So You Lost Your Phone: A Step by Step Guide for What to Do Now

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on September 4, 2016, How To Guides

A lost or stolen smart phone is probably one of the biggest nightmares in this day and age. Just what do you do when you’ve lost that all important communication device that cost a fortune and that contains all your important data? Well, there are a few things that you can try to do to recover your phone or your data, and there is a definite plan of action for when a mobile goes missing. If you’ve lost your phone, then here’s what you need to do…

Step One: Call It

Alrighty, it sounds simple, but in the heat of the moment it can be easy to forget. If you can’t find your mobile, the very first thing you need to do is to call it. You might get lucky and hear it ring under a couch cushion, or someone might pick up and tell you that they’ve found your device. You’ll only know if you give it a try…

Step Two: Track It

If you happen to have tracking apps on your phone then now is the time to use them. These apps are awesome, though generally you’ll need to install them before you actually lose your phone. You should be able to see where your phone is exactly, and even to erase all data remotely if necessary.

But what if you didn’t think ahead and you don’t have a tracking app installed? If you’ve got an Android then you MIGHT still be able to track your phone. You mobile will need to be connected to your Google account and have an internet connection for this to work. Simply go on your computer (logged into the same Google account as your mobile) and go to Android Device Manager (Google it), and Google will automatically try to track your device (make sure that the correct device is chosen from the drop down menu if you’ve got more than one phone on your account). This will not always work, but it does sometimes, so it’s worth a try.

Step Three: Report It

So tracking didn’t work out for you, or maybe it did but the phone was stolen and you can’t go chasing after it! You’re now going to need to report the loss, and there are two places you’ll need to contact.

You’ll need to inform your mobile operator that you’ve lost your phone by calling their customer service number, they will then disable service on the phone. It’s important to do this because with many operators you will be responsible for any charges made on the phone up until you report it lost or stolen. You don’t need to be paying for someone else’s phone calls to Australia, right?

You will also need to contact the police. Okay, they’re not going to do much about a stolen cell phone, however it’s important that you make the report and make it in good time. Why? Firstly because if you have any form of insurance you’ll probably be required to provide a police report as part of your claim paperwork. Secondly, because if there’s any kind of problem with charges being added to your bill through your mobile operator you’ll need a police report to refute them.

The order in which you contact the police and your mobile operator doesn’t really matter, though you might find that your operator asks you to make the police report first.

Step Four: Change Your Passwords

For the sake of security at this point you’re going to need to go online and change all passwords to any accounts that can be accessed through your phone. This includes things like email accounts, Amazon or eBay accounts, online banking passwords, Facebook and other social media and whatever else you have on your phone. Inconvenient, sure, but better safe than sorry.

Step Five: Check the Paperwork

At this point you need to somewhat resign yourself to the fact that your phone is gone. Check out all your paperwork from your mobile operator. Do you have phone insurance? Check it out! And if you happened to buy your phone with a credit card you might find that you’ve got insurance through your credit card company. As a last resort, check your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance, as one of these might cover you. It is possible that you won’t have to pay out of pocket for a new mobile, so have a look at your options first. If none of these work for you, then you’re going to need to head down to the shops and buy a new mobile yourself.

Step Six: Can You Retrieve Your Data?

The good news is that with most modern smart phones retrieving some if not all of your data should be a breeze. For iPhone owners that are connected to Apple’s Cloud (which most are by default) you simply switch on your new phone, log into your Apple account and everything will be transferred back over. Android owners can suffer a little more, but most of the time you’ll get a lot of your data by logging onto your new phone with your Google account. If you were smart and backed up your phone regularly either to an online service like Dropbox or to a PC programme from your manufacturer you will also have the majority of your data.

And there we have it, six simple steps to guide you through the horrible process of losing your phone! You might want to take a couple of minutes to install tracking apps on your new phone, and to make sure that your mobile is being backed up, before taking it out of the house. A little forethought will make this process a whole lot easier should you happen to be unlucky enough to lose your phone for a second time!