Lost Phone: Now What?

Chances are good that your mobile phone is always within arm's reach. But what happens if you lose it? We've become so dependent on our phones that when it’s lost or stolen it feels like the end of the world. Don’t panic. While it’s a serious inconvenience and a potential expense, you have options to find your phone and protect your information. Here's what you should do if you lose your phone.

Call or text your phone. One of the easiest things you can do is call or text your missing phone. If it’s close by you’ll be able to hear the notification sound, and if you've left it somewhere, someone might be able to answer it and help.

Use your phone’s “Find Your Lost Phone” features. Android's Device Manager and Apple’s Find My iPhone allow you to track your phone’s location (if this feature's been enabled in advance). Hopefully, it’s just under the couch cushion or you’ve left it somewhere you recently visited. It’s a relief to know it’s in your house, but it’s still hiding. You can ring your phone, even if it’s on silent or vibrate, so it’s easier to find. You can also remotely lock your phone so it’s protected until you find it and, if you’re really concerned, erase your phone.

If your phone has been stolen or is in an unfamiliar location, you should NOT attempt to retrieve it. It’s best to contact your local law enforcement.

Report it to your carrier. If you’re certain your phone is lost and can't be found or it has been stolen, you should contact your carrier right away. They’ll likely have the means to remotely disable your phone so it won't have service anymore.

Take preventative measures in advance. Enable the pin or lock screen in advance so someone cannot access your information on your phone without it. You should also back up your phone – just in case you need to restore your information. And finally, check with your phone carrier to find out if they offer any lost phone features or solutions.