You pat your pockets and, “Where’s my phone?“. You look inside your bag and, “I swear it was just here.” You search your surroundings and no signs of your mobile phone. Tough luck! Getting a phone lost or stolen is bothersome but, when it happens, there’s no time to brood. You must act fast.

Here is what you should do if you happen to lose your device, in a few simple steps. And, what you can do to prevent situations like this in the future.

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What to Do When You Lose Your Phone

1. Call The Phone

Call the phone and see if you can spot it. There is a chance you have only misplaced it.

2. Remotely Locate Your Device

Can’t you find the phone anywhere? First and foremost, I hope you turned the remote tracking on your phone. On Android, it’s called Find My Device, and you can enable it under the Security & location menu in Settings. For iOS, it’s called Find My iPhone. (You can turn it on by going to Settings, tap your name and then your iPhone.)

If you have this service on, login into other device and try to track it. This tracking info will give you an idea of where the phone is at a given moment.

3. Contact Your Carrier

Contact your service provider and ask them to lock your SIM card and suspend service to your phone to avoid any fraudulent charges. Different carriers have varying policies about this so your request might not be done immediately.

4. Report it to the Police

If you suspect that your phone might have been stolen, file a Police report and give them your IMEI. Police will mark your phone as lost on their database. Chances of getting it back are slim, but you’ll need the report reference number to claim any insurance.

How to find your IMEI:
The universal method for checking your IMEI, on an iPhone or Android, is to open your call app and dial in the following:
*#06# A box will pop up with your IMEI code in it, and you can copy the number down.

Alternatively, if your iPhone or Android phone has been stolen and you forgot to check and write down the IMEI number, check the original box that your phone came in. There’s a good chance you’ll find a sticker on the outside of it that lists the IMEI of your phone.

5. Check Your Online Accounts

Even if your phone is protected with a screen lock, use other device to go online and protect your accounts. Change passwords for all important accounts and log out of all devices, especially email and social media.

Common questions

men holding mobile phone
Image credit: Luis Villasmil | Unsplash

“I forgot my phone in the taxi a couple of hours ago. It seems like the phone is turned off but I managed to trace it, and it is on an HDB block at Toa Payoh. What should I do?”

  • You might be thinking, I could go there and try to find the culprit that has my phone... But, what are the odds of really finding it? Just be practical. Cancel your sim card (by calling your service provider) and file a police report. Give your IMEI to the police.

“My iPhone was stolen out of my bag. The phone wasn’t locked. Whoever took it put their SIM card into the phone, so I got an alert on my Mac saying a number had been associated with my iPhone. How can I get my phone back?”

  • Follow the steps above. If you don’t want to get the police involved just yet, try using Truecaller or searching for that number online on Facebook. It is a long shot, but if you manage to find and contact the person, you might be able to solve the issue on your own. But, in the meantime, change your passwords, especially your iCloud password.

Did you lose your phone while travelling? Here’s what you should do.

Pretty much what you should do when you lose your phone in Singapore.

Phones are quite essential during a trip if you rely on them to keep your travel docs and use maps to find your way around. An important step is to upload all important travel docs and other info to the cloud. Even if you lose your phone, you will still have access to all you need.

Feeling a tad paranoid and wanna be extra careful while travelling? Carry a backup phone when you travel.

What you can do before you lose your phone

women holding mobile phone
Image cedt: Stanislav Kondratiev | Unsplash

Get ahead of the game and prepare for when (and if) you ever lose your phone.

1. Lock Your Screen

This sounds basic but it will make a difference. Use a Lock Screen with a password, a hard to figure out a pattern or touch/face ID, to prevent other people from accessing your phone easily. On Android, you will find these options under Security & location. On IOS setting, they’re under Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode).

2. Back up Your Data

Always back up your data. On your phone, go to Settings then click System, Advanced, and Backup. On iOS, go to Settings then tap your name, your device, then iCloud Backup (if you’ve enabled iCloud on your device, which you should).

3. Get Phone Insurance

You can consider phone insurance. Here are some options in Singapore:

  • MobileSwop from Singtel (from $9.90/month) – it warrants you a replacement handset by a fraction of the cost. You can get your replacement phone in 4h.
  • Smart Support from Starhub (from $12/month) – it’s similar to the previous option, it replaces your phone in 4h for a fee.

4. Install a Security App

There are several app choices available that help you track, block or wipe your phone in case it gets lost or stolen. Here are a few options:

  • Prey app – Prey is free to use for up to 3 devices and you can use the service for both computers and phones. This app allows you to track your phone, make it play a loud sound or take a photo. Prey runs in the background and won’t track your phone’s location until you tell it to. Works on IOS and Android.
  • Avast – Is one of the big names for antivirus software, but also offers anti-theft options. You can remotely lock or wipe your smartphone, listen remotely, or take a photo of the person who’s using it. You can also activate the stealth mode on your device, so the presumable thief doesn’t know Avast is protecting your phone. The app gives you SIM card change notifications and locking features. It works on Android and its best features are paid.
  • Lookout for IOS – This app combines security, tracking, and antivirus or malware protection. Among all the features is the ability to record a phone’s last location right before the battery dies, the chance to back up data before a remote erase, and the option to snap a photo of the person using your phone and email it to yourself along with location data. Lookout offers a free two-week trial, after which it will cost $3 per month (or $30 for the year) for premium features. For IOS and Android.
  • Cerberus Anti Theft –  For Android. It has a free trial for a week and a $6 fee for a yearly license for one device. The app offers ways to track and control your smartphone via the website, and via SMS. You can also sound an alarm, even if your device in silent mode, lock it with a unique code, and access location history. Other features include the ability to record audio remotely and snap photos of anyone trying to use your phone. it comes with Wear OS support so alerts will be pushed to your smartwatch.

Now, let’s hope you would never have to use these tips. As the millennial saying goes “Keep your friends close, and your phone closer”.

*Featured Image credit: Stanislav Kondratiev on Unsplash

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