It happens to the best of us; you had your Android phone, and now it’s missing. There are few feelings worse than realizing your prized and expensive device — your lifeline to the digital world — has vanished, whether you left it in the back of an Uber or dropped it while frolicking through a meadow. Even worse, if you don’t back up your Android Phone, this loss could have cascading repercussions that ruin the rest of your week.
Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom just yet. There are safeguards in place that can help you find your lost Android with a few simple steps. Just along below, and you could be reunited with your one true love before the end of the day.
Can your Android Phone be found?
First off, it’s important to understand that not every Android phone can be found. The device needs to check a few boxes before you can be sure it’s even possible to locate your device. Here are the criteria your Android phone needs to meet if you want to have any hope of tracking it down.
- Turned on
- Location services activated
- Signed in to a Google Account
- Connected to mobile data or WiFi
- Visible on Google Pay
- Find My Device turned on
How to find your Android phone
Once you’re sure that your Android phone meets all the requirements above, you can start the process of finding it. Fortunately, it’s quite simple, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting your phone back, as long as it isn’t in the middle of the ocean somewhere.
- Visit android.com/find
- Sign in to your primary Google account
- Click on the lost phone in the upper left corner
- View your phone on the map
- If necessary, click “Play sound” to ring phone for 5 minutes, even if it’s on silent/vibrate
If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this comprehensive YouTube video from Google that will walk you through the process with cute animations and a friendly voice.
What else can you do with your lost Android phone?
Even if you’ve located your lost Android phone, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can retrieve it. Maybe you just left it someplace, but it could have walked off with someone else who chose not to return it. Still, you don’t want your valuable information to fall into the wrong hands, which is why you’ll want to take action to nuke an unrecoverable device.
Android provides a couple of convenient options that can help you keep yourself safe without actually finding your device. Once you’ve located the device with the Find tool, Android allows you to lock it if you don’t have a locking mechanism in place. Additionally, Android provides the option to erase the device entirely to keep your personal data safe. Just click “Enable lock & erase” on the Find page once you reach that section, and your device will return to factory settings without a trace that you ever even owned it.
When it’s really gone
If you’ve looked high and low and your phone is still lost, it may be time to call it a day. If you need a new phone, we’re pretty good at recommendations and have created a list of the best Android phones. If your budget is tight, check out carrier deals and our favorite budget phones. It goes without saying that a phone insurance plan is a good idea and most carriers off inexpensively monthly options that can be added to your bill.