There are few things more frustrating than losing your smartphone or having it stolen. After all, that little rectangle holds all of your contacts, your email, private photos and videos and more. Fortunately, with the right software you can quickly locate, lock or even wipe your smartphone from any Web browser. So before you forget your phone in the back of a cab or leave it at a bar, save yourself the headache and follow our quick step-by-step guide to finding your lost or stolen Android smartphone.
Unlike iOS, Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10, Google’s Android operating system doesn’t come loaded with its own locate, lock or wipe features. Fortunately, a wide variety of apps available through the Google Play store will do each of those tasks. For our purposes, we chose Lookout, Inc.’s popular Lookout Mobile Security app. To get started:
- Enable your smartphone’s GPS function to allow Lookout to find your phone.
- Download Lookout Mobile Security from the Google Play store and install it on your smartphone.
- Tap through the setup process making sure to enable the Signal Flare feature along the way. This ensures that your phone sends out its location just before its battery dies.
- Create a Lookout account by entering your email and password and tap Start Protecting.
- From the Lookout home screen, tap the Missing Device tab.
- Select Enable Better Protection at the top of the screen, then check the box on the next page that says Enable Better Protection.
- Tap Activate on the next page to give Lookout administrative access to your device.
If you want to be able to remotely lock or wipe your Android smartphone, you’ll have to sign up for Lookout Premium, which costs $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year.
To find your lost smartphone:
- Navigate to http://www.lookout.com and log in to your account using the email and password you created when you installed Lookout.
- Click Find my Device on the right side of the screen and select your lost device from the drop-down menu at the top of screen. Lookout will then automatically locate your device.
- If you lost your smartphone in your house, click the speaker icon to make it scream.
- Forgot your phone at the bar? Click the lock icon to lock your smartphone with a numeric password. Enable the Lock Cam to snap a photo using the front-facing camera when someone enters the wrong unlock code three times in a row. Enable the Lock Screen Message to display a message to help whoever finds your phone return it to you.
- If you don’t think you’ll ever get your phone back and want to keep prying eyes from looking at your private information, click the bomb icon to completely wipe your device.