Saturday, April 04, 2015

What to do Before you Lose your Mobile Device (or it's Stolen)

I recently misplaced my cell phone for almost a day. As you can see in the photo here, I had dropped it in the driveway and shoveled it away while shoveling snow after church a few Sundays ago.

It's not the first thing I've lost.

Whether you have a cell phone or a tablet, here are some things I learned from this episode and "events" when I've lost other things. I've listed my tips in the following categories:

1. What to do before you misplace, lose, break, or drop in water your mobile device (or have it stolen)
2. What to do after its gone

1.  Beforehand

Make it easy for someone to return
Put a label on it with contact number and address
Put contact info on the screen. Many phones let you put a message in the lock screen or change the background screen. You can make a background screen with your contact info.

Make it easy to find
Install the iOS Find my iPhone app or the "Android Device Manager" app

Make it difficult to Steal
Put a screen lock on the phone so that if someone steals it, then they can't get to all your private information. (you can usually find this in settings).
Use an app that allows you to wipe your phone if someone steals it (iOS Find my iPhone app or the "Android Device Manager" app)

Backup your data regularly
For ios devices you can use icloud
For Android (and some of these apps work on ios devices) you can use google sync or "Back up photos from a mobile device"
You can also use the Flickr app on ios or android and it will automatically upload all of your mobile photos!

2. When it's gone
Find it right away 
Don't wait for the battery to die (like I did). Use your "find my phone app" or call it.
Retrace your steps
Where did you last see it? Where did you go since then?

Use online tools
If you are using a mobile device that you have connected to a Google account, this tool can show you where the last places are that it was located: Google Location History (Try it now to see where you've been).  This was very helpful to me when I shoveled my phone into the snow and the battery died because it was so cold!  I could tell that it was somewhere near my house. 
To set up location history on your mobile device, you might want to read the following:

If it's been stolen, wipe it clean
If the phone is stolen, consider using one of the apps mentioned above (iOS Find my iPhone app or the "Android Device Manager" app) to wipe the phone of all your data.

 What pointers to you have?