Four tips to recover a lost smartphone

Verloren smartphone terugvindenSome of the most frequently lost items nowadays are mobile phones and smartphones. Not less than £5 million worth is lost a day. Losing your smartphone costs you a considerable amount of money, but it’s also very inconvenient during the transition period and can cost you time while you configure your replacement smartphone to the same setup as your old one. Here are four tips to get your smartphone back in the event of a loss.

1. Make it easy for the finder; show them what to do with the phone

A test by Reader’s Digest, where they purposely lost 960 (!) marked phones in 32 countries over the globe, showed that on average 68% was returned!  In Slovenia even 95%, but even in the least honest countries still more than 40%. That is, if you make it easy for the finder to find you.

Return sticker on a smartphone

Click to enlarge

With a Spotty code on your device or its cover, it will only cost the finder a few seconds of their time and precious little effort to send you a notification (on another configured phone or email). And they’re entitled to a reward too.
<<Click here for more information on Spotty>>.

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2. Lock the phone to discourage the less honest finder

If the finder switches on your phone and immediately sees twenty games and a ton of cool apps, they might be tempted to keep the phone after all. That’s why you need to make sure that the device is locked and that the finder doesn’t get any further than the lock screen. A hacker may bypass that, but let’s be realistic, the average finder will just be puzzled. They may decide to return the phone to you – that is, if you’ve made it easy for them (see Tip 1).

Does it bother you having to enter a code when you switch on your phone? It shouldn’t. Most phones can be configured in such a way that you need to unlock it only after it’s been idle for half an hour or so. And even then, most smartphones have really simple unlock mechanisms based on a specific finger swipe over the screen or even a fingerprint. That’s really easy and fast.

3. Have the phone blocked based on the IMEI number, if not returned promptly

Didn’t you lock the phone, or was the finder able to bypass the lock screen? Hopefully you’ve taken the precaution to write down the phone’s unique IMEI number. With that number, you can ask your network operator to remotely block the phone. It won’t be blocked just on that operator’s network, but on most other networks also.

Unless it was found by a hacker, your phone will then be rendered useless to a finder who might otherwise have considered using it for themselves. Chances are that they will then decide to notify you after all, for a reward – at least, if you’ve bothered registering it (see Tip 1).

When registering a mobile phone on Spotty, you’ll see an IMEI field in the registration form. Don’t forget to note your IMEI in this field!

Where do you find the IMEI number? Well, it’s very simple – just enter *#06# on your dial pad, and the IMEI will appear.

4. Special tracking apps

Would you only feel safe if you had security measures matching those of the intelligence services? If so, you can install one of the special apps available from app stores for your phone. These run in the background and allow you to take control of your lost phone via the internet. That is, if your phone is switched on and there’s still some life in the battery. You can then track down its location. But don’t rely on the police to take action, so it might not help that much.

But those apps will also allow you to block the phone, increasing the probability that the finder will return it to you. Should they choose not to, most of those apps will allow you to remotely wipe all confidential data from your device.

Conclusion

Smartphone at lost property officeWhich of these tips you choose to implement will depend on how important your phone is to you. But one thing is absolutely sure: if you don’t make it easy for an honest finder to get in touch with you, it’s almost certain that you won’t get your phone back.

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At best, it will end up collecting dust in some lost and found office that you’ve never heard of and are never likely to!

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