If your cell phone was lost or stolen, you may have a chance to get it back. Most Android devices come from the factory with a system called Find my device and other tools, which allow remote actions of tracking, blocking, sound and deletion of data. Once you have lost your device, you will want to immediately implement the steps below, preferably in the order listed, to increase your chances of recovering it.
Additionally, after the theft or loss you will want to take measures to protect your line or phone number with the help of the cellular operator, such as canceling the SIM or blocking the IMEI.
Finally, you should know that Android devices come with anti-theft protections such as FRP to prevent the cell phone from being used again, something that may reassure you a little or give you some comfort.
Lock screen remotely
The Find my device tool from Google, integrated and activated by default in Android, offers an option to lock the cell phone screen remotely and online. If your phone did not have a lock screen configured, you can configure a password for it and it will be blocked immediately if the device has a connection.
If the device already had a lock screen configured with pattern, pin or password, you will not be able to configure a new password, but you will also be able to generate the immediate lock order, something useful in case it was unlocked at the time of theft or loss.
The goal of immediately blocking the screen, if it has not been, is to prevent them from accessing your data and manipulating the device in order to prevent you from doing something to recover it. For example, already with the screen locked, modern devices cannot be turned off without first entering the unlock key.
There are several ways to access Find My Device, but almost all start scanning as soon as they open or run. This can be inconvenient to do before the crash, because the trace generates a notification to the device that can alert the thief. Therefore, to lock the screen without tracking the device, you must do it from the control panel of the Google account , (myaccount.google.com), “Security”, “Find a lost device”. In this case, the mobile app is inconvenient and doing it from the web version of Find my device in the browser of the cell phone of a family member or friend as well.
Another advantage of the Find My Device remote lock is that you can add a message on the lock screen to whoever has your device and a phone number that can call you in case you want to return it.
If you recently lost your cell phone, it may be nearby or someone around you may have it. The same Find My Device tool offers the Play Sound option , which will ring your device for five minutes at maximum volume (even if the phone has been silent).
However, if your cell phone has no connection, you could also call your number from another device, but in this case the device will not ring if it was silent. In case someone answers, be sure to speak politely, kindly and wisely, as well as offering a reasonable attractive financial reward for your cell phone, or the other person will have no interest in returning it. In case of reaching an agreement, be sure to take all security measures when you go to pick it up, if possible with the backing of the police to avoid misfortunes.
Again, to prevent the notification of a device located when opening the Find my device tool, generate the version that is available in the panel of your Google account. Only from there can you make it sound without tracking.
Probably, only after doing the above and not having been successful will you want to get the location of your Android device. In this case it will no longer matter from which version of Find my device you access to track your mobile. The localized device notification will appear when the cell phone is located. Therefore, you should act quickly once located, I insist, taking all necessary precautions.
If you get ” device cannot be found “, ” location not available ” or similar errors, your alternative will be to check the location history for somewhere that can give you an indication of your phone’s current location.
Sign out of your Google account
If you think that you can no longer recover your cell phone, just in case you should unlink the Gmail account from the device , that is, delete the account, so that the session in all Google apps are closed, including Gmail and YouTube. You can do this by deleting your device from your account administration.
It is important to note that, according to Google, by deleting your account from the device you can STILL locate it using Find my device , ring it or delete your data.
Report to operator
One way to prevent your cell phone from being used again by another person is to report it as stolen, so that the IMEI is added to the blacklist (EJ: Ecuador). Normally you must request the operator to block the IMEI, something that they can do by simply providing your details as the owner of the line or telephone number. Surely the operator has the IMEI of your equipment in its database, but if not, you can obtain your IMEI in the Find my device tool and provide it to generate the lock.
When you generate an IMEI lock, the operator will ask you to create a password, which you must indicate in the future in case you recover your device and want to remove it from the blacklist.
The downside of reporting the IMEI is that the equipment will surely lose connectivity to the operator’s network. That means you may lose your mobile data connection, which is useful for you to track it.
Another thing you may want to do is report the SIM card and block it or redirect your calls and messages to another number. This is important if you used SMS verification on your phone to access your bank account, for example.
This last option should erase the data on the phone remotely or restore its factory settings. Basically leave it like new. However, after doing this you can no longer track your phone or ring it from Find my device. This also cannot erase the data on your SD card.
By deleting your data in this way, the OEM anti-reset or blocking protection (EJ: Xperia) will work, which will require entering the Gmail account that was registered on the device, or else the phone will be completely unusable. This security is also activated when the factory settings are forcibly restored, so if you have a phone that you found, it will be more convenient in every way than trying to return it to its owner.
References : Google
How to track your cell phone online and other methods (Complete guide)
How to block a lost cell phone by adding contact information on the screen
How to see the location history of your cell phone on Google Maps
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