking applications. But what happens if you lose your phone? With such a huge amount of personal information that will become available to anyone who gets hold of it, it is very important to be prepared for loss of your phone and know how to find it as soon as possible.

Fortunately, creators of smartphones understand how important their devices are and offer some solutions that make it easier to find a smartphone in case of its loss or theft.

To begin with, it is highly recommended to copy the IMEI and the serial number of your phone somewhere (certainly, not on this smartphone). They will be useful if your phone is stolen and you need to complain to the police. You can find out the phone’s IMEI by dialing *#06# on your phone. In order to find out the serial number, go to “Settings” and select “About phone”.

Built-in ‘Find My Device’ function

This service automatically tracks location of your phone and in case of loss, you can learn about its last known location.

Is my phone compatible with Find My Device?

Before proceeding to description of how ‘Find My Device’ works, it is important to know whether your phone is compatible with it. If you use a device running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or a later version of this OS, your phone is compatible with Find My Device. This means that the vast majority of active Android devices are compatible with “Find My Device” feature.

How to install Find My Device

On most new Android smartphones, “Find My Device” app is pre-installed out of the box. If you are not sure whether this service works on your smartphone, you can install “Find My Device” application from Google yourself.

Open Google Play Store and search for “Find My Device”.

Click on the three dots next to the first search result and select “Install”.

How to log in to Find My Device app

After installing Find My Device application, you will have to log in with your Google account. If you use several accounts on your phone, you will receive a drop-down menu where you can select the account you want to link with your phone in the application.

Open Find My Device app.

Select the Google account you want to use the service with.

Click ‘Continue As’ button.

After that, you can use all the functions of the application.

Enter the password for your Google account.

Click Sign In.

Give the app access to your location.

How to check whether Find My Device works correctly

After logging in to Find My Device, you will see a map with your current location, the phone’s make and model, as well as two options: “Play sound” and “Enable lock and erase data”. If you are logged into more than one phone, you can select a specific device by viewing the list at the top of the screen. If you can’t find your phone or the application indicates that your device is unavailable, most likely, the geolocation function has been disabled. Find My Device service uses GPS to track your phone, so for it to work correctly, you need to enable geolocation function.

Open Settings, select Location, and enable the location function.

How to find a lost or stolen Android smartphone with Find My Device app

If you lose your phone, you should log in to your Google account on any other device (not necessarily Android) and follow the link
Then, choose the smartphone from the list of devices connected to your account, and you will get access to all the functions of the “Find My Device”:

  • You can remotely lock that device. This function is useful if an automatic blocking is not set or if you are not sure that it will work (for example, if you set a rather long interval)
  • Using “Play sound” function, you can “call” your phone, i.e. make it make a sound, even if the phone was set to silent mode. This feature will be useful if you know that the phone is somewhere nearby.
  • You can log out of your account on a lost phone. This will prevent someone else from accessing information in your Google Account.
  • If you doubt that you will be able to return your smartphone, you may need the function to delete all the data from this device.

Finding your lost phone using Google Home

Probably each of us faced such a situation at least once: you don’t remember where you left your phone in your own apartment or house. It is especially unpleasant when you are in a hurry. If you have a smart Google Home speaker, you can use Google Assistant to find your lost smartphone. Your Android smartphone must be connected to the same Google account as Google Home speaker, you must link your Google account and Google Home through Home application, and your phone must be turned on and connected to the Internet. You will also need to enable “Find My Device” function.

If your phone is turned on and connected to the Internet, all you have to do is say: “Ok Google, find my phone.” Then the Google Voice Assistant will ask you to confirm which device you want to find, after which the call will turn on this device – even if the sound on it has been muted. Thanks to the multiuser support of Google Home, everybody who lives with you can use Google Home to search for the lost phones.

Search for a lost phone using third-party applications

In addition to Google solutions, there are a number of third-party applications that can be useful if you lose your Android smartphone. Some of them are highly specialized and are designed specifically for tracking location of the device. The other ones are more functional, and the ability to find devices is just one of their functions.

You can use one of the programs presented on this site. All of them have the ability to determine location of a mobile device. However, if you need wider functionality, you had better choose Hoverwatch program, which has fairly wide capabilities for remote control of Android devices.